Wednesday, 10 August 2011
I read an article again today and thought I’d share. I’d first read this several years ago, and it all still rings true. It’s a gentle reminder for those who wonder how to help. It was originally written in regards to miscarriage, however I find it fitting for any child loss. I think it’s a great resource.
Miscarriage – What to Say by Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer
I have thoughts on some of this, from my own personal experiences. I know the majority of the comments that hurt me weren’t made with that intention. They came from people who aren’t malicious or mean. It takes a lot to offend me, and usually I realize that it’s the thought that counts, that the person is just thinking of us… But once in a while something really stings, maybe because I’m having a crappy day to begin with or whatever. So I’ve tried to keep an open mind and remember that it’s super hard to know what to say to me sometimes. Goodness, I don’t know what to say half the time. But please, do know that just knowing my friends are listening means so much. Just seeing a simple comment of ‘I’m reading’ is nice, and I love that you all do that for me.
I’m going to share some of the points of the article that struck me, the ones that rang very true for me.
*Don’t say, “You can always have another one.” This baby was never disposable.
You know, I hated this. I didn’t know that I could have another one (let alone two!). I’d lost three babies, two in a row. Even if I could physically, I didn’t think I could handle the emotional aspects of another pregnancy. Or the reverse- which was almost worse- when people would say stuff like “Maybe this is God’s way of saying you have enough kids.” I have no words to even describe how that one makes me feel.
*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?
OMG this one. It’s a huge, huge pet peeve of mine. It just doesn’t make any sense to me! Would I be allowed to grieve more, be sadder, etc if I had no other kids? Just because I have others doesn’t make my losses hurt any less, or those babies wanted any less! My babies were very wanted and planned for.
*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.
Like I said, we wanted these babies, we loved them before we even conceived them. My heart isn’t any less broken because I didn’t get to spend more time with them.
*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.
YES. Seriously. Just saying, “Oh, hey, I read this entry and don’t know what to say, sorry you are sad” really is enough. Just being allowed to be sad is wonderful. I know that sounds weird, but it really is good for me to be able to work through my feelings and stuff and not be told to get over it or whatever.
*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.
Oh my goodness, yes! It means the world to me when someone takes the time to remember my babies. Every note, card, etc I’ve received I’ve carefully saved. It’s all I’ll have for them, you know? I won’t have years of pictures and school work. So each of my babies has a special box where I put things I’m given for them. One of the best things I ever got was a simple picture frame a friend made me with Elora’s name and a place for a photo of her. LOVE it. It’s proudly displayed with my living kids, because she’s just as important, just as loved.How have you offered your support to a family dealing with a loss? If you've lost a child, what have others done to comfort you?