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  • Writer's pictureWendy Rolon

Many Types of Grief

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

We experience grief throughout our lives, sometimes through death and dying (also known as bereavement), other times because we have experienced loss. I’d like to focus on the grief that comes with loss and we’ll talk about bereavement in my next post. 

Here are some examples of grief that comes from loss:

  • You lost your job

  • You lost a friend

  • You’ve been through a breakup or divorce

  • You’ve lost your good health

  • You’ve lost your home. 

  • You’ve had a baby. (Really? …Yep)

Any time we experience loss, there’s the potential to experience grief to some degree. And grief can make itself known when what we’re experiencing feels more like change than loss, even positive change. Maybe something wonderful happens- you have a new baby, you graduate, you get your dream job, your daughter gets married, you buy a home- mixed in with the positive feelings of pride, relief and joy, there is the potential for grief because there’s change afoot. Let's focus on having a baby for a sec… You’re super excited. This is what you wanted. You’ve been dreaming about becoming a parent. You’re overjoyed. All this can be true, and yet, when you go from being a person to being a parent, you kiss your old life goodbye… forever. Seriously, it’s over. That’s a huge change and there’s bound to be some grieving to do, in fact, if you don’t allow grieving to happen when it needs to, you can wind up feeling anxious and depressed. But grieving as a new parent isn't something we think of as appropriate, right? Isn't it a signal that something's terribly wrong? Of course, postpartum depression can be a serious issue and I'm not suggesting otherwise. But I do wonder whether many moms who end up suffering with postpartum depression would have been able to avoid that, had they been supported in tending to the normal feelings of grief after the birth of their child.

We humans don’t love change, even positive change that we create for ourselves can be challenging. It’s new and unfamiliar. It throws us off balance. It can feel scary or overwhelming. It can create grief for how things were before. Have you ever gone through a positive experience, like a job promotion, and whilst toasting to your accomplishments with friends and family, asked yourself why a part of you feel so out of sorts? Shouldn’t you feel happier? What right do you have to feel sad when everything is going so well? What’s wrong with you? The changes involved in the transition may be causing you grief. It’s really important to acknowledge this when you feel it, not to judge yourself but just to notice how feel. Grief, like anger and sadness is an important messenger and we can feel grief and joy at the same time. We often ignore the grief that is co-mingled with other, happier feelings, shoving it down, and choosing instead to focus only on what feels pleasant. But when we shove our grief down, we may be ignoring important information. 

What is your grief trying to tell you?

Here are some things that your grief might be trying to tell you:

  • You should slow down

  • You’re scared

  • You’re experiencing ambivalence

  • You’re under too much pressure

  • You’re out of sync with your needs

  • You’re taking on too much

Here’s what your grief is NOT saying:

  • That you’re weak

  • You’re self absorbed

  • You’re ungrateful

  • You’re broken

  • You’re too negative

  • You’re too sensitive

So once you notice these feelings of grief, what do you do? Stay tuned for my post on what I call "noticing" and how to practice stepping back from big emotions, noticing what's happening and responding to yourself (and others) with kindness and compassion.


I would love to help you makes sense of your grief so you can navigate the changes in your life gracefully and increase your self-compassion and wisdom. Contact me to set up a free 15 minute consultation.

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