Hope (verb): Want something to happen or be the case
Caveat: As always, all thoughts, musings, anger are my own.
I know that it’s difficult knowing what to say – it’s now four months since Summer passed away and I too have to pause and really think before speaking to someone who’s living through baby loss, it still doesn’t come naturally to me either – but I just want you to understand how some platitudes sound when you’re on the receiving end of them. So please don’t take this as an attack, rather an insight into how we can help each other and what might work better.
The Definite Statements
- “It will happen for you” or “I know it’s going to happen for you”
- “I have a good feeling”
- “It just takes time”
- “You will have a baby one day”
I know that it’s all well-meaning, but YOU DON’T KNOW THAT. There are no guarantees in life, sometimes it doesn’t work out. Does your certainly bring you comfort? Because I’m sorry, it doesn’t bring me any. None. Often it just adds an additional layer, either anger or pressure, definitely sadness.
My entire experience of pregnancy, is loss. Has that sunk in? Do you understand how it’s all ruined now? I was confident it would work out the first time, I’m never going to be going forwards. There is no certainty here, not for me, and definitely not from you.
I know what’s being said all comes from a position of hope, so please just say that. Say “I believe it will happen for you” or “I hope you will be able to bring a baby home one day”, because the only thing that any of us can offer, is hope. Diminished as mine is.
The Success Stories
- “My friend/sister/aunt had 5 miscarriages and now she has two children!”
I have lost count of the “success stories” I’ve heard since I miscarried. Granted, this isn’t the same for everyone, but I want to playback what I hear when the above is said.
Firstly, I hear FIVE miscarriages. I don’t hear the happy ending, I hear FIVE. I think “I’ve had 3 miscarriages, I can’t have two more. I can’t keep doing this. It’s cruel: to me, to the babies. Five!”.
Secondly, illogical as it may sound, when I hear a success story I just think it depletes the odds for me. I think “good for them, but some people never have children, so if they’ve been successful, that means my chances of having one just went down”.
When you’re stuck in your personal nightmare, other people’s happy endings don’t help much.
The Glancing Forwards
- “The funeral will bring closure”
- “You can move forwards now”
- “It just wasn’t meant to be”
Funerals do not bring closure, I’m starting to wonder if anything will. I don’t think so. When something dies – a person, a friendship, a relationship – it’s never placed in a box, tied up with ribbon and put away neatly. In fact, it’s more like “well, that was unexpectedly sh1t. I now have this huge hole in my life. No reason for it that I can fathom, but there it is”. There’s no way or plan to get around it, it just is. And I guess you just have to learn to live with it. That’s not gaining closure, or moving forwards, it’s just waking up every day in a world which looks and feels quite different all of a sudden.
So please be careful about being dismissive of the babies who’ve passed. Getting pregnant again does not compensate for the past, or make any of it ok. A lot of people likely assume I want to get pregnant again, some may be hoping or waiting for the announcement. So here’s some news: we’re not even trying. Four months later and it’s not just about having a baby anymore. It’s about wanting the ones we’ve lost.
Having read this back, I bet the above seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how common the statements are. Don’t worry if you’ve said some of them, I know they’ve always been intended with kindness and sometimes the comments land better than at other times (e.g. when a doctor says “this will happen for you, I’ve seen it happen”, that does give comfort). As with everything right now, my reaction is a real mix and lacks consistency. Still, at least you now have a glimpse of how sometimes the best intended remarks can fall short of their goal.
Some things can’t be helped or fixed: I guess we’re all pretty helpless in this situation.