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-   -   What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss (http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=832479)

jenvbear 09-12-2009 09:33 AM

What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
I have posted this on S&S and G&L but figured it was time to post it here too. I found this on another board and was very happy to read it. I wanted to email it to everyone who knew about my losses and said things to comfort me that were like a knife in my heart to hear.

What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss:

A letter from women to their friends and family
by Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer
I assert no copyright for the material. Please use it as you see fit to help women who have endured this terrible grief. Thank you.


Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002

When women experience the loss of a child, one of the first things they discover they have in common is a list of things they wish no one had ever said to them. The lists tend to be remarkably similar. The comments are rarely malicious - just misguided attempts to soothe.

This list was compiled as a way of helping other people understand pregnancy loss. While generated by mothers for mothers, it may also apply similarly to the fathers who have endured this loss.
When trying to help a woman who has lost a baby, the best rule of thumb is a matter of manners: don't offer your personal opinion of her life, her choices, her prospects for children. No woman is looking to poll her acquaintances for their opinions on why it happened or how she should cope.

-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 loosing 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, "Be grateful for the children you have." If your mother died in a terrible wreck and you grieved, would that make you less grateful to have your father?

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

-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 her to be my angel. I wanted her 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.

- 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 say, "Well, you weren't too sure about this baby, anyway." I already feel so guilty about ever having complained about morning sickness, or a child I wasn't prepared for, or another mouth to feed that we couldn't afford. I already fear that this baby died because I didn't take the vitamins, or drank too much coffee, or had alcohol in the first few weeks when I didn't know I was pregnant. I hate myself for any minute that I had reservations about this baby. Being unsure of my pregnancy isn't the same as wanting my child to die - I never would have chosen for this to happen.

-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.

-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 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.

Please don't bring your baby or toddler into the workplace. If your niece is pregnant, or your daughter just had a baby, please don't share that with me right now. It's not that I can't be happy for anyone else, it's that every smiling, cooing baby, every glowing new mother makes me ache so deep in my heart I can barely stand it. I may look okay to you, but there's a good chance that I'm still crying every day. It may be weeks before I can go a whole hour without thinking about it. You'll know when I'm ready - I'll be the one to say, "Did your daughter have her baby?" or, "How is that precious little boy of yours? I haven't seen him around the office in a while."

Above all, please remember that this is the worst thing that ever happened to me. The word "miscarriage" is 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.

McMamma38 09-12-2009 09:42 AM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
Thank you Jen,this needed to be posted in here!:thumbsup:

BootyGold 09-12-2009 09:52 AM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
:grouphug: to all the mamas with angel babies :brokenheart:

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I see so many of my friends online and IRL go through m/c's. How unfair life seems after it happens, how scared you get with each following BFP, how the innocence of pregnancy just vanishes...

Its heartbreaking and frustrating and discouraging and devastating, no matter how far along you are. :hugs:

I know someday I will see my three angels again. For now, I believe they are safe and happy, waiting to see their mama. :goodvibes:

jenvbear 09-12-2009 10:09 AM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
Char- You're welcome. I know that a lot of people that haven't suffered through a loss themselves say things to "comfort" those that have and don't realize that what they say actually hurts us more. I thought that now was a good time to post this here so what "to say" vs "not to" was out there. We have so many mama's on here ttc and unfortunately a lot of losses too.

Amy- I hope to see my 2 angles too and also hope to keep the rest here on earth with me. No more lossses..... it truly is devistating.

mbreen616 09-12-2009 11:32 AM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
Thanks for posting this Jen, I have heard many of those "don'ts" and have had to justify my grief several times to people in my life who are "supposed friends" I even had a friend who is struggling to get pregnant tell me after my last loss that she didn't think it was a good idea for the two of us try to get pg at the same time because I might steal her thunder.

jenvbear 09-12-2009 11:39 AM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
Megan- :dontlikeit: :jawdrop: I can't believe someone would actually say that to you. I have an (ex) friend that was pissed when her sister got pg and was due a month after her for that same reason. Sigh..... some people are just really inconsiderate, self-centered and rude. That's why my freind is no longer a friend.:hugs:

McMamma38 09-12-2009 11:39 AM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mbreen616 (Post 8371687)
Thanks for posting this Jen, I have heard many of those "don'ts" and have had to justify my grief several times to people in my life who are "supposed friends" I even had a friend who is struggling to get pregnant tell me after my last loss that she didn't think it was a good idea for the two of us try to get pg at the same time because I might steal her thunder.

:ahh: Unbelievable! Hope she's not a friend anymore,that's just selfish and self centered on her part.Wow.
:hugs: :hugs:

kt~mommy 09-12-2009 12:18 PM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
thanks for posting this here! i truely can't believe what some people say whether intending to be mean or not. my own cousin told her own sister (who has had at least three 2nd trimester losses) that it was "meant to be"; then the same cousin told me she didn't think her sister was a good mother, and probably shouldn't be having more children. :jawdrop: :cry: like that (true or not) justifies her lost babies. no wonder her sister is suffering from clinical depression. ugh.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mbreen616 (Post 8371687)
I even had a friend who is struggling to get pregnant tell me after my last loss that she didn't think it was a good idea for the two of us try to get pg at the same time because I might steal her thunder.

:jawdrop: what a jerk of a thing to say!

HippieMama74 09-12-2009 01:31 PM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
Thanks Jen for posting that. I have so many emotions right now. The not knowing and yet being pretty sure my baby is gone all at the same time. Having to be here to support my dd during her pregnancy is goin to be the hardest thing I've ever had to do. It's hard enough to see other people around you who's pregnancy sticks when your doesn't. Since my dd and I were only about 4 weeks apart I will be living with a daily reminder of the baby I lost. Watching her through different stages of her pregnancy knowing I should be right there with her in my own pregnancy. I pray that she has no complications and has a beautiful healthy baby as an outcome, as for me I'm sure I won't be so lucky. I'm so sorry to vent, I just needed to get that out somewhere and no one here seems to understand my pain. It's odd that I am feeling all this pain and have felt so alone all day then I come here and find this post. Ok now I'm crawling back under my rock to cry.

kt~mommy 09-12-2009 02:10 PM

Re: What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HippieMama74 (Post 8372387)
Thanks Jen for posting that. I have so many emotions right now. The not knowing and yet being pretty sure my baby is gone all at the same time. Having to be here to support my dd during her pregnancy is goin to be the hardest thing I've ever had to do. It's hard enough to see other people around you who's pregnancy sticks when your doesn't. Since my dd and I were only about 4 weeks apart I will be living with a daily reminder of the baby I lost. Watching her through different stages of her pregnancy knowing I should be right there with her in my own pregnancy. I pray that she has no complications and has a beautiful healthy baby as an outcome, as for me I'm sure I won't be so lucky. I'm so sorry to vent, I just needed to get that out somewhere and no one here seems to understand my pain. It's odd that I am feeling all this pain and have felt so alone all day then I come here and find this post. Ok now I'm crawling back under my rock to cry.

oh mama :bighug: i thought that too, how absolutely difficult that would be - to have so many mixed emotions about finding out dd is pregnant to then celebrating being pregnant together, to this. oh, mama, :hugs:


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