So often, we keep our grief to ourselves. We keep it hidden behind a façade, veiled in secrecy and shame. Is it a lingering childhood memory of being told not to cry? Do we not want to burden our family and friends with our sadness? Are we afraid of appearing vulnerable? Or worried that if we allow ourselves to dip into that deep well of grief, we may never come back?
Whatever the reason, we keep our grief private.
The grief that surrounds infertility or miscarriage is even more private. Our attempts at pregnancy are shrouded in secrecy to begin with, the disappointments hidden away with each cycle, or with each premature end. It’s common practice to wait until the jeans begin to bulge to make our happy announcements, and yet, so often the sorrow arrives before we move into our new size, if we move at all. And so we grieve alone.
And what’s more, because we’ve no one to share the grief with, we must grieve quickly. Because life goes on. And what was once a hushed secret, hoping to make its debut, now becomes swiftly (though not maliciously) forgotten. Not by us, mind you, but by the world in which we must continue living. Dinner must be made, calendars still get filled, families need our attention. And without a moment to stop and honor what we’ve lost, we brush our grief to the side and carry on.
But what if we stopped?
What if we paused?
If Terry Tempest Williams was right when she wrote “Grief dares us to love once more,” do we not owe it to ourselves to pause and sit with our grief? If we are to love once more, and I would add, love fiercely and deeply, should we not honor ourselves with the space to grieve?
Honoring Our Grief, Honoring Ourselves
To that end, I am putting together a day-long retreat for women who have experienced loss. This could be infertility, miscarriage, stillborn, or any other interpretation of loss. Honoring Our Grief, Honoring Ourselves will be a day spent reflecting, to remember and honor what we have lost; and sharing, to honor each other and our experiences. I am still in the planning stages, and though this sounds heavy, and I promise to have plenty of Kleenex on hand, it will also be a meditation on acceptance, self-love, and gratitude. (And if you’ve been on one of my retreats before, you know there will be ample silliness and a delicious lunch too!)
Oscar Wilde said “Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.” So let’s bravely walk on this holy ground together for a day. And perhaps, make space for miracles!
UPDATE: The retreat will be held on Saturday, April 23.
If you, or someone you know, might be interested in attending, please contact me here to register.