Monday, November 23, 2009

Please Read

As you can imagine, this past week has been very difficult.
For some reason, I never thought I would have a miscarriage. I never thought my husband and I would lose our baby. Maybe it's that typical thing where you think, "That would never happen to me." What strengthened my conviction that in nine months, we would be welcoming our first happy, healthy child into our arms, was that we really, really wanted this tiny being in our lives; we charted my cycles, ate all the right things, took vitamins, ordered and read books on pregnancy and childbirth, and talked about our baby all the time. So, as naive as it sounds, I was under the impression that, since we wanted it so badly, and were so dedicated to being the best parents we could be from conception on, God would bless us without question. It's a silly concept really; because aren't there thousands of good people going through immense hardships every day, all around the globe? Why I believed us to be immune to this injustice, I can't explain. But in any case, I was in total, complete shock when this happened. And then the shock slipped into grief.
What I want to share with you all now is my humble advice on how to bring comfort to someone who has just had a miscarriage...and to reveal some comments which may seem laden with the best intentions, but which actually tend to add to the pain.
What I heard most often, directly after we lost our Blueberry, was:

 "You are going to be an amazing mother one day."
 "You're young. You're going to have children one day, don't worry."
"There must have been something wrong with the baby."
"Just be glad it happened early on. I know someone who miscarried at 20 weeks..."
"This happens to sooo many women."

Let me explain something very clearly: The minute that tiny fertilized egg nests into the lining of your uterus, you are a mother, and your husband is a father. For the rest of your lives. Even if you lose this baby, and never have another, you are parents. You created a living being together out of love, and that fact remains, no matter what. And just because there isn't a grave stone under a tree somewhere with your lost baby's name on it, doesn't take away the fact that this was a very sad loss, one which will be with you the rest of your lives.
That little being was absolutely unique. There will never be another living being with the exact same dna code or the exact same soul as this one. And that little being is NOT replaceable. 
I was amazed how many well-meaning people jumped to telling me that we'll be pregnant with another baby before we know it. If I had lost my husband, I hope they wouldn't tell me, "Oh, but there are so many fish in the sea, take your pick!" People, pets, and yes, tiny little beings growing inside of you, are irreplaceable. Even if it's true that one day you may be blessed with a healthy child, that child will not replace your first baby. It will be your first born, but not your first baby. And one day, you can tell your children that. That they have a sibling who had to return to Heaven sooner than you had hoped, and who you and their father loved dearly. 

Young or old, having a miscarriage will change your attitude towards pregnancy for the rest of your life. You will never again go into a pregnancy with a care-free and absolutely positive feeling. There will always be some fear involved. So even though it's great to think of the prospect that you can still get pregnant in the future, it's something secondary to your worry and grief in the first few days after a miscarriage.

The thought that there may have been something 'wrong' with the baby is not a comforting thought, and really need not be mentioned. 

I have a very good friend whose baby died suddenly 12 days after it had been born. She told me, in all honesty, that the pain is the same, and she would never dare to measure the grief on a scale of how long you knew your baby. Losing a baby is absolutely heartbreaking. Please, don't ever tell someone who just had a miscarriage that they should be glad it happened in the first trimester. It's NOT A COMFORT. 

Yes, miscarriage happens to alot of women. Some of you have had miscarriages, and will know what I mean when I say it doesn't matter how many women this happened to, your grief is your own and isn't made more mild because it happens so often. People die every minute of the day, but that fact doesn't make it any less painful when someone you love dies. 

All the people who said these things to me are people I love, people I know mean well, people who were desperately looking for a way to comfort me and make me feel better. But I'll tell you, it just made me feel alone and misunderstood.

Here are words which really helped sooth and comfort me, and my husband as well:

"I am so sorry you had to go through this."
"You will always be parents now, no one can take that away from you."
"Your baby experienced love every day of it's life, and was lucky to be with you."
"Your baby's spirit will always be with you."
"Put your baby's picture in a frame, light a candle, put flowers next to it...you have a right to mourn. You have a right to say goodbye."
"This must be so painful. I can't even imagine. Please tell me if I can help you in any way."
"Take your time to grieve. There's no rush. I'm here for you."
"You were amazing parents, even if it was just for that short time."

Those words shone like a light at the end of the tunnel. When I heard things like that, I could breath, I felt understood, I felt loved. Our baby's life, however short, was honored, and the full spectrum of our sadness was taken into account. 

I really wanted to share this all with you, even if it is more for my personal therapeutic benefit than anything else. 
I also wanted to tell you all, again, that you have surprised and warmed me with your presence. When I began this blog I had no expectations or hopes of making real friends, or being part of a small supportive community. This development is such a wonderful gift, and a true blessing. 
So, again, THANK YOU.

xoxo

11 comments:

