When Moms Hurt: 3 Steps for Surviving Heartbreak

surviving heartache

Megan walked into my home for a casual dinner get-together with friends, and her red rimmed eyes gave her away. When I asked if she had been crying, the tears began to flow. Megan, a mother of four, shared that she had suffered a miscarriage the day before and was overwhelmed with complex emotions.

When she and her husband first learned of the pregnancy, they were less than thrilled. They didn’t know how they could possibly handle another child in their already stretched schedule and budget. Both took a couple of weeks to get past the shock and begin to feel positive about baby number five. Then the miscarriage occurred. Suddenly, the emotions were crashing against Megan with renewed strength and contrast; she was grieving her loss and feeling guilty about her initial lack of joy. Now she wanted that surprise baby desperately and couldn’t have it.

Compounding Megan’s problem was the fact that she had to continue being a mom through it all: putting on a brave face and caring for her four kids when all she wanted to do was get in bed and cry. When mothers suffer heartbreak—be it a miscarriage, the death of a loved one, or a scary health situation—coping often has to compete with caring for others. {Tweet This} Learn how moms can give themselves permission to grieve and heal in the wake of loss. Here are 3 steps for surviving heartbreak:

1. It’s okay for your kids to know that you are sad.

Difficult situations and sadness are a part of life. We can’t and shouldn’t attempt to whitewash the world for our children in a way that denies that fact. It’s fine for them to see you shed tears and be human. Naturally, your kids will have questions about what happened to make you feel the way you do. Your responses to those questions will probably be crafted based on their age and maturity. In Megan’s case, she and her husband didn’t feel their children could understand or needed to know about the lost baby, so they made their explanations very general, saying that she was disappointed about something, but that everything would be alright.

2. Reassure your children that even though you’re sad (or sick or tired), you’ll be better again soon.

Sometimes kids assume the worst when they have limited information. If you don’t feel that sharing all the details with your child is appropriate, do be emphatic about the fact that everything is okay and you just need to be sad for a while. Be very aware of your own mental and emotional health, and get help if you need it. If your grief continues to hamper your ability to function in the way that you normally would as a wife, mom and friend, you may be suffering from a more long-term bout of depression. The good news is that there is help available, and you can recover. Even if you don’t feel inspired to do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones.

3. Don’t go it alone when you’re hurting. Be willing to ask for and accept help as you heal.

We were created to live in community with others for a reason! None of us should be forced to walk through hard times alone. Allow others to receive the blessing of showing love to you and your family by helping out with your kids, preparing a meal or two, or just listening to you as you talk through your feelings. Don’t feel guilty about needing a helping hand. We all will need the love and support of others at some point in life, and you’ll have ample opportunity to return the favor one day. Don’t know where to turn? Call your local church for a referral to a pastor or grief counselor who can point you in the right direction.

Let’s Talk: Have you dealt with a loss or grief since becoming a mom? What helped you to cope?

Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.