Thursday, July 16, 2015

What Not to Say...

  There seem to be a lot of those "What not to say to/when/how..." posts being shared around these days. The response seems to be one of two things much of the time. Either, "OH MY GOODNESS, YES!!!" or "OH MY GOODNESS, YOU OVERLY-SENSITIVE, POLITICALLY-CORRECT LITTLE NINNIES! GET OVER YOURSELVES!" Very rarely do I ever see responses of people who considered the words and their actions, making note of how unknowingly hurtful they could be, and shared with a vow to try and care for others' hearts. It happens, but it's rare. But in the past few months I have been given the  incredible privilege of having scores of women come to me after reading my story of Asher's life, death, birth, and the grieving process, and express their own similar hurts and experiences, thanking me for being vocal about our common hurt. In the sharing I have noticed we have all had a few things in common, and one horribly painful thing is this: the comments, meant to be some kind of comfort or pain-relief, that actually stabbed us deeply in the heart, because the speakers had not been through such a loss therefore could not relate and had no idea what they were actually saying.
The two most common:
"You can always have another!"
Yes, most people can have another baby after a loss. And many do. But what you are suggesting is a replacement child. Like having another baby will make ANYTHING about the loss of this child better. I assure you, it will not. Pick one of your kids. Or a parent. A sibling. A best friend. A spouse. Any one close to you. Now imagine them dead. Don't worry! Don't cry or be sad. Just go make another human replacement! Yeah.
"Just focus on the child/children you DO have!"
 Let's make something really clear here: It is absolutely okay and normal for a parent to grieve their dead child, and it in no way makes them ungrateful for any living children they have, nor does it make them ungrateful for their fertility. Their grief is not insensitive to those experiencing infertility. Their heartache is normal and okay, and it is absolute cruelty to infer that their daring to grieve is insensitive or ungrateful. Say your spouse dies, very young and unexpectedly. Your world is crashing down around you, and you're suddenly chastised for your grief, and told that you're being insensitive to those who have never found a spouse. Does that seem in ANY way right?

It's interesting to me that I have been mulling over this topic in my head since my last post, Think About It, and just as I got children busy and sat down with my laptop for some time to write, my sister re-posted this poem her cousin(also a mother of Heaven-born babies) shared. Perfect. So perfect. 

Nobody Knew You
By: Jan Cosby
Nobody knew you
"Sorry about the miscarriage, dear, but you couldn't have been very far along."
... existed.
Nobody knew you
"It's not as though you lost an actual person."
... were real.
Nobody knew you
"Well it probably wasn't a viable fetus. It's all for the best." 
... were perfect.
Nobody knew you
"You can always have another!"
... were unique.
Nobody knew you
"You already have a beautiful child! Be happy!"
... were loved for yourself.
Nobody knew you
... but us.
And we will always remember
... You.  


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