Friday, January 6, 2012

Just a bump in the road?

I received an email today that can be so true . . .

For women who have experienced pregnancy loss, we know we've lost a baby. For other people, it's just a bump in the road.

I hate to even admit it, but that's how I felt a bit about miscarriage before I lost Baby O. Don't get me wrong, when my close friends miscarried -- I grieved for them, I prayed for them, I cried with them. Yes, I felt like they lost a baby. But I also felt like it was a bump. A bump they would soon get over.

Looking back, there were some things I JUST DIDN'T GET:

- That getting pregnant again does not heal the hurt from losing a baby. One baby does not replace another. Even if you get pregnant right away, there is still grief because there was still loss.

-That they did not need answers from me at all. Not one. I looked back on an email I sent to a friend after I heard about her loss, and while I said some appropriate things, I also said, "I know God's in control." When I re-read that email last week, I winced. She knew God was in control. She didn't need me to have an answer. She just needed to hear, "I'm so sorry. I'm crying with you. I will miss knowing your baby. I'm praying for you. If you need to talk, I'm here."

-That the hurt lasts so long. 3 weeks ago, we found out something was wrong with the pregnancy. And we only knew we were pregnant for 2.5 weeks up to that point. But I know that I am going to be reeling from this for quite some time. As in probably months of grief. And after that? Who knows? I know that I'm changed. And I'll never quite be the same again. I just wish that I had realized my friends were still dealing with grief for months, and for some, years . . . not just days.

-That no matter how early the loss, it still hurts. My love did not grow by weeks. The moment I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test, I was in love with my baby. I was on cloud nine, thinking and planning and dreaming.  I didn't lose 7 weeks of pregnancy. I lost a lifetime with a baby I loved.

-That bringing up the loss doesn't remind them of the loss. They are thinking about it already. But it helps to acknowledge their pain. For most of my friends, I assumed that silence was best. As in, I sent an initial card or email . . . but then I did not continue to ask them about how they were doing. I wish I would have asked. I wish I would have sent remembrances. I wish I would have sent a card or flower on their due date.

-That comparison does not help. In trying to comfort, sometimes we try to relate as best we can. I've done it to others. And today I had that happen to me from the billing person at my Dr's office. She wanted to apologize that I would be receiving bills for months down the road for my surgery -- each bill as a reminder that I lost a baby. I agreed that yes, this would probably be hard. She then proceeded to say, "I know it's not the same, but last week I had to put my dog down . . . "  Oh no, I inwardly cringed. PLEASE do not compare my baby to losing a dog. In her own way she was trying to be helpful, trying to relate to my pain . . . but trust me when I say that it was NOT helpful.

I don't blame myself for not getting it before. I couldn't have known (unless I had taken the time to google how to help a friend with pregnancy loss). But I have tried my best to apologize to each of those friends who have miscarried before me. I figure saying the right thing is better late than never. And I still believe that, for me, saying at least something, even if it's wrong, is still better than total silence.

So no, pregnancy loss isn't just a bump in the road. It's more like coming to a screeching halt, careening the car onto a side road you didn't even see. And no matter what you do, you will never be able to turn the car around and get back on your journey. Somehow, you have to pull yourself together and figure out how you fit on this new journey. And maybe, just maybe, one day, you'll even grow to enjoy the view.

6 comments:

  1. Please note that this post is NOT in criticism to any person or anything people have said to me -- ok, except maybe the dog lady. I don't expect anyone to understand what I'm going through unless they've personally been there. More than anything, I have greatly appreciated the love and support people have poured out to me.

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  2. Dear Rachel,
    You helped me with this blog. Everything I've ever wanted to express about what it feels like to lose a child is here in your words. I also had someone compare Kara's loss to her dog's death while trying to comfort me (I cringed inside while I tried to hold my composure). It's so hard to hear advise about God when really...I just want to hear that I'm not wrong or weak for missing my daughter so much. I know God is good, I know I trust Him. There is still pain and when someone just listens and acknowledges my deep love for my child, I feel loved and comforted. Thank you for sharing. This will help other people. In Christ, Cheryl

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  4. Rachel,
    You are so good at putting into words all the feelings that someone that loses a child feels. I am grateful for that. Even though it has been four years since I lost my baby I still carry that scar on my heart. I remember after my miscarriage my in-laws told me I was taking it too hard and I should get some professional help and after that I was afraid to express what I was feeling. I am glad that you have an outlet to express your hurt. Know that I'm always here to listen. Thanks for sharing. Julie

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  5. Thank you all for your comments. I'm so thankful that somehow this is helping someone else. Melissa... I have no idea how i deleted your comment. I'll see of i can undo it. That was not intentional!

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  6. Thank you so much for posting this article. I have wanted to say so much more or do so much more, but the words don't come, so all I can do is pray for you. I think of you often, and wish we did not live on opposite ends of the country.

    I cannot know what you are going through because I have never been there myself, but I do love you so very much, sister, and I want you to know that whatever you need (as much as I can accomodate), I am there for you.

    Thank you again for posting this article. I love you.

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