I’m back here this week with the next installment of Walking With You. This has been such a great series for reflecting on where I’m at in this journey and I have really been encouraged by Kelly’s posts each week as well as reading through the posts of so many other beautiful mommas also walking this path. How grateful I am that there is this kind of community, that we truly can walk together on this most difficult of roads. Here is this week’s topic:
Mothers often fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to one another. This is a trap many women fall into. We compare our families, mothering styles, fashion sense, careers or lack thereof, bodies, etc. Even mothers with babies in heaven compare the way we grieve our children. I know…sad…but we do it, if we’re honest enough to admit it. So, how can we find freedom from this? Sharing is a start…telling the truth…admitting the struggle. I think, then, we will see that we all love our children, regardless of how we choose to remember and honor their lives…whether publicly or quietly…with big parties or simple moments of remembrance. Be real on this week’s post, and let’s free ourselves from the trap of comparing!
This was one that shocked me the first time I fell into the comparison trap in grief. Why I was surprised, I’m not sure as comparison is such an easy thing for me to fall into with normal mothering. But it really brought me up short when I started hearing about how other moms who had lost their child around the same time were pregnant again. I wondered how they could be ready for that step and yet I knew I was not, I didn’t know if I ever would be again. Another area I was tempted to compare myself to others in was in how people went about helping others in their child’s memory. I was and am so busy just keeping up with life it was really hard for me to imagine in those early days how I could do something more to give back in Naomi’s memory (more recently I am starting to see how giving back can and will become part of my healing process, but that is another post).
In these and many other ways that I’ve been tempted to fall in to comparison and jealousy I have found in some ways it is easier to just give it up when it comes to other grieving mommas. Because the reality is that she has her own hard hard road to walk just as I do. And as much as I’ve tried to figure out my own path I know we each have to walk the road ahead of us as God shows us. Usually I find that if there is something about another person’s way of grieving that is triggering feelings of jealousy or comparison then it is an indicator to me that there is an area I need some deeper healing in, that there are unanswered questions in my own grief and walk that are being reflected there. Maybe it seems they have it all figured out. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But if there is anything I’ve learned over the past seven months its that nothing comes easy on this road and any measure of healing or peace I’ve found is only by the grace of God. Comparison, jealousy, those things only slow my healing down.
All of us baby loss mom’s need support and encouragement, not comparison and competition. What binds us is this incredibly, deeply painful experience and really, haven’t we already experienced enough pain without needing to inflict more on ourselves through comparison? I wish we could all just agree to chuck the comparison thing overboard and just keep helping each other cling to the lifeboat that is Jesus. Easier said than done, I know! But I hope that as I learn to have grace for others and for myself that I can let go of that dead weight a bit more quickly whenever it comes creeping in, in both grieving and in general run-o-the mill mothering and life!