You may be tired of me writing about this specific subject. I am trying to understand why "it" exists, and what can change with it. To make it better for everyone. I am trying to bridge the two populations that exist. Because even if nobody says anything out loud, I have been in enough support groups to know that "it" exists. At least on one end. The end that does not get much recognition. Most of the time silence. The ones that have lost their babies.
On one end - complete happiness. Bliss. Pregnant belly. Strangers "ooohing" and "ahhhing" over your belly. Picking out the perfect color to paint the nursery. Having surprise gifts arrive in the mail. It's fun. It's exciting. On the other end - complete sadness. A joyful appointment turning devastating. Watching your pregnant belly disappear in an instant. Repainting the nursery walls. Having to return or put away presents for the baby.
Two completely different experiences. The hard part is, people will talk about the first one. With admiration. They see the reason for your smile - a bulging tummy with a little life inside. Or after, a little baby in a carrier. But, they do not see the reason for your frown. So with the first, you get constant love and attention. Excitement. But with the second, few people say anything. About something that you had too, but was taken away abruptly, sometimes without warning. You still need love and attention. Especially now. But, most of the time, do not get it.
I have experienced both sides of this. I am fortunate enough to have had that first scenario, two times. I did not realize how truly blessed I was to have two pregnancies with no complications with baby or me. What is the saying, "Ignorance is bliss?" That was me. I thought about the times that I neglected to say something about someone's loss, and have apologized. I didn't realize how much those experiences of losing, stay with you. Become a part of your new every day life. People just do not talk about it.
So, what is the answer? Do you "tip-toe" around someone that has lost a baby because you are scared that you are going to offend them? Do you never acknowledge someone's baby that was able to come home? I have come to the conclusion, that it is a constant dance. That we both must try to learn, even if sometimes we do not want to learn the next step. One cannot have it all her way. It has to be give and take. Isn't this what we are told with our marriages? So why wouldn't the same principle be applied here? In this case? Isn't that in fact what all our relationships require? Friendships too. Give and take. And honesty.
I think because when you have a baby that has died, onlookers do not realize how much this experience stays with you constantly. They cannot see what you had. It is out of sight, out of mind for them. But for you, your baby is not there physically. But they are in your heart (and mind) all of the time.
I was talking about this with a couple of people recently. Why nothing is said most of the time. I was guilty of it in the past. But it is hard for me to really think that way now. Not saying anything. I try to be a more sensitive person now. They said relatively the same thing. Sometimes a situation can be so complex, and really they just do not know what to say. So, they play it safe. And say nothing. So, then the silence continues. This silence that exists in our world as we know it. If you haven't lost, you may not even be aware that it even exists. I didn't know about it. But now I have to ask everyone, what can we do to change that? It doesn't have to be something huge. "It's the little things in life that make the biggest difference."
Posted on June 8, 2014
by Anne Morrison