Today’s CYG is all about Support. The support I received or didn’t receive, etc. I have been thinking about this off and on all day. I am deciding on focusing on something slightly different. I want to talk about some things I have learned being over a year out from our loss. I can kind of see it through frosted glasses, it still hurts like a bitch, but I can look.
Here are some things not to say when someone tells you of their loss:
1. DO NOT ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO! I repeat, DO NOT ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO! I had no idea how to answer this question when asked after our loss. I can assure you that no one else does either. Loss parents are not thinking about what you can do for them, they are still processing the improbable news that the life they had is gone. Instead, just do something! Bring them dinner, come over and clean their house. The best thing that happened to me after our loss, was my friend came over after work and brought me ice cream. We said maybe to two words to each other, but she was there, with ice cream. I will never forget that.
2. PLATITUDES DO NOT HELP!! I abhor platitudes, they make me irrationally angry on a good day. After my loss, I was murderous to anyone offering me platitudes. They do not bring comfort, they bring hurt. Phrases like, “Everything happens for a reason” or “This was God’s plan” do not inspire comfort in a loss parent. For me, they inspired my need to punch people in the face. If it wasn’t for hubby, I would have prolly gone to jail for assault on multiple occasions. As it was, I went off on my pastor when he told me it was probably God’s plan. It was not His plan for my baby to die, anyone who would dare suggest that does not know the God I know.
3. Saying things like, “at least you weren’t very far along,” or “you didn’t know your baby” are THE WORST THINGS TO SAY!! That mom loved that baby the SECOND she found out she was pregnant. She already started planning for the life she was nurturing, envisioning how beautiful her child would be. These phrases, while seemingly harmless in our thoughts, are the equivalent to insults to the parents. You, are in essence, telling those parents that their baby was insignificant, their CHILD was insignificant. I do not abide by this and I have had someone say both of these to me.
4. Please, do not under any circumstances say you know what they are experiencing unless you have been there. I cannot express this enough. Pregnancy loss is hard enough to vocalize, don’t trivialize it by assuming you know what a loss mom is going through b/c you lost your dog or your friend went through it. Hubby’s cousin told me last year at Christmas that she knew exactly what I was going through b/c her best friend had went through it. I do not doubt that she knew some of the pain, but no, she does not know what I went through. Hubby was livid that she made me cry. That is all that does for you when you say that. You make a loss mom cry b/c she does not know how to take those comments. Are you being serious or calling her grief insignificant?
Things to say or do:
1. I am sorry. That is it, nothing else. No other words are needed. If they named their baby, use their name. Loss parents long to talk about their children, no matter when they lost them. You remind them that they are important and what they went through was real. Most do not because of the stigma associated with pregnancy loss.
2. Help them remember their child. The best thing my family has done for me is they light a candle on October 15th. They mark it on their calendars and light one in remembrance of our baby. That means more to me than any words ever could.
This turned into a book of sorts, sorry for that. Obviously, I am quite passionate about this.