  1. I full agree with you, Dawn. And I must confess that you're warming my heart through your words... When I lost my first one at 23 week and the second one at the 24 ( different pregnancies, but same problem ) my daughters were perfect and I heard so many negative things like people saying that I wasn't born to be a mother ... so sad ... When I was pregnant of my third daughter I almost lost her and I had to have a little surgery to sew my uterus and don't loose her ( at the 23 week ) , I took so many medicines and fought with all the strenght of my soul but that all I asked God for was to let her be born healthy, even if it were in the seventh month, but HE allowed me to go until the ninth month and everything had a happy end. And now, nine years after my first loss ( 1st was on Nov. 12, 2000 and 2nd on May 23, 2001 ) through your words, I can see myself at that time trying to shout at the rest of the world what I was feeling, my mother feeling ! It was a hard time and my daughter doesn't know about it, yet, but I'll tell her someday, she's only 7 now . I felt like a soldier in a war, be shooting several times and fighting for his own life! Sorry, if I'm telling all these things, but all these years none had expressed exactly my feelings as you did in this post. We become mothers since the first thought and strong feeling of having a life growing inside us. I always tell my daughter : "Helena, before you were born, I already loved you..." Of course, I am the happiest mother in the world but my heart was hurt twice and the scars will last forever,
    each child is really unique, you're absolutely right ! And I have two angels watching for me in Heaven : Julia and Maria Clara ...

    God bless each one of us ...
    xoxo


    if you wish you can e-mail me :
    cclaudiamedeiros70@yahoo.com.br

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  2. Dawn you are so right. You seem so brave and strong, although I can't even begin to come close to imagining how you must be feeling. I once read a quote that a mother told her adopted son when he asked about his conception, she told him that he grew in her heart instead of her tummy. It seems it can be true for losing a child too, they will always be "growing" in your heart.

    Rhianna xx

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  3. Dawn,

    This is actually very helpful advice. I hope nothing I said caused you any additional pain. You and Ramon deserve nothing but love and support through the loss of your precious baby.

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  4. Sigh.

    Been here.... Done this...

    And nothing can make this easier except time and acceptance, which will, in it's own time, mosey on in. But my advice (as a survivor, counselor and woman) is to just let whatever you feel to flow as freely as you like. And then one day, you'll wake up, and things will seem a little easier.

    I just discovered your blog today, and I don't believe in coincidences. But know that there are people who truly do understand, and that you don't have to utter one damn word --- because that's your right.

    I wish you the best of luck in the future, wherever that my lead you.

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  5. Dear Dawn,
    so sorry if I caused additional pain. What I said came from my personal experience of losing a baby and from my heart.
    You're both in my prayers.

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  6. Dearest Dawn,
    Thank you for your honeset and insightful words, I echo scattering lupines in saying that your post is very good avice, and I shall always keep it in my thoughts.
    All of my love to you and Ramon
    Morwenna xoxo

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  7. Sunshine,
    This post shows how you stand up for yourself and at the same time teach us about love and a beautiful heart.
    It's to find what God wants for us, not for God to give us what we want, that I am learning in my ripe age.
    As evolution would have it, you are right there is that same curve, so thank you sharing what supports us in that process and what not so much.
    I'm learning a lot from you.
    Yomom

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  8. Hi Dawn,

    As I mentioned we lost our second daughter aged five days.

    She was born with downs sydrome even though I was in my early twenties.

    She had severe heart problems and we were offered the choice for her to have surgery or let her die.

    The doctors were not keen on trying to save her because of her condition, but she was much wanted and we were determined to give her a fighting chance.

    Sadly that did not eventuate.

    I had many people telling me it was for the best so we did not have to raise a handicapped child.

    Yet it was our choice to deal with whatever God offered us.

    Sadly after the funeral my family felt the subject was Taboo and don't speak of her and find it strange that we still do!

    Time does begin to heal, but love and memories remain.

    She chose her time to leave us holding my hand and opening her eyes before she left us.

    Take time to grieve and heal, and many people forget that husbands need the same.

    My love to you both. xxx.

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  9. today i feel as though i was guided to your blog and your words have meant so much...they have been what i've been needing to hear, have brought me comfort. i am so sad for you and sorry for the loss of your sweet baby...my heart hurts for you and your husband. like you i never thought that it would happen to me and felt shocked when it did...it was the hardest thing i have ever had to endure. my arms ache to hold my baby...i wanted to meet her and kiss her warm soft cheeks...i yearn for that and daydream about what it would have been like. i remember thinking how exciting christmas would be this year...going home with a big belly; everyone excited about our wee one's arrival in february. i loved that child and i know that she could feel that love...i will always have a special place in my heart and my soul for her...my first little baby.
    thinking of you, praying for you and sending you love.
    xo.

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  10. Dear Dawn,

    Your post was so eloquent and beautifully written and my heart is truly hurting for you. I too have lost a baby and was never brave enough to tell people that their comments were more hurtful than comforting. The funny thing is, I was afraid that I would hurt THEIR feelings if I told them they were hurting me. I was only 14 weeks along when this happened to me. I named my baby Avery, which is a unisex name but was perfect since I did not know the gender. I found that having a name for my little one makes it so much easier when I talk to the sweet angel. My loss occurred several years ago in the fall and I planted some tulip bulbs in honor of Avery. It brings joy to my heart every spring when I see the little sprouts reaching for the sky and eventually blossoming into beautiful flowers. At first this was very sad when the flowers bloomed because it was a constant reminder of the pain, but now these flowers make me smile every time I walk by them and my flower bed also provides a place for me to have my quiet time to sit and reflect.

    I wish you the best, Dawn. I will keep you, your husband and little blueberry in my prayers!

    All the best,
    Lori

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  11. i love that you wrote this post; so true and heartfelt. the thing that gave me the most comfort when i experienced my miscarriage was just knowing others were thinking of me, hugs and a listening ear meant so much.

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