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Unexpected grief. Mental temper tantrums. Choosing love.

mental temper tantrumsOne of my work activities is as an intensive in-home therapist. There are 19 of us in the office – 6 males, 12 other females, and me.

4 of those other females are pregnant. They are all roughly 20 – 24 weeks along at this point.

97% of the time I am absolutely happy and thrilled for them. I love hearing about how they’re doing, whether it’s a boy or girl, what names they are thinking of, watching the baby bumps growing and all that fun stuff.

The other 3%? Well, there is where I get sad and angry and a little jealous.

See, about 9 years ago, my daughter, Grace was born still at 21 weeks. And right about now, these beautiful women’s babies are passing 21 weeks healthy and growing and vibrant.

I didn’t put the connection together right away, between my random extreme moodiness in the office, these pregnancies, and Grace. I had a day last week where I was just feeling all out of sorts and, to be frank, was in a pisser of a mood.

I kept wavering between

a) Wanting everyone to leave me the hell alone (not an ideal feeling when you’re a therapist and also work within a team) and

b) Throwing a sort of mental temper tantrum (complete with metaphorical stomping of feet) wanting someone to magically notice something was up

Well, since by the end of the day neither one of these things had happened, I pulled myself out of my sulking long enough to ask myself,

“What is it that I want someone to give to me or do for me by noticing my out-of-sorts-ness?

My answer was simple.

Love.

I wanted to feel loved and cared for and nurtured.

At that point, I still didn’t recognize what was driving the out-of-sorts moodiness, sadness, and spurts of anger. I just knew I felt crappy and wanted to be loved.

I could have reached out to any number of friends and did I considered calling several of them. However, I also recognized that, sometimes, as important as it is to have people in our lives who support us and love us, it’s equally or even more important to be able to support and love ourselves.

So, I went home. I put on my comfy clothes, lit my favorite vanilla scented candles, started a fire in the woodstove, and made myself a good meal. I put in a DVD of one of my favorite funny shows and pulled out my journal.

Even though I had a dozen (or more) things I felt I should be doing for various work activities and responsibilities, I chose to take care of me. Even before I made the connection and realized what was coming up was a little unexpected grief, I made the choice to love myself.

And through loving myself, I was able to move through the sadness and anger and jealousy, and back into the 97% of happiness and excitement for my colleagues. I’m able to stay connected to that happiness for them even when moments of sadness have come up for me since that day.

It fascinates me how the process of grief shifts, changes, and evolves over time – through awareness, with various losses, and through our own growth. It shows up in a million different ways, in a million different degrees and levels.

Yet, the answer is always the same.

Love.

Love each other. Love ourselves. Love our way through it all.

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