Every day there are stories on the news that are upsetting. I learnt many years ago that watching sad news stories isn’t good for me. Much of the time I don’t actually watch the news because of the impact that it has. Rarely is there a good news story on the main news. World events leave me feeling shocked and utterly helpless. So I avoid the tv.
Nowadays it seems to be harder to avoid. Every so often a harrowing news story will capture people’s hearts … and their news feed. I remember the first celebrity to lose their baby after Finley died was Kym Marsh. I didn’t know her. But boy did I know how she was feeling. And those stories seemed to be everywhere for a day or two.
Right now there is a story in the news that I know is affecting many of you. I know because my news feed and twitter feed is full of screen shots, live videos, opinion videos, photographs, status updates and debates. It is a heart breaking story for so many reasons.
I know that many families today are living through another round of what if’s.
“What if I chose for my baby’s life support to be removed, does that make me a murderer?”
“What if I didn’t fight long enough or hard enough for my baby?”
“Why didn’t the pope want to save my baby?”
“Were there other options available for my baby?”
“What if I had a termination, and my baby had one of those medicines? What does that make me?”
“Should I have given my baby x,y,z?”
This isn’t a blog post where I will express my opinion on the case. There are plenty of other people doing that. But I thought I would share some self care tips if your mind is currently filled with “what if’s”.
- Put Down Your Phone!
I know I know. It’s not that easy. But taking a self imposed phone break can give your brain a chance to rest, to switch off. Facebook and twitter will survive if you don’t look at them for a few hours. It is often difficult to recognise just how much things we read and see on social media affects us. But at time when everyone and his dog has something to say, just distancing yourself from it can help.
There are also some tools you can use on social media, such as blocking posts you don’t want to see, hiding users who are posting excessively about topics distressing to you.
- Go For A Walk
This sounds really simple, but gentle exercise can provide an opportunity to get a physical break from the computer and phone. It can also create space from your thoughts through distraction. Particularly if you combine going for a walk with mindfulness. Going for a walk isn’t always a mindful activity, often if it is a familiar route we are not mindful at all -waking up as we arrive at our destination without a clue about how we got there! But you can become more mindful. You can consciously take time to notice the colours, the light, the sounds, the smells. You can stop to watch a bird or insect go about it’s day, observing it for a minute or two watching where it is going, the route it takes, how it goes over, under or around obstacles. You can play games with yourself, walking until you find 3 blue birds, or counting the number of trees you pass.
- Free Writing
When a high profile, highly emotive case divides the nation, it can be really difficult to sort out our own feelings, to
understand our perspective and to reflect. It can trigger all kinds of difficult memories, some recent, some less so. Writing can be a fantastic tool – particularly free writing where you don’t try to structure it. You just pick up a pencil, a piece of paper and start writing. Writing either until you have nothing else to say, or writing for a clearly defined period of time say 5 minutes. You can choose to file it away, to keep a book especially for these words, you can read it if you wish at a later date to make more sense of it and check out if there are issues which have resolutions. Or you could never read it again, burn it and bury or sprinkle the ash. It is particularly helpful to write before going off to bed, so that it helps clear your head for sleep.
- A Moment Of Stillness
Sometimes it is enough to just breathe. To close your eyes and take 3 breaths. One breath in and bring your shoulders up to your ears, letting them drop when you breathe out. On the second breath in you can raise your shoulders and squeeze your bum up, releasing on the out breath. And a final 3rd breath in and out as slowly as you can, until you open your eyes and go about your day.
- Reach Out
There’s a thing in this baby loss journey… we often think this only happens to us, that we are the only ones who think and feel something. It’s not true at all. There are people who understand, who can accept the deepest thoughts you have, who don’t judge you for feeling a feeling. Pick up the phone call a friend, message a support group, go along to your local baby loss group. There is no need to hold in how you are feeling, for it to continue to affect you. A problem shared really is a problem halved.