When Your Grief is Minimized
by Heather Kimble
I don’t mean strangers or acquaintances minimizing your grief. I’m talking about those closest to you. Those who seemed to try to understand, who sympathized, who were sensitive, who gave their support, who were affected by the loss of your baby in a very personal way. Those are the people I am talking about.
Our grief was minimized during a very emotional and painful date. It was treated as if it wasn’t a big deal and like it was just an inconvenience. That there are worse things in the world anyway. Our grief was just tossed aside and taken off the “burner” completely. We were treated in a very unkind way. We were disrespected. We did nothing wrong. Our only child died. Our baby girl died. We are struggling to adjust to this new normal and this is how we get treated?!
I don’t have the answers or advice to change those people that are minimizing your grief. You can’t control the actions and responses of others. You can only control your own actions and responses. Here are a few things Victoria and I have learned as we experienced our grief being minimized. My prayer is that they can also help you through your own grief being minimized.
1. Recognize that you can’t control the actions and responses of others. Sometimes Many times I wish I could!
2. Focus on those around you who love, care, sympathize, and don’t minimize your grief.
3. Put some distance between yourself and those who minimized your grief. I’m not saying ignore them and never talk to them again. I’m just saying your allowed that little bit of extra distance for your own sake.
4. Forgive them. I know first hand how hard that can be. It is something I still struggle with sometimes. It’s not easy, but when you don’t forgive you carry around negative feelings, anger, bitterness, etc. That is very unhealthy for you physically and emotionally. It doesn’t make what they are doing or did ok at all, but it releases those toxic feelings you have.
5. Remind yourself that they may not understand, because they haven’t experienced the loss of their baby. All of their children are living, they don’t want children at all, or they just don’t have any children yet.
6. Remember that it is very possible that they are just trying to help. They may have a “tough love” approach. It’s not meant to be mean. It’s just meant to keep you focused and eyes wide open to the options. That doesn’t mean it’s ok for them to do this, but it happens with good intentions.