Deciding What to Share with Others After the Retreat
By Robynne Knight
Deciding whether and how much to share about your time on retreat is a question many parents grapple with as they transition home. How do you convey the sacred experiences you shared with your fellow retreat participants to friends, family, or co-workers? Should you even try?
The answers to these questions are very individual. Some retreat participants feel comfortable discussing their experiences, while others prefer to keep much of what happened on retreat to themselves. How, when, or if you decide to share your sacred experiences is up to you, but here are some things to consider as you make that decision:
The less-than-ideal response. Friends, family, co-workers, and other non-retreat participants may not have a context to understand the experiences you had while connecting with your baby and other loss parents on retreat. This may lead to responses that seem less understanding or sensitive to your experience than you hoped for. When deciding whether or not to share, it’s important to consider how you will feel if you receive a less-than-ideal response.
Preparing your response. It can be difficult to convey the depth of experience, emotion, and connection that happens on a retreat to non-participants. Some people will be able to relate and others won’t. It’s okay to just say that you “had a wonderful time,” or “really enjoyed [your] time” at the retreat.
Spirituality. Everyone has different thoughts or beliefs about spirituality, life and death, and beyond. Sharing about how you connected with and honored your baby during retreat can elicit varying responses. These are a reflection of the person’s own belief system and experiences, and may or may not be similar to yours.
Stay in touch with retreat attendees. Sharing our experiences is a normal, healthy way of integrating and processing them. If you find that you aren’t able to share as much as you would like with others, it can be helpful to stay connected to other retreat participants. Meeting up with those who live locally to you, or staying connected through email, text, or social media can help you process and understand your experiences with those who may be able to more easily relate.