Dealing with Grief
“It was horrendous and something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It’s something that I still haven’t dealt with … But it’s not something that you get over.”
— Lily Allen
Not many of our friends understood our grief when my wife Susan had a miscarriage in the first trimester. We both mourned privately for the baby we lost even before we had it. The doctors assured us that there was nothing physically wrong with either of us, and we would be parents soon enough, if we tried. Susan kept asking him “why?” again and again, even as he explained that approximately 15-20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage in the US.
Trying to cope with my grief, I completely drowned myself in work so that I would not have time think what my baby would have looked like. There were those moments when I found myself lost in those thoughts and pain so often. Susan took it harder than me, and I could see that she was going through deep despair at our loss. In my mourning, I missed seeing that Susan had changed quite a lot. One day when I walked in to find her sobbing all alone, I decided to seek professional help for her. Though Susan insisted that she was OK, I stood my ground.
I was shocked to hear that she was going through a mild depression following the miscarriage. Our doctor explained that when a body goes from being pregnant to not being pregnant, there is a significant shift in hormones that can affect the brain chemistry. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders can affect a woman, regardless of the point at which a baby is delivered. Susan was now in a position where she had to deal with her grief while also having a vulnerable brain chemistry. I was somehow lost in dealing with my own grief, ignoring her need for support completely. A tremendous wave of guilt swept over me all at once.
I decided to make it up to her and help her come out of her depression by giving her love, care, attention and make certain changes in our home and lifestyle. Of course, she would get counseling and other medical care as well, but I would not stop at that.
The first step I took was to ensure that she got adequate sleep. I made our bedroom cozy and comfortable with blackout cellular shades to create the right ambience. The light control and insulation made it quite peaceful and calm in our bedroom. I had deep sleep music in the background to encourage Susan to sleep better and deeper sleep.
I also observed that Susan was not eating right. I filled our pantry and refrigerator with the right food and made sure that Susan had it. I was having a tough time, because Susan would respond angrily, with crying spells or indifference to me many times. Knowing what she was going through made it easy for me to be calm and steady in my support for her.
I heard from my close friend about Chromotherapy and the effect of colors on people. For ages, many different races, including the Egyptians, had used light and colors to achieve specific therapeutic benefits for people undergoing psychological or emotional traumas.
Due her low mood, I had seen Susan only in dark or blue shades. Back then I did not realize how her colors were reflecting her emotional state or how those colors were pulling her down a bit more every day. I went ahead and bought few dresses, pajamas and other accessories in bright colors for my loving wife. Though we both loved shades of blue and grey, now was the time to discard them and make place for all the warm colors ranging from Red through Orange and Yellow.
When I took Susan out in her new orange outfit, I found a great deal of transformations in her. She was lively and smiling at me often through our dinner. Encouraged by the positive response, I went ahead and decorated our home with yellow and orange flowers, posters, bed sheets and pillows.
I found that orange was indeed a joyous color, because I could feel the change in me. I had read that it frees and releases emotions and releases feelings of self-pity, lack of self-worth and unwillingness to forgive, but now I was experiencing it. All the bright colors in my home with new and fresh yellow roses, daffodils and sunflowers around, I felt stimulated and felt a surge of renewed interest in life. I can vouch now that bright colors are natural anti-depressants that can lift our spirits to a great extent.
When I thanked my friend for guiding me, he was happy and explained that Orange and other bright colors bring about changes in the biochemical structure, resulting in the dispersing of depression. It has been shown to be beneficial in chronic bronchitis, and due to its anti-spasmodic effect, helps when muscles spasm and cramp as well. Wow! Now, that was something amazing to know.
My next target was our window treatments. I looked through the online website and found Artisan Pleated Reds & Oranges Drapery Panels from Graber were the best choice for our windows. They not only went hand in hand with the purpose I had in my mind but also had the added advantage of neatness and perfection in terms of fashion, design and style. They were the flawless decorative elements for our interior that would liven up our moods. The creative design, crisp pleats and smoothness in the fabric would please Susan as well.
Once installed I found that these panels not only enhance the beauty of our home windows; they also were highly functional with some amazing features. I could cover different types of doors and windows like glass sliding doors, patio doors, corner windows, and wide windows with ease since the panels could fit any windows and doors. The fabrics are machine washable which was good. They enhanced the light control and privacy of our rooms as well. They were good insulators and would help us save on our energy bills in future.
With the final touch, I could see that we were now surrounded by warm and bright colors. With regular medication, counseling, love and the changes in our home and lifestyle, Susan was back to being her lively, happy self once again. We are looking forward to being parents in near future with great hope and enthusiasm. Though the pain lingers, life starts over for us once again.