“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” — Erik Erikson
In early Spring of 2018, the words “There’s no heartbeat.” shattered my heart.
I had never experienced that kind of pain in my life and while I knew I’d get through this, it was journey. I’m a licensed professional counselor so I was knowledgeable of grief from the years of graduate professors teaching me how to help others through their pain. BUT. This grief was new and unchartered territory. I wasn’t so sure how to navigate it and felt so broken I knew I wasn’t going to be able to help myself through it. I felt completely alone. Two weeks later after I delivered my son, I poured my heart out to a colleague about how I was struggling. It took everything in me to be present in sessions with my own clients. I wasn’t a great wife or mom. I moped around. I impulsively shopped online. All I ate was candy (basically), sweet tart chews to be exact (those hit the spot but dang it was temporary and clearly unhealthy). It was then I knew I needed counseling of my own. There was no shame and it was the best move I made, both personally and professionally.
When I surrendered to the process of allowing myself to be vulnerable with another professional, I learned how to begin to heal my heart. It would never be the same but the repair I allowed to happen was crucial. There was beauty in that healing, too. It’s almost hard to put into words what that time meant to me. As I write now, there are tears in my eyes thinking back to what my therapist meant to me. She carried me through. She was my sounding board. She validated every inch of grief I had. She let me sit in silence if I needed. She allowed me to get my anger out. She let me say the “bad words”, as my oldest daughter says. She gave me tools to process the grief outside of therapy. She gave me permission to go easy on myself. She helped me find inner strength to be brave. It wasn’t easy and I sure wasn’t myself, but it was the exact self-care I needed. It was “me” time; the place I could go once a week and “word vomit” in a non-judgmental environment.
The road to healing is ever changing. There are peaks and valleys, haaaaaaRd valleys, but with that specific support system I had no doubt I’d get to a healthier place emotionally. I also had to find my true tribe and lean on them more. I tried not to hide my feelings if I was having a rough day, but most importantly I gave myself G-R-A-C-E. Healing is attainable but has no time-table and grief will always rear it’s ugly head after trauma surfaces, but I’m so proud of myself for taking the step to ask for help and seek counseling. Grateful is an understatement for how I feel about my therapist.