Monday, October 8, 2012

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month

It seems weird to be posting all of this stuff when I am due for my fourth child, but maybe that's the struggle of dealing with the "taboo." Besides the fact that we are expecting our fourth child any second, Ella's birthday is right around the corner, less than a month away. She is on my mind as much as ever. I came across this poem on a blog called Angel Steps.

Baby loss talk is so taboo,
how would you feel, if it was close to you?
Would you want to talk and share in the joy,
of your baby's life, be it a girl or a boy?
Because a life is a life and a loss is a loss, matter what age, there is no cost.
Priceless they are, precious all the same.
It happened to me, then the questions came.
Now should i say i have two,
when really there's three?
Just because one isn't here now with me?
I love them all and treasure each day,
but one of my babies was taken away.
Up into the heavens, high in the sky
and for a long time, i'd sit there and cry.
Not so much now, as life goes on,
but, i will never stop singing her special song.
Today you can ask me, my answer will say
"Yes, i have children, but one couldn't stay"
"No one knows what to say after the death of a child. A good friend, who had lost her own baby only a few years before, told me the death of a baby is especially hard because no one really had a chance to get to know him. People care because they care for the parents, but they do not feel the loss of the child. While that is understandable, it can make the parents feel entirely alone in their grief.
The immediate response when someone finds out you have lost a child is, “I’m so sorry.” I’ve heard that hundreds of times over the past year. People want you to say, “It’s okay.”, as we often do after someone apologizes for something, but the thing is, it’s not okay. I don’t want sympathies. I want to celebrate my child. I want to talk about him and keep him alive in our daily life. But talking makes people uncomfortable. They are quick to move on to another topic. From what I hear, it’s the same for most parents who have lost a child.
I can’t tell people I have 3 kids. I’ve tried, but it always strikes me as wrong. I have 3 at home, but I’ve had 4. A question as simple as, “how many kids do you have?” often makes me freeze up. There have been times when I’ve been completely unable to respond at all. It makes people uncomfortable when I tell them I have 4 but one passed away.  They feel like they have to apologize, but I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m stating a fact.
People are afraid of saying the wrong thing but the truth is, there are no wrong words if they are said with kindness. Grief doesn’t end with the funeral. You carry on, but your arms stay empty. Simply acknowledging that there is someone missing can often go a long way to comfort a parent who has lost a child. If you know someone who has lost a child, don’t shy away from talking about their child when it’s appropriate. You may be the friend they need, even if their loss isn’t a recent one."

I really liked this article too. The mom does a great job illustrating what a mother, and family, go through after loss. I love to talk about Ella, I cry every single time, but not because I don't want to talk about her because I do! I always do! There are very few people who I have regular conversations with about her, most of them family members who share in our "loss." I like how both authors bring up the question "how many kids do you have?"  This has been one of the toughest parts for me.  A friend who lost a son told me early on that this was her hardest struggle and how she has learned to cope was to also say she has 3 at home. At the time I thought "of course I will always count Ella, I don't think I will struggle with that" and boy was I wrong. I fear the question, I avoid it, and I try to come up with creative ways to be accurate and still hold back the tears. I think that is something I will be working on for a long time. I wish I could follow in my children's footsteps, they never cease to talk about Ella or the fact that they have a little sister in heaven. Much healing has come through their ability to keep Ella on the front of our minds, I thank them for that.

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