The other day I was talking with a friend and she told me that someone close to her had recently experienced a miscarriage.  My friend didn’t know what to say to them and turned to my website for insight.  Here’s where I have fallen short.  This is a topic that I have not written on.  Seems a little odd that it hasn’t come out sooner and I apologize to all who have come to the site for help on this topic.  For each person who has suffered a pregnancy or infant loss, what to say and not say can differ a little because of how each of handles situations.  However, I feel like there are some common things that we either need to hear or don’t need to hear.  Some of these have been said to me and some have been said to those who have walked a similar path as I have.

What to not say

  • You can still have other children
  • It’s better this way or This is God’s way of telling you
  • So, when are you going to get back on the horse (the day you are discharged from the hospital)
  • You baby has expired
  • You need to just get over it or move on
  • You shouldn’t dwell in the past or on it
  • You should be done grieving by now
  • Why don’t you put everything that you have out in honor of them away to help you move forward
  • At least you weren’t that far along
  • It wasn’t meant to be
  • Maybe next time you can take extra vitamins

What to say

  • If you need to talk, I am here to listen
  • The child’s name, if there wasn’t a name given you can encourage the family to name their child
  • Your baby is beautiful
  • You are a mom/dad, no matter how many you have lost or even if you do not have other children yet
  • We may not always know what we need ourselves, so instead of asking what can you do do something specific for the family.  Like…bring meals, meet for coffee
  • I’ve been thinking about you. This can still be done months & years down the road
  • Remember their child in some way…especially on their child’s birthday
  • Don’t forget about the father.  A lot of times the men get forgotten about as the appear to be just fine.  Where they are just trying to keep it together and be strong for their partner.  Their grief may not surface until farther down the path.
  • It wasn’t your fault

 

If you are still nervous about what to say or afraid something may not come out right, there are two important things that you can do.  Be there to listen and remember their child.  And don’t forget to still do this down the road.  It’s been over two years for me and in some I am still grieving.  The grieving has changed, but it is still something that is a part of me and I have learned different ways to help me move forward. This is a part of my life and forever will be.

This by no means is an extensive list for either topic.  If you would like to share what has been helpful or not helpful to you after you experienced the loss of your child please share with us in the comment section below.

 

What does your heart puzzle look like?  Mine is filled with Raun, Samantha, family, friends, the future, and myself.  What is a heart puzzle?  It is how your heart is divided up.  For those of us who are more visual, like me, think of your heart us a puzzle.  It is made up of different pieces of your life.  Over time those pieces change.  Just like any other puzzle, if a piece is missing it’s not complete.  Likewise, you can not move another piece to fill that spot.  Your heart is complete, whole, no holes.  You may change the number of pieces or what they represent, but no matter what it will still be complete.

Holes, voids call them what you want.  It is that inner feeling that you get when you loose someone close to you.  There is a spot that never feels quite the same.  Over time that void seems to fill back in, but never the same as it was before.  It is forever change, but it fills back in.  No matter what, there is still a part of you, a part of your heart that has been forever touched.

When you are expecting a child, an addition to your life, the pieces of your heart puzzle seem to gain another piece.  When you loose your child through miscarriage, infant loss, or stillbirth you still have that spot.  It is reserved for that special little one.  It is only for them and nothing will replace that spot.  When you grow your family, more pieces are added.  Your heart is complete, ever changing, your life.  The things you yearn for, hope for are what is in your future.  Over time, you will take those things from your future and they will become a spot all their own in your heart puzzle.

When Samantha went to heaven I felt a deep void, a hole if you will.  Over the past few months I have so desperately wanted to be pregnant and grow our family.  To have that void filled back in.  Having another child won’t fill that feeling of void back in.  It will add another piece to the puzzle.  What I realized recently is that in a way, that void has been filled back in.  In the center of it is Samantha and what her little tiny footprints have left behind.  It has been filled in by all that Samantha has taught me, the support that I have around me, and a new perspective on life.  As much as I wanted to have the chance to raise our little girl, I know she is in good hands.  I believe some day soon, I will have the chance to raise our children here on earth and some where in the future we will all meet again.

If you were to fill out your pieces, what would they look like?  Start with you in the middle, make sure there is a spot for future, then fill in the rest with what is most important and brings the most meaning in your life.  So, what is your heart puzzle?

 

 

How true is that statement?

I remember a conversation that occurred shortly after our miscarriage with someone who didn’t know it had happened.  It was the end of my work day and I was up at the front desk chatting with a co-worker, when a parent on their way out stopped at the desk to chat.  She had begun asking my co-worker how her pregnancy was going, and when their conversation ended she turned to me and asked the same question.  I admit, I hesitated for a bit.  To me it seemed like minutes.  I looked at my co-worker, hoping she might say something.  It was at most a week that I had been back at work, but I still wasn’t ready to answer this question.  My response was simple, we lost the baby at 17 weeks.  She asked me how I was doing with it all and my co-worker jumped in saying that I was handling it like a champ.

A champ?  I don’t want to be a champ at this.  It makes me sound like I am a winner.  I understand she meant well by it and not in that context.  It also meant that on the outside at first glance it looked like I was handling it all well, even though on the inside I was falling apart and people didn’t really know the hell I was going through.  But a champ? Not quite.

