“Look, look!”, my son called out enthusiastically one morning.
We were in the backyard and he saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering around our orange tree.
He was so excited, like a toddler normally is when they see something interesting or new.
I turned to look and exclaimed, “Isn’t it beautiful?”
But he continued, repeating: “Look, look!!”.
Then I realised what he needed me to say: “It’s a butterfly!
What my son needed, was for me to name this beautiful creature.
This need for us to name things…to understand things, allows us to understand ourselves and others.
It helps us create meaning in our lives.
Are you feeling fine one minute and then overwhelmed and crying the next?
Are you able to name what you may be feeling right now?
Naming this feeling can help you to understand why you may be struggling at times through your day.
As a mum, you may also be feeling the loss of support you’ve had up until now…parental help, sending your child to day-care or school, or maybe you’ve stopped getting a cleaner or a babysitter.
He defines grief as: 'The death of something'.
It could be the death of a:
- Loved one
- Marriage (divorce)
- Relationship (break-up);
“We are all dealing with the collective loss of the world we knew”
Now that you know what that discomfort you’re feeling is, allow yourself to grieve.
Give yourself permission to grieve the world you knew.
Comparison-itis. Comparing your loss to others.
You might be thinking:
I imagine you’ve thought about others less fortunate and felt empathy.
“Seriously, it’s not that bad that you have to stay home – you’ll be fine, but we need to think about someone who’s at higher risk of getting Corona!”
Ahem…words to that effect definitely came out of my mouth recently!
“Maybe for your children, not seeing their friends is their worst loss”.
“The worst loss is always your loss”
David says it’s about perspective, and you – with all your life experiences – can understand the bigger perspective and that everything will be ok.
But for your children, with their limited experience of the world, it can seem like their world has ended. Day-care, pre-school, school, sport and their activities are all they know.
Let your child feel what they’re feeling.
Give them permission to feel disappointed and upset.
Empathise with them.
Brené Brown says that when you create empathy for yourself, you’re able to be more empathetic towards others - like all the medical doctors, nurses and essential service workers on the front line of this pandemic.
- “Letting yourself feel these hard emotions is important and mandatory to be empathic people.”
- “Hurt is hurt. Every time we honour our own struggles and the struggles of others by responding with empathy, the healing that results affects all of us.”
It’s OK to lose your cool when they ask for their 10th snack before 11 o’clock!
Now and again, imagine being in their shoes.
In a similar way that airplane travel was forever changed after 9-11, Covid-19 will forever change the future for all of us.
For now, allow yourself to feel that loss, knowing it’s not forever, and that you and your family will move through this.