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Death, Grieving and Coping With Loss Coping with loss is difficult at any age, but you are not alone during this difficult time. Reach out to other users in this forum.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
PoeticJessie Offline
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How Long is Too Long? - February 3rd 2018, 12:36 AM

Almost five years I had a miscarriage at 17 weeks. For a long time, I struggled with depression, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide after I lost her, and I actually ended up being admitted for inpatient psychiatric care.
I had gotten pregnant as a result of being raped, and while my daughter was conceived in one of the worst possible ways, I loved her more than anything.
I was terrified, confused, and really conflicted when I first found out I was pregnant, but it didn't take long for that to change. Maybe a week after I first found out about Hope (that's what I named her, Hope Elizabeth) I started to feel differently. Instead of being confused and conflicted, I started to feel a sort of happiness. I was struggling with the fact that I had been assaulted, but something about that baby made me happy. I wouldn't have chosen to become pregnant and have that permanent tie to my rapist, but I wouldn't have changed it. I loved her, even just a week after discovering her existence, and it wasn't long that she came to mean the world to me. I would have done anything for her or given anything for her to be safe, happy, and healthy. It didn't matter to me how she was conceived; she was my little girl regardless.
At seventeen weeks, I had an altercation with my rapist. I was beaten and pushed down a flight of stairs. I miscarried as a result, and "delivered" the fetus that night without the need of a D&C or other medical procedure. She looked like a tiny, underdeveloped baby.

It's now been almost five years, and I still have nightmares about that day. I still dream about what she would've been like. My due date was Feb. 22, and as it gets closer to that day, I'm thinking about her more than usual. Sometimes I'll go a week or two and not really think about her, and it sounds awful because she was my daughter, and it broke me to lose her, but as the years have gone by, fewer things trigger the thoughts of her. But it's so close to what should've been her birthday, and almost everything reminds me of her. It should've been her fourth birthday.

How long is too long to grieve? I feel like I shouldn't be still be hurting as much as I do, like it's been so long that she should just be a sad memory and not something I still cry over and long for. I miss her so much, even though it's been so long, and sometimes it feels like its been too long, like I should notice that it's almost that time but not feel so sad about it. It feels like it should be more of a scar instead of a scab that can be picked off by the time of year it is.

Should I be okay by now? Is it okay to still miss and love her even though she's been gone for so long? Is there something wrong with the fact that I still feel this way?
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Re: How Long is Too Long? - February 3rd 2018, 02:16 PM

I don't think there is ever a time limiting to grieving. Grief affects us all differently, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't still be grieving or that you should be ok by now.

It's more than ok to still miss and love your daughter. Despite the connection with the rape (which would be traumatic enough) she was yours and she meant a lot to you. Nothing, and no amount of time, can take that away from you.

Feelings are just that; feelings. They aren't 'right' or 'wrong' it's just how you feel. Try to avoid saying how you should or shouldn't feel and instead try accepting your feelings. And if you still miss your daughter a lot, then that's okay, and if one day you discover that while you may still miss her, you don't get as upset as you used to, that's okay too.

If you are concerned about how grieving over your daughter may be affecting you, there's always counselling. Otherwise, be gentle with yourself, especially when it comes to reminders

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Re: How Long is Too Long? - February 3rd 2018, 03:38 PM

Hey there,

I think that when we lose someone we grieve forever but that grief does get less intense over time. I lost my aunt 14-15 years ago and I still miss her and grieve for her at times. I don't think that I'll ever stop missing and grieving for her but my grief isn't as intense as it was back 14-15 years ago. I can go quite long periods of time without thinking about her or, if I do think about her, it's more fun/good memories.

I do some volunteer work and we help children who have experienced the death of a loved one. I know one of the things that the coordinator of the program has talked about is that there are times when the grief comes back/gets stronger. One of those times is usually during certain 'anniversaries' so things like birthdays, the day the person found out about the death etc.

If the grief you are experiencing isn't impacting your functioning too greatly than I don't know that this is something to be concerned about. I know that there are some people who grieve so much/so long after they lose someone that their functioning is impacted. One thing you could try is to see if you could talk to a counselor about what you are feeling and the extent of the grief. They would likely be able to provide you with more insight on the matter.

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Re: How Long is Too Long? - February 3rd 2018, 07:35 PM

when my dad died last april, it brought things back, so that even people i hadn't thought of were on my mind again and i thought of all the other people ive known who had died (like one girl who died 6 years ago as of last september) and me and someone else who knew her both agreed that we wished still that she was here. I have even considered what she may have gone on and done in the years that followed.

If i can wish for that then it's the most normal thing ever for you to wish you had your daughter as the amazing 5 year old she'd surely be. You're right btw it's not how you get pregnaunt that defines the child because it's only the parent who raises them that matters - like yourself
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Re: How Long is Too Long? - February 3rd 2018, 11:43 PM

There is no time limit on grief. That's something I really wish somebody had told me when I first lost someone close to me, because on some level I knew that I was allowed to feel however I felt for as long as I needed to, but I also frequently caught myself thinking things like "I should be over this by now" or "It shouldn't still hurt this much". But the thing is, grief isn't always a smooth, steady process where you continually feel better and gradually come to terms with the loss. Sometimes you feel like you're doing okay only to fall back a couple of steps because something changes and suddenly you're not as okay as you thought. This can be due to an anniversary or another obvious trigger, but sometimes it can seem completely random. Regardless of how or why it happens, your feelings are valid and it's worth paying attention to them.

It sounds like the anniversary of what would have been her birthday is particularly upsetting to you, so maybe you could spend the time leading up to it coming up with ways you could approach the day. Maybe you could do something in remembrance, like planting a tree in her memory or donating to a charity in her name, or you could just do something really nice for yourself. You could even set aside the day as a designated day to feel your grief. For example if I find myself thinking of lost loved ones more often than usual, or feeling their loss more strongly, I'll sometimes set aside a whole day where I give myself permission to feel miserable, to cry, to think sad thoughts and let myself feel the heaviness of all the emotions I may not have been focussing on lately. That often "gets it out of my system", so to speak, and by setting aside a day for it I can honour my emotions while not feeling guilty for letting them get in the way of anything else.

While it's completely fine for you to still be grieving for her, if it's affecting your everyday life then you might want to consider looking into seeking help, such as a therapist or even a specialised grief counsellor. Grief is a natural response to loss, but it's not the easiest thing to deal with and sometimes it can really help to talk to somebody about it. One of the most compassionate things you can do for yourself is reach out for help if you need it.

Also, remember that it's okay not to be reminded of her constantly. As time goes by we tend to think of our lost loved ones less frequently, but that doesn't mean we love them any less. Just because they're not at the forefront of our minds doesn't mean they don't still hold a place in our hearts. It's okay to go days, weeks, even months without thinking of your daughter, just as it's okay for her to be all you think about sometimes. She was a part of you, and it's normal to grieve for the loss of the life she could have had and the person she could have been.

I hope this helped a bit, and I hope that you find some peace during this process. Grief can be messy and painful and confusing, but it can also be incredibly healing, and even beautiful in its own way. Just listen to your mind and your body, pay attention to what you need, and above all, be kind to yourself. Focus on how you feel, not how you (or society) think you should feel.

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grief, long, loss, miscarriage, pregnancy

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