Coping with Grief and Loss During the Holidays

Coping with Grief and Loss During the Holidays

“Over the course of sixteen months I’ve had two miscarriages and I am currently pregnant for a third time.”

     I’m in a curious place this holiday season. It’s hard to know what to feel. Over the course of sixteen months I’ve had two miscarriages and I am currently pregnant for a third time. It’s not like there is a lot of literature out there about how to be positive about your pregnancy after pregnancy loss during the holidays.

     Lack of literature aside, I think what I am experiencing is normal. I can only speak for myself, but I feel that I try to reconcile certain thoughts and feelings in my mind and when I cannot it sends me into quiet confusion. Sometimes we have to look for the beauty in something that on the surface doesn’t look so good. That’s how I’m trying to experience this pregnancy during the holidays.

“I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: Grief and loss is different for every single human being.”

     It’s hard because no one really understands. I can’t even say that others who have had loss really understands, because each person is different, experiences loss different, and has had different experiences. In essence, no one really understands. I think I have come to peace with this. Don’t get me wrong—MANY women have had multiple miscarriages. Many women can rightfully empathize. But still, my experience is not your experience. Your experience is not mine. For me, it’s the only fair way to look at it.

     Of course, we all are trying the best we can. When someone reaches out and tries to be helpful they are putting forth effort—even when they say they understand—I get that. I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: Grief and loss is different for every single human being. It is an individual experience that is universally experienced. What a paradox.

“Rather than hiding in the false security of the isolation of “no one truly understands” I am going to try to be accepting of others efforts or, for some, non-efforts.”

     I also know this: Our God is a relational God. He made us to be in relationship with others. That means that even though someone else cannot truly understand, they are there for us to support us. God has granted us these provisions.

     Rather than hiding in the false security of the isolation of “no one truly understands” I am going to try to be accepting of others efforts or, for some, non-efforts. It’s an uncomfortable issue. Because your experience is not my experience and vice versa, it’s not an easy topic to broach. However, allowing yourself to listen, being a presence in my life means more than anything.

     That’s one reason why I love being a counselor. I can’t say that I completely understand a person’s situation, but I am willing to listen to that person and be there for him or her. I am not going to try to tell that person how to feel or what to do, but I’d like to be able to offer my support as best I can. Sometimes in this process I’m able to help people make decisions and life changes through their pain. It’s an awesome opportunity.

     This Christmas will be quiet and thoughtful for me. I’m sure it will be for many. To my readers, please be aware that this time of year can be emotionally confusing for many. Resist the urge to push too hard. Be a presence, and if welcomed, a listener, but don’t expect everyone to be operating on cloud nine. We’re all trying to live life together, sometimes we hold you up, sometimes you hold us up. That’s another lovely thing about God. He made us to complement one another so that when one hurts, the other can help.

Published by Laura Ketchie | Counselor

Laura Ketchie, LPC is a counselor who specializes in women's issues. Her favorite verse is: "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

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