Just a few weeks ago, I heard another perspective on this.  Instead of the word champ being used, it was the word strong.  I have been told I am strong and I will make it through this.  Someone else I know  was asked “you are so strong though all of this, how do you do it?”  My perspective on this statement, as well as her’s was simple.  I don’t really have a choice.  Life is moving forward with or without me.  It would be easier to just stay in bed, shut the world out, in a way give up, and let the world move forward without me.  Or, I could begin to walk this new path one small step at a time, one foot in front of the other. 

Am I going to stumble?  Am I going to take steps backwards? You bet, but I am going to do my best to move forward.   I am going to have bad days, it is going to be tough, but I am going to do it.  Notice I said, move forward, not move on.  I will never move on from what happened.  It will always be a part of me and my baby girl will always be with me.  Right now she is in good hands and some day I will see her again.  This is what allows me to move forward. 

Am I strong?  Maybe, maybe not.  That’s for you to say, not me.  Am I a champ?  No, I wouldn’t describe myself that way.  What I do know, is that this had made me realize a few things.  1) Life is short, I need to fill it with the things that truly mean the most to me.  2) I need to stand up for myself more and let my voice be heard.  3) I am more comfortable now with who I am then I have ever been.  I am not afraid to truly be me.

 “We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have” – Small Bird Studios

 

       

   I take heart in knowing that other’s still care.  But truly, I feel that only a few truly understand.  Some around me try to understand and just go with the flow, not having experienced this themselves.  Some try to understand and try to say the right thing.  And there are some who do truly understand, have walked the path, yet say nothing. 

         There is someone close to me that has no idea truly, what I am going through, however her kind words echo through my mind and my heart.  When I don’t know where to turn, when I feel completely overwhelmed, when I don’t understand my emotions I turn to those words.  Sometimes saying them helps, sometimes it makes me stop and think, and sometimes it just resonates.  One of the things that she said was “I truly believe that everything happens for a reason”.  I agree with her, though it is tough to hear and to take in some times, God lets everything happen for a reason.  As much as I would love to know is why this, I also know I will never truly know why.

       She also said that I was one of the strongest people she knows, if anybody can get through this I can, and based on that she knows that I will ge through this and that one day I will truly be blessed in a big way.  Hmmm…I am strong.  Do I feel like that?  Sometimes I do.  Other times when the tears are flowing I think, really?  Am I really strong?  I may not always agree with that statement, but having someone else believe it, helps me believe in myself.  One day, I will be able to stand up tall and say with confidence “I am strong”

 

 

Most people think that enough time has gone by, I am fine and everything is back to normal.  But, in reality, it doesn’t work that way.  I manage my way through the day as normal as normal is now.  However, the little things pop up totally unexpectedly and the reaction is just the same.  My word of advice, be cautious in your words and make sure you really fully understand what is going on before you let the words go.  Even the best of effort, can be a pitfall for the person.  It is nice to know “we” and our situation are not forgotten about, but it all comes down to timing and how it is said.  Remember we have all lost someone close to us, but losing a child is not like anything anyone has faced before.  I ask that you let God guide your words.  Then they will come out right, with the best of intentions, at the moment that person needs most to hear them.

 

The other time was just recently.  I know the person had the best of intentions, however the delivery was a little off and awkward, not to mention the timing was poor.   A co-worker of mine had gone in the night before because her water broke.  The next day a different co worker came to me part way through the day and said “I just wanted to know I am thinking about you.  I know this must be difficult because so in so was having her baby.”  I know her heart was in it and she meant well, however it pretty well did me in.  I was already having an internal struggle between work and personal that the thought hadn’t crossed my mind.  In fact, all I was thinking about was yeah, congrats, I hope it all goes well.  Now, all of a sudden another layer is added in and all I can do is cram it down.  She didn’t know, she was just trying to be helpful.  She wanted to let me know that I am not forgotten.  I am thankful for her try, yes, because even after 4 months there are days it feels like yesterday.

 

 

I have learned over the past several months that words are no longer just words when it comes to dealing with an infant loss and all the grief that comes with it.  Words can either be helpful or they can be detrimental.  It all depends on where the person is in their process, what is said, where it is said, and where the emotional/mental/physical state of the person hearing the words is.  It is all about context and timing.  The best of intentions can easily become the worst when the timing is not right.  I have experienced this several times over the past few months, but two stand out in my mind.  One time, I knew I was feeling a little off.  Something didn’t quite feel right.  I was a little more sensitive and couldn’t quite figure out why.  Well, it hit me at then of the week on the Friday right before Mother’s day.  It wasn’t until a parent gave me hug and whispered to me saying “my thoughts and prayers will be with you this weekend”.  Aha, now I know what was going on.  The struggle of, am a mother or am I not.  I gave birth to child, but that child went to heaven and I went home with a box.  So, am I a mother or am I not.  As simplistic as it gets, yes, yes I am.  However, on a deeper level, I don’t feel like one.  So, the struggle still continues as I learn how to deal and process with all of this.

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