My husband and I listen to a particular podcast on a regular basis that deals with our favorite hobby. Over the years, after listening for so long, you kind of feel like you know the hosts somewhat, you know? The host of this particular podcast recently lost a child. When I heard the news of his son's passing (the baby was 2 months premature and had numerous health difficulties), I went through these emotions that I couldn't understand. I don't personally know the family, yet, on some level I guess I must identify with them to shed so many tears over their loss.
Fundamentally, as a mother, I suppose I identify with him and his wife on the simple level of being parents. I am very fortunate to have two wonderfully healthy girls. I can't even understand what my world might be like if I were to lose one of them. I just don't know how you ever smile again after the loss of a child.
I know only a small, minute fraction of what this family might be feeling. This past August, I experienced something I never thought would happen to me. I had a very early miscarriage. My husband and I were not trying to become pregnant (we had already, in fact, decided that our family was complete). It was so early in the pregnancy, in fact, that we hadn't known I was pregnant when the miscarriage happened. I was wrecked. I felt broken. And I ate. And ate. And ate.
At the time, I felt that as a woman, I had failed. That maybe I had done something wrong that had ended that very small person's life when I could have done something differently. I know now, of course, that those thoughts aren't very rational, and are untrue. But I felt so alone and horribly broken. My husband was (and still is) a fantastic support. But I think it's vastly different for men, when it comes to subjects like this.
So I ate a lot. I put on a lot of extra weight. I don't know exactly how much, but it was a good few pounds at least. And guess what? It didn't change the way I felt. The food didn't make me feel better. And it didn't make my pain go away. It didn't make me happy at all. In fact, it made me feel worse.
Looking back on the experience I see now what I could have done differently to help myself through the situation. Instead of turning to food, I should have turned to those in my life that would help me. I didn't want to burden my husband with my pain because I knew that although he was supportive of me, and gentle and kind with me, he didn't quite understand what I was going through and didn't know how to help. Finally, I turned to my older sister, and that's when the healing really started. She understood every bit (and much more) about what I was going through and without having talked to her, I think that my depression probably would have taken over.
So I now know....when I experience loss, depression, sadness - whatever the seemingly insurmountable emotion may be - food isn't going to help me. There is no shame in seeking the help of others.