You may be asking, why do I need to make amends, for what? What have I done? You are right, the miscarriage is not your fault, but grief and loss brings up many feelings. Some that are completely unrelated to this event. This time in your life will offer an opportunity to “clean house” for a lot of actions and emotions, whether they are recent or form the distant past. We all have baggage and issues to resolve.
Step 4 can bring to light the parts of our lives that we regret. Sometimes it’s not easy to figure out exactly what regrets we have, other times we know for sure. The best way to use Step 4 as part of your recovery can be to make a list of those people or places where we feel any discomfort.
Some will be obvious, we know when we feel badly. Others, we may need to look carefully at why we feel the discomfort. As this is about us, we need to separate out those that have harmed us. If your list becomes too long, look at whether you are taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility for the events in your life.
This is an opportunity to move forward without taking the garbage with you. It can make your load feel lighter. Whether you plan on another pregnancy or not, this can only benefit the rest of your life. Taking all the garbage with you every day will eventually slow you down, perhaps to such an extent that life gets unmanageable again.
We will need to ask for courage to make our amends. Remembering that this will not always be a place of comfort, but long term it will get easier. When making amends we need to look at the difference between amends and apology. We need only be willing at first, as the right time will make itself known to us.
Amends is defined as something done or paid in expiation of a wrong. Apology is an expression of regret for having caused a problem.
The main difference is, in what we expect in return. With an apology we are often looking for forgiveness or a response of acceptance.
With an amends, we state our part and we say how we will try to change our behaviours. We are not asking for forgiveness and may or may not get a positive response. But, for many of us we would prefer to see a change in behaviour rather than constantly hearing an apology. Amends can vary from financial to emotional and beyond. Some can be completed immediately, others will take time.
We must also bear in mind that whenever we complete this process, it should not harm others or ourselves. We can’t use this to create a sense of peace in us and then cause harm everywhere else. We are then setting ourselves up for further amends. Also we don’t need to go over every fine detail. This may produce more discomfort by bringing up the old wounds again. Remember a true amends is not about blaming us. Making amends can vary in its methods. A change of behaviours can be sufficient. If it is a family member or a friend, a walk or drive may work in helping you to set the scene. If direct contact is not possible use the phone or email. Mostly you will find that the opportunity will make itself known at times that utterly surprise you. Alternatively you set all up to happen and it doesn’t go your way, remember this could be a controlled amends.
If you still dislike this person, you may need to stay with the facts and remove the emotion. We are not making amends for our feelings, just our actions. We can remain polite and professional.
The most important and difficult amends are usually to those closest to us and finally ourselves. It can be tough to make amends, commit to changing our behaviour and then carry that through. If we neglected a situation, we can just renew our commitment. We need to be realistic and gentle on ourselves and practice this for one day or even one hour at a time.
If anyone will benefit the most from an amends, it’s YOU. Amends is a form of making room, sorting the clutter. It can feel very liberating, a release, a relief or a cleansing. A huge part of personal amends will likely be forgiveness. Forgiving our difficulties and accepting our strengths will help us move forward.
A miscarriage can be viewed as a life tragedy. We can become victims or survivors. Here is your opportunity with the help of Walk With Jude to be a survivor. Being a survivor means one thing, making choices, not that we choose to be victims. Victims often feel that they don’t get to make choices.
Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting and dismissing the event. In fact, it is a method of honouring was had happened. Forgiving ourselves means that we need to practice some unconditional love and acceptance. This automatically provides an element of self care. Not easy, I know, but we can start here. Women especially find it tough to practice this self acceptance, we have messages every day that tell us to be healthier, fitter and more successful. If we are to use our pain positively, we have to accept ourselves just the way we are.
Create some balance and compassion, we need it.
Suggested questions and thoughts