Wallowing in Grief

Yet another great piece on grieving from Tim Lawrence at his blog The Adversity Within.

Link to full post below. A few of my favorite quotes also below.

“The pervasive cultural image of the grieving person is of one who is tucked away in the corner, doing nothing but weeping all day and “wasting” their time with suffering and pain. For the overwhelming majority of grieving people, this is bullshit.”

“If you’ve ever heard some explicit or implicit version of “oh come on, why are you still sad?” or “I can’t be around all this negative energy,” then you’ve been subjected to what I call conformist wallowing. People who view any sort of “negative” emotions or experiences as “victimy” behaviors are themselves playing into an unconscious desire for control. Paradoxically, this desire for control is often borne of unresolved trauma in their own lives.

If you find yourself in the presence of these people when your world’s been torn upside down, remember that you can make the choice to ignore what they say. You also have the right to remove them from your life. “

“If you find yourself grieving any form of tragic loss—whether the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, a devastating injury, or any other loss, please, do not, under any circumstance, fall into the “I can’t grieve because I’ll look like a victim.” If you do this, you are setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary suffering. Instead, please remember the following:

1. If you’re not happy or “getting better” all the time, don’t worry about it (no one is anyway).

2. If you fear that the people in your life will think you’re wallowing because you don’t conform to their norms of what you should “appear” to look like, make the choice to ignore these fears and grieve. It’s never worth it to base your choices on the expectations of others, and this is even more important when you’re grieving.

3. If life feels like hell one moment and then you’re caught in a wave of oh shit I might actually work through this and then the next day you can’t stop weeping and then a few days after that you help another wounded soul and you feel like you’ll still be of service to the world, keep it up and keep going.

Why? Because this is the nature of grief. It’s one of the messiest, nonlinear, paradoxical experiences we endure in this life. Some days you’ll feel like you’re moving forward in confidence—even in hope—while other days your pain will penetrate you to your core. This is normal.

4. If you are terrified of what you might see, experience and feel if you allow yourself to grieve openly and vulnerably, you might be tempted to seek out advice on “how” to grieve. While solidarity and community are essential in grief, don’t go looking for some sort of formula, as that is often just an avoidance mechanism.”

Read the entire post Grieving Isn’t Wallowing.

Let’s Talk Management of Collateral Damage

We have talked about collateral damage and how to mitigate it pre surrender. Now let us move to management of collateral damage. Consider this scenario, one that is all too real for many of us:

Mother was sent away to give birth alone. She received little or no options counseling. Her only info on adoption was provided by the agency that stood to profit from the sale of her child.  Informed consent was limited to an explanation of the final and irrevocable surrender to adoption. She was told she would “get over it”, have other children and move on with her life.  Post surrender she experiences something vastly different.  Immediately she suffers from nightmares, anxiety and depression. She finds it hard to be around children or see images of children.   Relationships are difficult for her to maintain.  She finds herself drawn to men that abuse her and is unable to keep a regular job due to her anxiety and depression.  Her relationships with family and friends at home are strained.  All refuse to discuss her child.  Her own mother gets angry at her when she brings up the subject. All she wants is her child back.

Where does she go for help and support?  What would you tell her to do?  What has worked for you in attempting to “heal” from the loss of your child to adoption?  Please be specific.    For example, instead of “get therapy” please share what type of therapy you recommend (or not).


Let’s Talk Mitigation : Extended First Family

I am a wee bit behind schedule on this weeks topics. I am going to scrap Pot Luck for Friday and use today for Mitigation and Thursday and Friday for Management.

Again, as mentioned in previous post, mitigation is the “act of mitigating, or lessening the force or intensity of something unpleasant, as wrath, pain, grief, or extreme circumstances”.

Mitigating Collateral Damage to the First Family

We had some limited chatter on how to mitigate damage to mothers prior to surrender. How about we extend this to the first family? What might we do to educate first grand parents? Spouses or partners of the expectant mother (particularly if they are part of her decision process)? Or should we?

I will offer that my mother was part of my decision process – a huge part. She arranged for my dispatch to the agency and the maternity home and when my daughter was born she was present. The agency capitalized on her ignorance and conservative beliefs. She was wildly ignorant to the realities of adoption and what it might do to her daughter or her grandchild.  She was given no explanation of the process, no information, no counseling on what would happen to me or her first born grand child. So I ask again, should she have been? This is a bit of an emotional minefield, I realize, but I am curious what others might think.  Should first family members present and involved with the surrender be provided information on the possible impact of said surrender?