Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Uncovering Grief: Writing the Story of Your Day March 15, 2012

By Shannon Calder

Before writing, I’d sidestepped my sorrow, not knowing how to move through it. The terrible ache, I believed, would always be there. Writing changed that.”

 – Susan Zimmerman

6:45pm – 3/12/12

5 years ago at 6:45pm my mother’s body was wheeled out of her house, the same house where I sit writing this column, in her office.

Grief clouds everything. I had an important interview to go to today, an errand at the post office, a client to see, this column to do, and a psychological assessment to write. My loss was apparent to me in all these bits of business. It gave them all great meaning. Nobody really thinks about how this is the day, the week, the month, where I still feel that I am moving through tear gas. Five years later, with eyes wet and muscles weak, much of my life, the things I do, the house I live in, has great meaning. It creates the kind of richness in my existence that does not feel man made. People may think I’m over it, past it or that I don’t grieve anymore. But everyone here knows that grief stays with you. And I believe that grief bestows meaning.

I haven’t acted out on anyone today but I know my significant other has had moments in the last few weeks where he looked at me as if I was out of my body. There are times when people ask me what is wrong and I say nothing, when I mostly want to say, ‘my mother, my favorite person, died 5 years ago.’ But if I did say that, say my truth, I would say it to everyone, all the time. I don’t say it because I don’t want it to take me over every day.

I have grieved in writing this. Story predates psychology. Write the story of your day. Today was about me sharing a story of this day with you, this is basically how it’s done. You may have feelings while doing this, indulge them, I did. I didn’t craft this into the best writing ever. I wrote what I needed to write and I feel a relief to have shared this day’s story with you.

I hope you will do the same.

The act of writing brings a structure and order to the chaos of grief. It taps into the healing power of your own unconscious. By giving voice to fears, anger, and despair, by letting go of old dreams and hope; our self-healing powers come into play. The soul knows what it needs to heal. Through writing, it will lead you where you need to go.

 – Susan Zimmerman

Be Well,

Shannon

Contact me at: Shannon [at] LifeWithoutBaby [dot] com

Resource: Writing to Heal the Soul: Transforming Grief and loss Through Writing by Susan Zimmerman, writer, lecturer and author.

Shannon Calder is a writer, psychotherapist, and survivor of grief. She has an MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and is currently in a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. She works in private practice treating people suffering from a wide spectrum of symptoms. 


 

Good advice about dealing with pregnancy announcements? September 30, 2011

In the advice column of the Detroit Free Press, a woman unable to have children asked about how to deal with the endless pregnancies in her workplace. It sounds as if she’s found her own way to deal with it by putting on a happy face in public and keeping her true emotions private. I’m tending to agree that it’s about the only way to manage this situation with any grace.

I’m not so sure about the advice she’s been given though. Maybe getting involved with helping children might be a good way for this woman to have children in her life, but I don’t think it’s going to help her with the grief she is clearly still coming to terms with regarding her own loss. I might have advised this woman to seek some professional help, because she’s clearly not healing well on her own.

And while I think that the advice is coming largely from a place of compassion, I can’t help but read between the lines and wonder if she’s really told, “After 11 years, isn’t it time you got over it?”

What advice would you have given?

 

Getting Over Mother’s Day May 10, 2011

On Monday, I had lunch with a friend. “We had so much fun yesterday,” she said. “We had the whole family over at my mom’s and we all brought food and ate way too much.”

“That’s great,” I said, understanding that “whole family” would mean siblings, their families, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. “What was the occasion?”

My friend stared at me for a moment and then burst out laughing. “Um, Mother’s Day?” she said.

“Oh right! Of course!”

Luckily, this is a friend who knows where my head is and also reads this blog, so knows about my breaking up with Mother’s Day. Well, apparently, I succeeded in not only breaking up with Mother’s Day, but getting over it and forgetting about it!! How fickle I am.

I’ll admit, that on Sunday morning, I unwittingly hopped on Facebook and very quickly hopped back off again! Way too many Mother’s Day posts for me and I thought why torture myself? I checked in on the blog comments and the forums to see what was going on there, but other than that, I didn’t give much thought to Mother’s Day at all.

What about you? How did you do this year?