Coping With Grief
And Post-Wedding Depression
Article by | Jess Rios, L.P.C. Intern, Under the Supervision of P. Jeremy Drew, LPC-S of Oakwood Roots
Dear COVID Bride,
Did you have to postpone your wedding? Did your wedding not turn out half as what you envisioned it would be? Did COVID come in like a wrecking ball and leave you feeling disappointed and experiencing some post-wedding depression?
There’s been a lot of unexpected territory to navigate. You’ve probably had to field conversations with family and friends who have been less than understanding. On top of needing to answer the typical, “Can I bring my friend?” and “Is this dress OK for your wedding?” questions, you may have been asked, “You’re not thinking of still having your wedding, are you?” or “I don’t know if I can come, I don’t think it’s safe.” You may have even had to deal with the occasional passive aggressive comment that left you feeling like you were selfish or irresponsible and had no choice but to say “good-bye” to pieces of what you envisioned your big day would look like.
If you were a bride during this pandemic, you probably had to sort through one, two, or several postponements of your wedding, and change the venue, date, guest list, and more.
It may have even crossed your mind to forgo the fairy tale day altogether and just elope. And then there might have been those whispering thoughts of having a smaller ceremony now, and a reception maybe 2 or 5 years from now?
Did you ever think you’d have to be researching CDC regulations, budgeting for face masks and sanitizer, and wondering if your honeymoon destination would be open to travelers? You might be feeling like COVID came in and stole your spotlight, on a day that was supposed to be about celebrating the union of you and your best friend.
If you don’t hear it from anyone else, hear it from me: I’m sorry that things did not go as you had hoped and dreamed.
You spent lots of money and time getting things coordinated, trying to accommodate everyone, wanting people to feel safe, while feeling like your desires had to take a backseat. I’m sorry if people made you feel like you went from bride to bad guy for wanting to still have a wedding. It may be easier said than done, but please don’t compare yourself to other friends who are reminiscing on their perfect pre-COVID day. This was a crazy year with lots of unexpected surprises and unique situations. You have made the most of what you could, while surrendering dreams you never thought you’d have to give up. Even without COVID, getting married is a huge life transition within itself. You went from being single to married, so show yourself some self-compassion and grace.
Give yourself time and permission to feel, to grieve, and to think about what you need.
1. What do you need from your spouse?
2. What do you need from your community?
Communicate those needs to them and give them an opportunity to hear your heart, understand, and look for ways to be there for you. It may also be helpful to chat with couples who have gone through the same experience as you in this season, or even older couples who didn’t have to plan a wedding during COVID but experienced disappointments and setbacks on their Big Day. Camaraderie in difficult experiences can do the soul much good. As you give yourself the space to grieve, cry, and rest, also take time to celebrate your marriage. You and your spouse may find some fun things to chuckle about, and better yet, exciting things to dream about in the marriage you’d like to have. There are many things that cannot be controlled or foreseen, but the type of marriage you’d like to have is one thing you can still confidently shape. And lastly, if you find yourself with lasting sadness, frequent crying, withdrawal from community, and big changes in sleeping, eating, and recreational habits, or even thoughts of death or suicide, please take immediate action and reach out for help. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
I wish you a very happy and strong marriage; you two have already overcome some pretty big hurdles together.
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Jess Rios works at Oakwood Counseling Center in College Station, Texas. She is available to see couples, kids, adults, parents, and young adults. For more information or to schedule an appointment you can email Jess at email@example.com