Yesterday I bought a bra. And I didn’t cry. Not one single tear. It’s been one year and two days since my baby died, and I finally have a comfortable, well fitting bra. This time I didn’t start to panic and I didn’t get consumed by the joyful yet heart wrenching memories of the maternity nursing bras that were my last purchase. I didn’t get caught up by the emptiness of my belly or the deep wear and tear detailed on my face in the change room mirrors. I was okay to answer “Just everyday wear” when she asked what I needed a new bra for, and to be guided through the maternity section to the everyday, not-pregnant-or-breastfeeding bras. This has been one of my bereaved mama goals for nearly 11 months, and I am so proud to have finally accomplished it.
These little, everyday parts of life, these actions or tasks that we so often previously took for granted or even expected to take pleasure in, can now serve such a different purpose for a bereaved parent. They’re suddenly so far from everyday, and instead create a ‘difficult’ when there is barely enough energy or reserve for ‘easy’. They appear without warning, unexpected and confusing, when suddenly you realise that you can no longer enter that cafe, use that tea-towel, or walk that path to work. Then it’s a cycle of loss all over again: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, for these little secondary losses. I remember initially refusing to consider that my discomfort could be associated with my loss, and then being so angry that I couldn’t do something so simple and that grief had infiltrated this aspect of my life. I attempted to bargain with myself to be brave and just do it, and then when I failed I felt so miserable that I would be missing out on new bras (of all things). Eventually I accepted that this would need to become a bereaved mama goal.
Now that I have a list going, it is so much easier to accept that new triggers belong on the fridge. My heartache feels temporary and I can re-frame them in my mind as a target to work towards. There is no rush, no deadline, and I attempt to only focus on one at a time. This revised approach to life is something that I have only come to through grief, and without it, I may never have learnt to be kind to myself in this way. To show compassion and patience, and acceptance of my strengths and weaknesses, is a skill that I hope to maintain for the rest of my life.
With that said, salt lamps? You’re next.