Today is my first day with JW. I’ve been in therapy before, so I’m already comfortable with the process. I knew I would need to see a professional to help me through my grief in a healthy way.
The most important piece of advice I have for someone starting therapy: if you’re uncomfortable with something your therapist has said or done, tell him/her. For example, within the first few minutes of our first session, JW asked what my baby girl’s name was. It was like she punched me in the gut. I corrected her that my baby’s name IS Tinsley because I like to talk about her in the present. This was very important to me, but there is no way JW could have known that.
Here are some takeaways from the first meeting:
I was worried my grief had become “too much” for my husband Charlie because of an exchange we had when I shared some difficult feelings with him. However, she didn’t hear what I ‘heard’ in that conversation and suggested I ask just him directly to let me know if any of my grief/crying/sharing is too much for him at any certain time. Give Charlie the explicit responsibility of setting his own boundaries so I don’t have to self-monitor or regulate what I share with him.
Some people are swimming in grief, like me right now But some people are able to in a box, and take it out to grieve, and put it back in the box. Men tend to be better at this kind of compartmentalizing than women. One of our goals in my grief journey is to get me to a place where I can put the grief in a box and visit it when I want to (but it’s totally healthy and expected that I’m not there right now — nor should I be). When the time comes, it can be helpful to set aside a specific time each day to grieve, like early in the morning or before bed.
Tinsley’s nose looked just like James’ nose. Every time I look at him, I see her. JW said that would get better.
It’s okay to visit Tinsley as often as I want to and bring gifts to her grave. This is me taking care of her.
I have to fight very strong urges not to dig her out of her grave. Am I going crazy?! No, it is natural to want to physically be with my baby.
Some loss parents report feeling like they wish their child had just died because the farther away from the death they get, it feels like they’re getting farther away from their child and their memories.
It is important to have other loss moms on my grief journey with me, that are further along in processing their grief than I am. This way I can see that progress does happen… that I will get stronger.