When I lost my child, I went into auto-pilot. It was literally an out of body experience. My normally outspoken attributes were lost. There were so many things I wanted to say but didn’t or couldn’t. At the time, I couldn’t articulate these things. My family and friends thought they knew what was best for me and I was too weak to rebel. Honestly, I wish I had signs that I could just hold up whenever I felt a certain way. So many moms are “feeling feels” they’ve never felt before and don’t quite know how to process them.
Chances are that if you know someone who has experienced loss, they are feeling many of the same “feels” as me. You’re probably wondering what, if anything, you can do help. The reality is that there is no universal answer to that question, but here are 11 things I was thinking but didn’t/couldn’t say at the time:
- “Thank you for your condolences. Please stop talking.” Here’s the thing: There’s absolutely nothing you can say to make things better. No matter how well-meaning you may be, your efforts to comfort may result in your saying something to me that could damage your relationship with me for months…for years…forever. While my intelligent mind is telling me that you are only trying to be helpful, my emotions are telling me that you are clueless and insensitive. So…please…stop talking.
- “No one has EVER felt this kind of pain!” Name the tragedy. My pain is worse. Trust me. It’s worse. Even if you had a friend who you think experienced the same type of loss at the same point in time who survived the experience and is “doing great”…not the same. My pain is worse. A million times worse. Trust me. It’s worse. I’m honestly confused how the world continues to go on and people can actually smile and laugh after something like this has happened. It is the worst thing…the absolute worst thing to happen in the history of the world…ever.
- “My other children are NOT the same.” When people say or think that a mother’s pain should be eased by the fact that she has other children or can have other children (or adopt!), please refer to #1. The comment and the thought are illogical and, quite frankly, stupid. (I couldn’t think of another more honest word). Who could your mother replace you with and forget you ever existed? Hush.
- “I will never view my body the same.” After losing my little one, I close my eyes, place my hands over my belly and envision my baby in my womb again…the most intimate moment of closeness between a mother and child. No one else can ever say they had those moments with my angel. I look at my arms, fold them, and imagine I am rocking my baby. I lie on my back with my hands on my chest and imagine my baby resting there. I won’t tell you, though, because you’ll think I’m crazy.
- “Death isn’t so scary anymore.” We created a little life in my body and that little life is in Heaven. If my baby did it, why should I be afraid? There’s going to be someone there to greet me…my own deposit in Heaven. For some of us, we may even consider hastening the process. Yep. I said it. Suicide. Most of us won’t go through with it but it has certainly been a consideration or contemplation. Sitting and reading a book at a grave or even taking a nap there doesn’t seem so weird anymore.
- ” I blame myself…no I don’t…yes I do…no I don’t.” No matter how many doctors tell me that there was nothing I could have done and that I did everything perfectly, I WILL blame myself at some point. No matter how many times people tell me that “it is God’s will” I will still replay in my mind every type of food I ate, every medication I took and I will wonder if I should have gone to the doctor “that time when….”
- “God got it wrong this time.” I love the Lord. I LOVE the Lord. But this time…he got it wrong. Very wrong. This baby was loved. So loved. Wanted. So wanted. He got it wrong this time. Maybe he didn’t get it wrong…maybe this is punishment for “that time when…”.
- “Every time I hear abortion debates it infuriates me!” From the time we saw two lines or a plus sign on the stick, it was a baby! My baby was wanted. My baby wasn’t a zygote or fetus or whatever. My baby was a baby. Hush your face with the whole “its not a person” stuff.
- “No. I don’t want to talk about it.” Don’t try to force me to talk about my experience. When I’m ready, I will talk about with the person or people I choose to. I may never choose to talk about it. Don’t be offended if I don’t talk about it with you. You aren’t entitled to be “my person” for this experience. Don’t try to make me feel guilty about it either. See #1.
- “I appreciate you.” For everyone who shows love and support. It is so appreciated. So appreciated. The reality is that I sometimes I don’t understand myself or my emotions. There are times when I try to open my mouth to say things…simple things…and the words just won’t come out. I see you. I appreciate you.
- “I will be alright.” In my own time…I will be alright. Not your time…MY time.
So…what can you do for your dear friend? A card is nice. Just don’t expect it to be read right away. A stare…a deep stare into the soul…past the eyes…straight to the soul… “I’m here for you. Whatever you need. Call me. Anytime…Okay? I’m here…Anything.” You may not get a response right then, but it is sinking in. She’s in there. She hears you. And when you get the call….answer and follow through.
Other posts by me on infant loss:
I’m Joslyn Jackson. I have so many kids that I have to stop and take a headcount sometimes. This is my blog. That guy is my husband and he runs the circus. I am also a lawyer who loves to write about the absolute insanity that is my life. I started this blog to embarrass my children. That is my number one goal. If you are entertained in the meantime…great.
Today, my goal as a friend is to help other mothers who have experienced the unimaginable measure of pain and loss that is losing a child to know and understand that they are not alone. I have been there and it WILL get better.
If I have typos….remember I said I’m not perfect.
That’s it! Love, Peace and Souuuuuuuuuuullllllll!