Grieving isn't just for things that you had and have lost, it's also for things that you may have never had. Basically, grieving the fantasy of what you never had, what you wished for or envisioned, which didn't come true. All of the feelings that come with grieving, including sadness, pain, loss, it’s the same as if you did lose something you had, so there isn’t a difference.
I’ll be honest. When I found out I was pregnant and was going to be a mom, and when I learned he was going to be a boy, I had all of the fantasies, wishes and hopes for what he would be like. I envisioned everything would be okay, He would play sports like I did, he would call me mommy, he would mimic me, try to eat off my plate, say things I say, talk to me, some things I thought were pretty basic. I thought he would be a social butterfly like me, make friends, want to play with other kids, so many things I was fantasizing about, things I wished for my son and envisioned he would be like.
But, none of this happened. He didn’t do any of these things. He didn’t call me mommy for his first few years, he wasn’t able to put sentences together, say many words, he didn’t want to play with other kids, he has a hard time socially. He would have incredibly difficult and physical meltdowns, sometimes hitting me and trying to pull my hair or my eyes because he couldn’t communicate. I can understand that - if you weren’t able to communicate, I’m sure you would have a meltdown too. This was his way of communicating, and I was learning more and more about him. He also had a lot of language delays, so he didn’t always understand what I was saying. He doesn’t really care much to play with other kids. He didn’t do any pretend play until more recently and he doesn’t understand social cues. Because of his speech delays, other kids are not patient with him, so he is usually left behind and other kids don’t include him in playtime.
When we hold onto the fantasy, it can cause frustration, anger, anxiety and disappointment when we can’t get the fantasy, what we wish for.
I had often found myself frustrated, stressed, angry, disappointed, I had to realize I was holding onto my fantasy about my son. I was comparing him to my fantasy and that fantasy was setting the expectation. I had to figure out how to let it go.
When I am fantasizing, I come out in pain. Fantasizing creates pain for me. It creates pain because what I was thinking about, what I wished for is not happening, it’s not real in the moment, it’s not actually happening. It’s like I’m torturing myself about something that just isn’t true.
That fantasy creates pain because it creates a difference, it creates a separation between what is real and something else in the future that's ideal or imaginary.
So what do we do with the fantasy? We have to learn to let it go and grieve it.
Check out this episode to learn more about how to let it go, how to grieve it and let go so it doesn't continue to hurt you and make things worse.
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