How can you cope with sorrow? Later on an answer, first a story.
Once upon a time… a little boy lived in the womb. It was comfortable, warm and safe. It was like heaven. As it was time to be born, he tried and tried, but didn’t succeed because something around his neck was holding him back. That something more and more tightened him and made him feel miserable. The little boy wanted to move, but the more he tried, the more he became short of breath. He was sad and afraid. Suddenly, he found himself being in a bright light and a deafening noise. He gasped, was surprised by coldness and cried.
Sorrow will find its way
Gradually the little boy got used to his new world. He liked being with his mother and father. But every time when darkness fell and he was alone, the fear – which he felt during birth – grabbed him by the throat. “Ssh, it’s okay, ssh..”, he heard whispering in his ear when he cried. But what was the reason that he was not allowed to cry? Surely, that was just what he needed, wasn’t it? After a couple of hours he always fell asleep, but as soon as he awakened during the night, the fear returned immediately. Again and again, evening after evening, night after night. It seemed endless.
A unique night
Only after more than a year something changed. Again he woke up and again he was sad and afraid. But this time his daddy took him to the living room and laid him on the couch, with his daddy right next to him. This time nobody told him to hush; he finally was allowed to cry. As loud and as long as he wanted. That was exactly what he needed and this was the time and place to do it. He could feel that daddy was totally ready now; his feelings were allowed to just be there. No soothing words or nervous cradling, but the space to feel and express those feelings.
To cry is to cure
At last his tears could flow and with each tear and sob he felt lighter inside. After about an hour he was completely peaceful. He was out of tears and out of sadness. His hands reached for his daddy; everything was okay now. He fell asleep with a smile on his face, without any trace of fear and sadness.
This little boy is Luuk (Dutch name), our son. His progress was enormous after that memorable night. Currently, he is a cheerful five-year-old boy.
Therefore, my personal answer to the question how to cope with sorrow is: really feel it and allow it to be there in a safe environment.
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Addition of the author:
The description in this blog is only a part of the unforgettable transformation process of our son. We received amazing support as well as many new insights. In the womb a baby not only receives nutrition, but also emotions. The impact of these emotions during the prenatal phase can be tremendous and should definitely not be underestimated. Also the impact of a traumatic birth (i.e. the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck nearly resulting in suffocation) and the impact of a caesarean section (which in fact is a non-natural birth) can be significant. But any baby with sorrow or a trauma can be helped. You don’t have to be desperate, everything can turn out just fine! Although our son didn’t cry that much during the daytime, in the evening it took literally 2 to 3 hours before he fell asleep. And if he woke up during the night we could start all over again. And that for a year. After receiving great assistance a positive development took giant leaps, just within a couple of days. Such a unique experience is my wish for everybody… Kind regards, Edwin