Creativity and Babyloss | Counseling | Therapy

Creativity and Babyloss

Dr. Erica , LCSW, DSW — Therapist

After the loss of a much-wanted pregnancy, the last thing on your mind may be creativity, and that's understandable. The early days of grief feel so very physical, and that's because there is a large physical component to this loss: from your milk coming in, to bleeding, to aches and pains, sometimes it may feel as though your body will never bounce back. And, in fact, some women do feel physically changed when they lose a pregnancy, because of the very intimate experience of growing a life inside of them, no matter how long. So, it's completely normal to focus your time on your physical healing, as well as letting some of the physical symptoms out through crying, talking/venting, screaming, and sleeping. Your body needs to heal, and it's important to focus on this element if that is where you are drawn.

However, it may be in those early days, or in later ones, that you feel compelled to begin to navigate your grief experience in more than one way. This may be the time that you seek out a therapist to start talking about your feelings and fears, or you may begin thinking about ways to memorialize your child (for ideas about this, see my posts on Babyloss and Naming and Babyloss Grieving Rituals). Did you know that during this time, engaging with the creative parts of yourself can be beneficial?

So, what does creative healing look like during babyloss? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Use clay, play dough, or other molding putties or finger paints to engage in sensory, physical "play". Have you ever seen a child hammering on playdough? Have you tried it yourself? You might find this to be a good place to begin, both because playdough is cheap and accessible, and it creates many unique sensations in your hands and body as you work with it. There is no need to create any identifiable "art" with these materials, though you're welcome to. Try rolling circles and smushing them out, noting the soothing feeling of a cool mold between your fingers. Throw the dough at the wall or a target that you create. Squeeze it as hard as you can, then roll and squeeze it again. If using finger paints, give yourself permission to get messy! Scoop paints into the palm of your hand, create a cup, and drizzle onto paper. Drag your hands or fingers through the paints. Engage in this sensory-honoring activity. If you're not a fan of mess, shaving cream is also a useful, foamy, satisfying tool to play with on hard surfaces, and you can wipe it up quickly when you're done. Put on some angry or soothing music, and allow your body to take control of what you do.

2. Get into the kitchen. For many of us, certain special foods or recipes have a soothing quality. Now may be a time to try to recreate a favorite recipe from childhood, or to invite a friend or family member to cook with you. The smells and sounds of familiar foods as you prepare them may feel calming, or may inspire you to improvise! Perhaps try adding new, spicy ingredients, or, if you find more comfort in routine, try to follow every component of your recipe to the letter. Engage in mindfulness while you do this: Narrate each part of the process as you do it, focusing only on the present moment. Mindfulness involves observing, describing, and participating in your activities, and speaking aloud can be helpful. For example: "I'm sifting flour and I'm rubbing it between my fingers. It feels smooth and cool." Set a timer and dedicate 5 minutes to completely immersing yourself in an element of the cooking experience. If your mind wanders, that's fine. Just redirect yourself back to participating as much as you can in your cooking activity.

3. Explore creative movement. When your body feels ready for it, it can be helpful to explore gentle creative movement. This could be through yoga, zumba, or introductory ballet classes. There are many fitness apps that provide dance instruction videos such as the Let's Move! program on Daily Burn that are designed for beginners. Sweating out your grief can feel productive and nourishing for your body, and in the privacy of your own home, you can really feel free to let loose. You can also do this by signing up for a group class like TaeBo, Jazzercise, or Afro-Caribbean dance. Reconnecting with your body can also help you feel a sense of restorative healing as you begin to realize that, despite a challenging journey, your body has remained present for you, and has helped you to survive even the most challenging of losses.

4. Know that creativity doesn't have to be traditional. Being creative is all about self-expression, and that can happen through prayer, journaling, singing, rapping, collaging, and more. Sometimes, a simple walk in nature can channel your creative juices. The benefit of creativity is that it allows us to access the intensity of our emotions, and use them as fuel to generate new things: these can be words on a page, or even newer, deeper understandings about yourself. Immerse yourself in whatever elements you consider creative, and try to really let yourself go. There are no rules to creativity, only the freedom of expression. Allowing yourself to exist, even if only for a few minutes a day, in a judgement-free zone, can be beneficial for your health and healing, so give it a try.

Find a babyloss therapist near me. Contact 215 922 5683 x 100 and speak with a babyloss therapist.

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