Grief. It’s difficult to handle and harder to understand. In seven years of living as a grieving mother, you’d think I’d have it all figured out. I can tell you that I most certainly do not, but I have learned to listen to my feelings. I have learned lessons from my grief that I could never have imagined.
I often find myself in the company of moms or dads who, like me, have lost a child. Before my own loss, before delivering my stillborn daughter, the loss of a child was something I thought would never happen. And then it did.
I learned that I wasn’t alone
I went from being a happy-go-lucky young twenty something year old girl to a mother faced with burying her child. I was married and had support but felt so alone. Over the course of seven years, I’ve discovered that I am one of millions of mothers who have been forced to move on without a child. Finding this group of moms helped me more than I can ever begin to describe. I hate that anyone has to lose a child, but am forever grateful that there are others who sympathize, understand and have comforted me so many times.
I learned that it’s normal to feel
I don’t know that I had ever felt emotions the way that I did after losing my daughter. Her loss gave me a crash course in riding an emotional roller coaster. I was often confused. I’d feel sad, overwhelmed, hopeless, angry and eventually happy, thankful and curious. It took many, many years but I began to realize that it was ok, even normal to grieve for long periods of time. I learned that grief happens in stages and that my feelings were normal. I only wish that someone had explained this to me sooner.
I learned that my life has meaning
Years of living on without my child have been hard but they’ve helped me to learn the most important lesson, my life has meaning. I spent many months feeling hopeless. I could have continued to feel sorry for myself but I wanted to do something to help other parents affected by the loss of a child. It may have taken awhile, but I found my life calling through grief. Fast forward to present day, I’m the founder of a nonprofit in South Carolina, our organization provides support to moms and dads who suffer the loss of a pregnancy or infant. We provide support, bereavement services and most importantly, help parents to know that they aren’t alone through their loss.
Natalie provides support to families throughout the Palmetto state. In 2015, she founded the nonprofit organization Healing Grace Childbirth Services. An advocate for raising awareness of pregnancy and infant loss, Natalie enjoys helping others and educating health care staff on how to better support women and families. Natalie is certified as a Still birth and bereavement doula, she offers non-medical support to those in all stages of pregnancy, post-partum stages and to those dealing with infant or