This is part 2 of a two-part series on the masks of grief. For part 1 click here!
So many moms who have a high-risk pregnancy and/or have a baby in the NICU talk about feeling resentful.
They find themselves feeling angry, contemptuous or bitter toward woman who did not have to fight or fight as hard as they did to bring their baby home.
They see women with perfect baby bumps, healthy, chubby babies walking around and they feel resentment toward these women.
Why was it so easy for you and so hard for me?
Why do you deserve this and I don't?
If you feel that way too, know that you are absolutely not alone. But most importnatly, it doesn't make you a bad person for feeling that way.
When the pain of your fears, worries and grief is deep, resentment acts like a bandaid. (Tweet that!)
During the worst of times resentment helps you cope. It helps you get through the moments when you're feeling most vulnerable and raw. It literally shields you from additional pain.
Once you're ready to heal, here's how to let it go to make more room for happiness in your life.
You can let go of resentment
1. Treat yourself like you treat your best friend.
You probably treat your best friend SO much nicer than you treat yourself, so now it’s your turn to receive the royal treatment.
Your life has turned upside down because of your high-risk pregnancy diagnosis or having a baby in the NICU. From leaving your job to not being the parent you want to be for your other children, nothing is the way it used to be or the way you wanted it to be.
You’re adjusting and coming to terms with your how story is playing out and it is very normal to feel resentful when you recognize how differently it is than the story that you wanted.
Any time you start taking your frustration out on yourself or feeling guilty for all that's gone wrong, ask yourself if you'd talk to your friend that way. If not, turn those thoughts around and fast!
2. Focus on what you can control.
So often the resentment for moms in your situation come from a place of feeling out of control for so long. The helplessness can take a toll on you over the weeks and months that you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Take some time to recognize what is in your control. From small things like what time you wake up, what you eat, what socks you put on may feel insignificant but when you add them up you will see how much choice you do still have in your life. That can help give you a sense of freedom during a very restrictive time of your life.
3. Be present.
So often when we feel resentment we are stuck in the “if only” stage. We are longing for something else, wishing that life had played out differently.
In doing so we miss the special moments that are happening right now (Tweet that!)
Clear your mind and focus on the kicks you feel from your little miracle. Be in the moment when you are catching up with what happened during the day with your partner. Be right there.
4. Recognize what’s it’s really about.
Resentment is an excellent mask for grief and sadness.
It’s easier to feel resentful, a powerful, aggressive emotion than it is to feel vulnerable like you do when you grieve. (Tweet that!)
Spend time rephrasing the thoughts that run through your mind. “She’s so no idea how scary pregnancy can be” can be turned around into “I wish I didn’t know how scary pregnancy can be.”
“She has it so easy” is really “I wish this didn’t have to be so hard.” You will find the resentment slowly start to shrink as you chip away to its core.
5. Be grateful.
I’m not talking about appreciating the little things to minimize how you feel. That type of gratitude often has that awful “S” word that I don’t want in your vocabulary!
But instead, acknowledge your journey.
Given what you’re going through, what are you grateful for? What are you thankful you know or have experienced because of your high-risk pregnancy or NICU stay?
By befriending resentment in that way, you take away its power and you start to crush it by recognizing a more balanced experience you are having.
Are you ready to let go of resentment?
The answer is not an automatic yes for everyone. You're going to be ready to let go of resentment when you feel less vulnerable and less sensitive. That usually happens when you feel less overwhelmed and more in control of what's happening right here, right now.
But if you are ready right now to take your healing to a whole other level so you can let truly overcome the grief, guilt and trauma that you've been through, join me and other strong, amazing women in my Postpartum Healing Program.
You'll be amazed how fast you can release the shackles of the past so you can focus on enjoying life in the present with your little miracle.
Here's how to join:
You are not a bad person for feeling resentful. Not at all. It's a very normal part of the healing journey and one that you can work through quickly with the right tools to support you.
I know it's a long, hard journey. You can do this.