Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Do's and Dont's

I found this on Marybeth's blog, 3 Pairs of Feet- and thought it was helpful and I wanted to share it because its so appropriate to how Im reacting to things. Stop by and visit her site. She lost her beautiful son Quinn at 23 weeks.

Some Advice From A Baby Lost Mama:

-Don't say, "It's God's Will." Even if we are members of the same congregation, unless you are a cleric and I am seeking your spiritual counseling, please don't presume to tell me what God wants for me. Besides, many terrible things are God's Will, that doesn't make them less terrible.

-Don't say, "It was for the best - there was probably something wrong with your baby." The fact that something was wrong with the baby is what is making me so sad. My poor baby never had a chance. Please don't try to comfort me by pointing that out.

-Don't say, "You can always have another one." This baby was never disposable. If had been given the choice between losing this child or stabbing my eye out with a fork, I would have said, "Where's the fork?" I would have died for this baby, just as you would die for your children.

-Don't say, "Thank God you lost the baby before you really loved it." I loved my son. Whether I lost the baby after two weeks of pregnancy or just after birth, I loved him.

-Don't say, "Isn't it time you got over this and moved on?" It's not something I enjoy, being grief-stricken. I wish it had never happened. But it did and it's a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours.

-Don't say, "Now you have an angel watching over you." I didn't want him to be my angel. I wanted him to bury me in my old age.

-Don't say, "I understand how you feel." Unless you've lost a child, you really don't understand how I feel. And even if you have lost a child, everyone experiences grief differently.

-Don't tell me horror stories of your neighbor or cousin or mother who had it worse. The last thing I need to hear right now is that it is possible to have this happen six times, or that I could carry until two days before my due-date and labor 20 hours for a dead baby. These stories frighten and horrify me and leave me up at night weeping in despair. Even if they have a happy ending, do not share these stories with me.

-Don't pretend it didn't happen and don't change the subject when I bring it up. If I say, "Before the baby died..." or "when I was pregnant..." don't get scared. If I'm talking about it, it means I want to. Let me. Pretending it didn't happen will only make me feel utterly alone. He may have been a stillborn, but he was Still Born.

- Don't say, "It's not your fault." It may not have been my fault, but it was my responsibility and I failed. The fact that I never stood a chance of succeeding only makes me feel worse. This tiny little being depended upon me to bring him safely into the world and I couldn't do it. I was supposed to care for him for a lifetime, but I couldn't even give him a childhood. I am so angry at my body you just can't imagine.

-Don't barage me with a hundred pictures of your healthy babies and children. I just lost my child and I long to see their face smiling at me in the same type of photos. Understand that it is hard for me to look your children and not see my own loss.

-Don't call more than once and don't be angry if the machine is on and I don't return your call. If we're close friends and I am not responding to your attempts to help me, please don't resent that, either. Help me by not needing anything from me for a while. If you're my boss or my co-worker:

-Do recognize that I have suffered a death in my family - not a medical condition.

-Do say, "I am so sorry." That's enough. You don't need to be eloquent. Say it and mean it and it will matter.

-Do say, "You're going to be wonderful parents some day," or "You're wonderful parents and that baby was lucky to have you." We both need to hear that.

-Do say, "I have lighted a candle for your baby," or "I have said a prayer for your baby."

-Do send flowers or a kind note - every one I receive makes me feel as though my baby was loved. Don't resent it if I don't respond.

-Do recognize that in addition to the physical after effects I may experience, I'm going to be grieving for quite some time. Please treat me as you would any person who has endured the tragic death of a loved one - I need time and space.

-Do understand if I do not attend baby showers/christening/birthday parties etc. And DON'T ask why I can't come.

Above all, please remember that this is the worst thing that ever happened to me. The word "miscarriage" and "stillbirth" are small and easy. But my baby's death is monolithic and awful. It's going to take me a while to figure out how to live with it. Bear with me.


Franchesca Cox said...

Thank you for posting this. Thinking of you and your precious Bryston. xx

Akul's mama said...

I am so sorry you lost your baby. I wish yur child was still with you held tight in your arms. With love and hugss from another lost baby mom.

Who We'll Forever Be. said...

no problem! that's what us baby lost mamas do - we stick together and rally around each other. the NILMDTS pics are gorgeous. i envy you that you were offered that gift!

caitsmom said...

Great list. It helps everytime I read something like this. Helps me stay strong in asking for what I need on this grief journey. Peace.

brian said...

Yeah, it's the little things, like just being a presence in their they know someone is always in their corner, no matter what :)

Bree said...

I'v seen these recs before. They are really good. I should post on my blog too since I have some IRLs reading. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've added your sweet baby boy to my list of butterflies.