Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult for everyone. Combined with the heightened emotions that pregnancy can bring it can seem incredibly overwhelming.
I lost my dad suddenly at Christmas, two weeks before I found out I was pregnant. Those two weeks were dark and confusing and finding out I was pregnant in the midst of this bought such unexpected happiness I almost instantly felt guilty for feeling such elation in such a sad time.
My pregnancy has actually really helped me deal with my grief as it has given me something positive to focus on and be excited about. There are those days though where the grief is a little more intense and lasts that little bit longer and that’s where focussing on self care kicks in. I know everyone grieves differently and there is no ‘correct’ way to grieve, it is a completely personal journey but I just wanted to share techniques I have used that have helped me and can hopefully someone else!
READING – I read a lot in the months following, it’s such a great form of escapism and allowed me to live in different worlds for a little while! Personally, I am a fan of autobiographies and crime thrillers….
GO WITH THE FLOW – Try not to fight the emotions you are feeling, realise that the stages of grief are not linear and you will bounce between them and the sad feelings do pass, they do not last forever! If you want a bed day, have a bed day…
SEEK OUT HAPPINESS – When you feel up for it hang out with friends and family and allow yourself to laugh, it will get your endorphins going and you do not need to feel guilty!
EXERCISE – Depending on what exercise you normally do, you can decide on the level of exercise. You may want to keep it lighter than usual as you will be tired. I found pregnancy yoga really useful as it combines the relaxation breathing techniques too.
HOLISTIC TREATMENTS – Post 12 weeks pregnancy, treatments such as massage, aromatherapy and reiki can be incredibly calming. You relax on a mental, physical and spiritual level which is great for you and baby!
HYPNOBIRTHING – You may find this a strange one to suggest for grief, but since learning hypnobirthing techniques to practise for my labour I have found them useful in other aspects to life as it’s all about positivity, relaxation and allowing yourself to focus and to let go of busy, negative thoughts.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure you take the time to look after yourself and allow yourself to find joy, be that in your family, children, friends, pets or smelling your favourite flower!