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Silent No More: Finding Your Voice After Loss

Silent No More: Finding Your Voice After Loss

“How many kids do you have?” A question intended to find commonality and community. Yet for 500,000 women that question causes a tsunami of emotions. Feelings of anger & depression, loneliness & envy, invisibility & shock… all at the same time. 

Women who have experienced the tragedy of pregnancy and infant loss are on edge every single day. Whether their loss was 10 years ago or 10 days ago. There is a constant overthinking cycle going on in our heads. How do I answer when they ask me if I am a mom or how many kids I have? How do I tell a new employer I need time off every year around their birthday? What random memory is going to suck the joy out of me today? 

As a mom whose first ride in the car with her second son was leaving the funeral home to pick up his urn, I can tell you this invisible cycle changes us. It strips us of who we were, and the dreams we had, and literally silences us because we don’t have answers to all of society’s questions. 

If you are a woman experiencing loss, as a mother, or a different title in your life, find your voice and yourself again. 

4 Steps How To Find Your Voice After Loss

Step 1

Give yourself space. You are allowed to say you need time and space to heal. You are allowed to need that over and over at different times. I remember my first baby shower after that dreaded car ride home from the funeral home. It was for a dear friend. I was ready, until I got there and realized I wasn’t. I was fortunate it was in my neighborhood, so I was able to escape to home quickly. This is the very first time I remember unapologetically standing up for myself. I told the host, who was familiar with my situation, that it was far too emotional for me. I needed to leave, and I didn’t care what anyone thought about it. Know where your safe spaces are, and be prepared to go to them whenever your soul needs it. 

Step 2.

Find out who you are. Without your former experiences, knowledge of societal norms, or limiting beliefs. With the freedom to be intentional in crafting how you show up. Who are you? What do you like? What do you dream about? What are your goals?  Identify baby steps you can take, right now, to start living more like that woman. This is the time you get to become her and not feel guilty about it. Anyone who thinks you are crazy for your choices will blame it on the grief anyway, so might as well take advantage of the baked-in excuse. Societal expectations around loss have created enormous challenges that women in grief face. This is your permission slip to break free of cultural and societal norms.

Step 3.

Say YES more. Enjoy the life you have, as much as you can, because this is your shot! The completely beautiful part of making it to the other side of a tragic experience, you view life so differently in a time where nothing you do makes sense. Grief makes us feel and do interesting things as a way to experiment and discover new ways of coping. I remember coming back to society after my loss with this intense desire to say yes. Almost like there was no failure greater than my loss, so I might as well soak up as many experiences as possible. It was a safety net to do things my heart only ever dreamed of. In the most surprising of rewards, every single experience created a tighter-knit safety net. You are already finding yourself after your loss, now is also the time to redefine what your new normal looks like. 

Step 4.

Prepare the answers you want to share. Remove the number of decisions that you need to make spontaneously. As much as there were days I wanted to put a sticky note on my head that read, “Don’t ask me about my kids. My son just died.” I knew the reality was, everyone else’s life was going to go on even though mine felt like it ended. And questions about kids were going to come up in day-to-day life. If we know that to be true, let’s be as prepared as possible so you do not feel caught off guard. Save yourself and your emotions from feeling overwhelmed. Very early on I realized that, for me, talking about my son was a healthy outlet. Knowing that I was going to talk about Gabriel often, I decided there were two ways I was going to answer “How many kids do you have?” That’s it… the only decision I had to make now when that question comes up is which answer am I giving. If I feel this is someone or a situation where that space can be held for my loss, “I have four. Three of them are with me here earthside.” If I feel someone doesn’t hold the space, I say “I have 3.” This doesn’t change how I feel in my heart. It only changes the pressure I feel to explain. No one and I wholeheartedly mean NO ONE is allowed to decide what your response is. You do, and anyone who thinks otherwise has their own issues to deal with. 

This is your time to break free from the status quo. No idea is off the table to discover you, the new you who walked through a tragic hell, and you aren’t married to any decision made in the past. You are entering a new life, built off your experiences and designed by your desires. 

Special Note: If you are a mother who has experienced pregnancy and infant loss, I encourage you to find a support group. There is something so comforting about being with other families who have walked in your shoes. Find a community on Postpartum Support International. (Website)

Note for non-headshot Pictures: Our first community event with HEART Strings Northside. Six months into my grief journey, it was the first day I didn’t feel alone. (Website)


About the Author

Author - Gabrielle Hayes

Name: Gabrielle Hayes

Professional Title: Founder, Product Process Coach & Instructor

Bio: Gabrielle is a problem-solving expert with a knack for developing seamless workflows and building products that deeply resonate with customers. She excels in teaching teams to be inquisitive, firmly believing in identifying and solving user-centric problems. As a dynamic and engaging leader, Gabrielle’s infectious energy, innovation, and dedication to excellence inspire audiences to tackle challenges with newfound motivation. She is the go-to choice to drive transformation, personally and professionally.

Website: productxagile.com

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Media platform spotlighting and celebrating entrepreneurial women and their achievements. Creating a platform where every woman can be seen and heard. We are disrupting the media industry by democratising media channels for women. If you have a business or an idea and you would like to rise and thrive, you are in the right place.

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