Saturday, October 11, 2008

Helpful Words

This may end up being a two part entry because it's addressed to two different groups of people-those who have miscarried and those who haven't.

I'll start with those who haven't. There really is no way to write this entry and NOT sound like a raging, bitter bitch, but I can assure you, that is not me. I am guilty of saying a lot of the things below in the past and not realizing how hurtful it can be to others. We know you mean well when you say these things, but it sometimes makes it worse. Here is what you DON'T say/ask/mention:

"Well, you are young."
"Well...I guess it wasn't meant to be."
"You can have another one." (My personal favorite)
"God has a plan for you."
"If there was something wrong, it's probably better that you miscarried."
"When are you going to try again?"
"Next time, just relax."

I know each of those statements are true, but when you are grieving, they aren't helpful. They hurt. They cut you to the core. I am aware that we are young, but that doesn't mean we weren't ready for this. It may not have been meant to be, but when that pink line shows up on that test or when you see that flickering little heartbeat, it sure feels like it is. I know we can have another, but we really wanted that one. Also, I know God has a plan for me (click here) but in your darkest hour, it is really, really hard to see that plan. And when you say it's probably better that I miscarried than have a child with special needs, really. How dare you. Especially when you know I work in that field. I would never choose to have a child with special needs (no one does) I would have loved that child just as much as a typical child. Don't ask us when we are going to try again. Let us heal from this loss and mourn this child. Then we will talk about it. Here's the kicker. Just relax. I want to punch everyone who says this. It is so insensitive and heartless. I am not even going to bother explaining it because it makes me so mad. I will post an entry on Infertile vs. Paraplegic and you may understand. If you don't, then that is your own ignorance.

So what do you say? Nothing makes it right or takes away the pain, so why even bother.
"I'm sorry."
"I'll be praying for you."
"You are in my thoughts."

That's it. That is all that ever needs to be said. I coveted prayers during that time I like I have never coveted anything before in my entire life. I needed them. I had to have them. They got me through and got me to a much better place. If the person isn't religious, then just say you are thinking of them. Thoughts can be just as helpful as prayers. Just be there. Send a card. My family from Ohio sent us a card that arrived about a week after our D&C. It was so thoughtful and helpful and just nice of them to think of us and send us a card. It's like having a physical representation of all their thoughts and prayers and love right there in our hands. It was nice not to have to say anything back, which is why I didn't want phone calls after our loss. I couldn't talk about it without breaking down so a card or email is a great way to not put a person in that position. Some people like phone calls. I am just not one of those people. I tucked their card into Buddha's memory box and it is one of the most meaningful things in there (other than our ultrasound pictures). Remember the mother on Mother's Day and the father on Father's Day. Just because they aren't holding their baby, it doesn't mean they aren't parents.

So, having said that, I hope I didn't offend anyone but at the same time, I don't really care if I did. People need to know these things and be aware of them. Miscarriages are so common and people need to know what to say and what not to say, what to do and what to avoid at all costs.
I don't care if you copy and paste this to an email or print it out, but use it as a frame of reference if you are ever in this situation, God forbid.

1 comment:

momqat said...

No one can understand this pain unless they've been through it. As I've thought about your situation versus Ma's (lost one of a set of twins at birth) and Russ' (lost a baby at 24 weeks), I thought about how different things are.
Ma didn't even know that her baby had died until a hospital administrator asked her about the disposition of the body. She became hysterical (duh!!). People just didn't talk about miscarriages or stillbirths back then. Women were expected to suck it up and have another one. There was a funeral for this baby. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
Russ and Julie got a chance to hold their baby. They got to talk to him. They got a "certificate of delivery" that included the date, time, length, weight, and footprints. There were a couple of pictures made.
You never got a chance to meet your little one. To others, especially those who are a bit crass or callous, it's almost like he never existed. Those are the ones who will never understand how you feel until they experience it themselves. But little Buddha was real and you can talk to him. It's OK to look at another child and miss your own. It's OK to grieve with someone who has suffered the loss of a child and feel the pain of your loss all over again. It mill make you a more tolerant, compassionate person (despite what others have said here!).
Ma lost her baby 53 years ago. She and Pop raised 5 children. Every year on Mother's Day, all mothers at her church are asked to stand. Mothers with one child sit first. Then mothers with 2 children, etc. Ma never sits down when other mothers of 5 children do. She always stands until mothers of 6 children are asked to sit. She raised 5 of us, but she will never forget about her little one in Heaven.
Luv ya!