i lost a baby last year.
i want you to know a few things because chances are you have either had that experience or you will love someone who does.
when i was younger my sister miscarried and i remember calling her and asking if there was anything that i could do. she said there had been a death in the family and to treat it as such. and i knew she would never be the same again.
i didn’t fully understand it until about 10 years later when i went into our OB and was shown the baby, but informed that they were having trouble finding the heartbeat. i squeezed my husband’s hand so tight that i thought he might bleed, because i was unsure that i would be able to get through the next seconds, minutes or years without holding him that hard. i write this not to tell you of my own experience, but to explain why the women in your life who have experienced this are hurting so badly.
when i found out i was pregnant i was elated. it took me about a nanosecond to envision our family all together, to begin to daydream about how i would decorate their room and to remember the feeling when you get to meet the one who had been growing inside you. I could have been pregnant for one minute and it would have still been devastating to lose the baby.
so i was sad. really sad, but i pulled it together and got on with life. i refrained from pelting people who said “at least you have two kids” in the face with a close range paintball gun because i knew that they didn’t consider that this was a different human being. I can be thankful for what i have and i am! i am amazed at how blessed i am, but i can still fall to the floor and weep when i hear that the baby didn’t make it. go ahead, sit me down and explain to me that one in every four pregnancies ends this way, console me by pointing out how i wasn’t really that far along- that’s brilliant! tell me if you ever need a recommendation for counseling school because i have got some stuff to say. but whatever you do don’t let me mourn, right?
don’t let me weep that this child who already had my heart would not grasp my finger. don’t let me cry every time i walk by the room that would have been theirs. force me, out of your sheer inability to see someone else’s pain and trust that even this can create beauty on the other side, force me to carry on as if nothing really happened. then we will all be more comfortable…until other people that i was pregnant with start to have their babies and i end up needing a fair amount of therapy.
here’s what i want you to know- a cheat sheet if you will.
1) be quiet.
just be there and let them cry. cry with them. allow yourself to realize what a great loss it really is. if you don’t know what to say… then don’t say it.
2) acknowledge that it was somebody. that it was, in fact, a loss.
no matter how many children they do or do not have, there was a child who didn’t make it. i have three children; two are with me today.
3) help them when they are ready.
if a room was decorated, then when they say it is time, please redecorate it in a way that brings healing and great beauty to something that for now is simply a signpost to what was lost.
4) let them take the time they need and love them well.
i really wish that i could have met our third child. i would have loved to see what combination of matt and i had come to fruition this time. i would have loved to hold that sweet child and whispered words of love and kissed that sweet baby. but here’s what you need to know about me. i wept. i yelled. i fell down out of a sheer inability to muster up the strength to stand. i did a lot of things in this process, but one thing i did not do was actually LOSE the baby. that child is written on my heart and will be forever a part of who i am. that child was not lost. that child is held. missed. adored.
but never, ever lost.