Tag-team (informal): People working together
In the book club I’m a member of, we read The Choice by Edith Eger in 2018. Now this is terrible paraphrasing (forgive me Edith), but she’s an Auschwitz survivor who went on to become a counsellor. I recall her commenting on how many people she worked with who were minimising their hurt, after all, “it’s nothing compared to being in Auschwitz”. Although that’s true, Edith made the point that just because she was in Auschwitz, it doesn’t mean that others are not in pain now, it doesn’t mean that what they’re going through isn’t important. It made me think. That’s so true, isn’t it? If we always worked off the premise “don’t worry about me, there’s someone else worse off”, then if you extrapolate that through to its end point, well, just one person would receive all the support in the world! So please don’t minimise your hurt or needs (or other people’s) in comparison to mine. It’s not a ranking or a competition, well, not one I want to win anyway!
That’s an important point for me to make, because I’m now learning how many of us have experienced baby loss. One of the “nicest” things about this horribly long journey, is the compassion people have shown. I have been blown away with people who were much further along in pregnancy than I was, who went on to lose their babies at a much later stage, yet have talked to me as if what we’ve been through is the same. It’s taken me a long time to realise, but you know what? We have. It’s not a competition of who’s had it worse, it’s just something that’s completely rubbish for everyone – we have all lost our children, our hopes, our future. So if you’ve lost a child at any stage, of course you understand and can compare your experience. If it helps, please do. We need to support one another. As a friend recently remarked: we need to change the narrative on baby loss. All hurt is hurt – and mine has recently demanded to be heard.
Since launching Mumoirs I’ve received a lot of apologies, so I wanted to reiterate the ‘house rules’ on the About page:
Apologies aren’t necessary. Actions speak louder than words. So read, have a think and if you want to, act differently.
Just remember that when people are grieving we know that people can’t be there all the time, and we don’t expect you to be either. That’s why phrases like “support network” exist.
You have to start thinking of yourselves as a team of supporters now. A tag-team. If one day you’ve dropped the ball, there’s always another day to give someone else a time-out and for you to pick it up. It’ll serve me well to remind myself of this too. We all have many friends and family going through lots of different challenges. There’s not just me to think about. So be kind to yourselves, ok? Then I can try to do the same.
So, as teammates, what can we do? Draw up a game plan, start small and list seven people who may be going through a tough time. Over the next week, reach out to check in on them, one day at a time. Try not to think only of the obvious people – I don’t want to hog all of your support! Just imagine if we all started doing that, it would be quite a legacy for all the missing babies, wouldn’t it? It reminds me of the coronavirus diagram we’ve all seen: we all now know how things spread, so let’s touch-in with our friends and start a positive chain of transmission.