This may not be the most glamorous topic to talk about but it’s an important one nonetheless and one I’ve personally walked through and experienced recently. I haven’t shared a lot with you about my personal life but I am going to share today because I feel it is important for you all to see and be able to relate to someone who has experienced grief and some of the ways I’ve learned how to best care for my health and wellness during such a time.
Five weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. I was seven weeks along and had seen a heartbeat just 24 hours prior. My husband and I had a difficult time conceiving our now 2-year old son, so when we got pregnant after just 4-months of trying, it felt like a huge victory and blessing. We were thrilled! Obviously, God had different plans.
The last several weeks have been difficult to say the least. Grief and loss are something I haven’t had to experience up close and personal. I’ve felt it alongside others and extended family, but this was the closest it’s been to me as far as me losing someone I love. I am sure most women who have experienced a miscarriage will tell you and agree with me that a lot of the grieving is over what could have been, the hope, the anticipation…It’s its own unique path for sure.
But what I am here to share today is a few ways we can best care for ourselves when we face grief, loss, and suffering. Life is hard and painful and it’s not a matter of IF we will face hardship, but rather WHEN. So, whether you are in it now or not, pocket these tips for when that day comes (and obviously I don’t want ANY of you to face hardship but unfortunately it is inevitable).
Here are 3 things I’ve personally learned about caring for my body and health during this season of grief and loss.
Rest– Everyone always says to ‘get some rest’ when you are under a lot of stress or suffering. And rest is good, but what kind of rest are we talking about? Because the sleep-kind of rest won’t cut it, at least that is what I found. Rest, real soul rejuvenating, healing rest doesn’t come from catching more zzz’s but through time, solitude, being still, gathered around friends/family, doing activities that bring you joy. Sometimes it’s physical rest and sometimes it’s mental rest. Our minds and bodies need time and space to heal and sometimes simply BE. Resting and stepping away from the demands of life for a few days or weeks is totally acceptable and necessary. It is good for our physical bodies and our mental health.
Do What You Can– There were many days following the miscarriage where I couldn’t do much of anything. My productive self basically came to a halt. Life shut down, as it should during a difficult time. I’m so grateful for my husband and community that helped with child care, food, etc. As the days went by and the more I began to feel like myself both physically and emotionally, the more I was able to do. Don’t rush it. Do what you can each day and if one day that is absolutely nothing, just know that is healthy for your body for right then and right now. I had to remind myself that this wouldn’t be forever and so letting go of my taskers was ok and acceptable and was actually the BEST thing I could be doing for my health and wellness for that time. Doing an intense workout and depriving myself of the food I wanted was in that time and space, not the healthiest option for me. It would have caused me more harm than good. Sometimes it takes great discernment and wisdom to know what our bodies/minds need. Being healthy isn’t always choosing the salad or working your tail off at the gym. Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do for yourself is to step back, rest, and eat the queso. Just sayin’…
Move and Eat with Leisure– I have to be honest, most days following the miscarriage and all that ensued, I didn’t eat my normal, healthy way. And that is ok! Our bodies physically NEED different things when we are under such emotional and physical stress. In that time, I physically needed more carbs and that is what felt good and nourishing for my body. If you can’t stick to your healthy, clean eating plan during a time such as this, it’s ok to give yourself permission to meet yourself where you are at and know it won’t be forever. Other days I craved protein and veggies and I knew that is what my body needed for nourishment and energy. Just listen to your body. And the same with activity. Most days a walk outside felt really good. It may have taken A LOT of conjuring up to get out there but once I was up and walking with my husband and son, it was restorative for my soul and helped my health and body on my road to recovery both physically and mentally/emotionally.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. But how we care for ourselves and what we speak over ourselves during that time is important. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It is a season that won’t last forever. Taking the time to slow down, rest, move your body a little, and meet each day as it comes- these are all healthy ways to care for your body and your soul. I know we may not view these things as “health/wellness” and caring for our bodies but being healthy and well is far more than eating a kale salad and doing a 45-min spin class. It also involves our mental and emotional state and how we handle and deal with stress, grief, overwhelm, etc. Be kind and gracious to your body and mind.