As painful as it is, grief is an emotion we must allow for in the cycle of life. We must truly surrender to this part of living before something new can fully come into being. Autumn arrives every year. The trees give up their leaves in order to fertilize the earth for the new growth that will come in the spring. In the Celtic tradition we give up our “maidenhood” in order to experience “motherhood.” This transition occurs later in women’s lives these days, so there are more aspects of ourselves to let go of. A lot more to grieve, like the career that was once fulfilling now seems unimportant, even trivial. Especially in light of the pandemic.
As an acupuncturist, I watch how emotions move (or don’t move) through us. Grief seems to be the most difficult for modern humans in our culture to experience. It’s such a full emotion. Grief has its way with us until it’s done, and it’s never completely done.
If we fight it, if we hold ourselves back from it, it lingers, festers, and keeps us from fully living. When was the last time you let yourself have a good cry? Not just some tears rolling down your cheeks at a sad movie or tv show (though that’s good too!) I’m talking about a real good ugly cry with snot and soaked tissues and wailing and hiccoughs! The kind that feels so awful that just when you think you can’t tolerate it any longer, something breaks open inside.
All of a sudden there’s some space in your chest, you might notice you are breathing slower, deeper. You might realize you need a nap, or a snack. It’s as if all those tears just washed you clean of what moments before seemed impossible to deal with. There’s more space for possibility, for something new to come. Just like birth. In those last few moments, when you think you can’t possibly do this one more second, you discover that place deep down inside. You draw from reserves you didn’t know you had. You push that one more time… and new life, your baby, comes into this world. When we don’t allow the grief, we miss the awe.
Cycles of birth, death and rebirth are everywhere in nature. Day into night into day. Summer into autumn, winter into spring. When we allow ourselves the full expression of grief, we are like the leaves falling to the ground, fertilizing the earth as food for the new growth that will come in the spring.
Allow yourselves the full expression of letting go, surrendering to what we cannot control. Trust your ability to get through the hard painful parts of life. Trust your ability to build resilience. The only way through is through.
And always remember we are not meant to go through this life alone. We are here to see each other through the hard times and the good.
Allow yourselves to receive support.
Ask for help.
Be transformed by motherhood.
Be transformed by the pandemic.
Let go of what you’ve known, allow for the grief, and watch for the buds of new ideas, new ways of being, begin to take hold and blossom. Be awed by it all.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.