Sunday Synopsis

20 things that babyloss moms do that feel crazy–  do you do some of these things?  anything you’d add to the list?

Not everyone gets a rainbow– I’ve read this article before and I recently came back to it.  I think this is so so important.  We fight against the platitudes of “you can always have another” but yet we recognize that grief does seem to get a bit easier if we have a rainbow.  BUT what if we can’t have a rainbow? What if we are struggling to have a rainbow?  I stiffen at any story that includes a rainbow as part of “healing” because it immediately alienates anyone who doesn’t have a rainbow.  We all (rainbow or not) need to know how survive life.

Getting grief right– This article came across my fb feed at just the right time.  I’m clearly struggling with grieving “right.”  Unlike the woman in the article I didn’t feel like I was succeeding at grief in the beginning- I took a lot of time off.  But here’s the thing, I felt like I was succeeding- I had (have?) this vision of the kind of bereaved mother I want to/should be.

and then from some of my followers/blogs I follow, these recent posts really hit home:

On prayer and the randomness of the world– Whoa.  When people survive a tragedy, saying they were watched over by angels, what does it mean for us who didn’t survive (ie our babies died)?  Are we not watched over? Are we being punished?

Being reproductively challenged today– talk about gratitude.  She’s struggling with infertility and yet can find something to be grateful for about her situation.  At least (and I hate that phrase) she’s struggling in this day and age and not hundreds of years ago.

***********

On an unrelated note, today is a special day.  I met Thomas’s mom at my perinatal loss support group- she was the first in-person person I met who had neonatal loss and was on the same grief timeline as me.  Today I am paying special remembrance to Thomas and his mom and dad as they honor him on his first birthday.  Happy Birthday, Thomas.

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23 thoughts on “Sunday Synopsis

  1. I read the first two posts. I nodded along with the 20 points, feeling reassured I’m not crazy – or at least, not being alone in being crazy.

    The Rainbow post was a tough, but good read. A Rainbow is never going to be a replacement for a lost baby, and yes, the notion that anyone who doesn’t have a Rainbow is not and cannot be ‘healed’. And what if you can’t have one? That is a thought that haunts me.

    Loved the angels/randomness post too – talks about so much of what irks me, what people say without thinking about it, or the implications.
    xx

  2. The “Getting Grief Right” article was a really good reminder of things i need to repeat to myself often. And i especially appreciated the quote at the end… “All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them,” said the writer Isak Dinesen.

    Thanks for the roundup, it is always interesting.

    Today is my brother’s birthday. His name is Thomas too. So i will be thinking of both of them. One gone tragically too soon, one who is getting ready to embark on this crazy adventure of welcoming a baby into this world…

  3. Meghan,
    My intent with this response is not to try to diminish your feelings or grief or say that you’re wrong in any way. I agree that sometimes people say they will pray because they don’t know what else to say, whether they believe in God, that prayer has any power, or intend to pray or not. I understand what you’re saying but just wanted to maybe try give you a little different perspective.

    I’m a Christian and regularly tell people that I’ll pray for them when bad things happen. We all live in the same world and experience terrible things, whether we believe in God or not. The Bible says, “God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) That’s part of the world we live in. That said, when someone experiences something tragic, what I truly pray for them (and I really do my best to pray when I tell someone I will) is that they will experience hope and comfort in spite of terrible and devastating circumstances, which is what my faith gives me.

    Would I be devastated at the loss of a child. Of course! Unimaginably so. But I believe that God has good things for me and that He works every event of my life for my good, because that is His promise to those who believe in Him. Do I understand how He can do that in the midst of something unimaginable? No. I don’t. And in those circumstances, it’s easy to question God. But knowing who He is, as much as is possible for my human mind to comprehend, I believe that He is good even when my circumstances could make me question. God is love and anything inconsistent with love is not of God.

    In the story you linked to with the example of a plane hitting a house and some people surviving and some not, I think it’s easy for the survivors to respond by saying that God was looking out for them that day. Do those people really believe God is looking out for them every day or that God was or was not looking out for the people who died? Who knows. Often it’s just something to say. However, I do believe that God looks out for me every day, and also for those to whom bad things happen. Does that mean bad things won’t happen to me? No. I don’t believe that. The Bible tells us we should expect trials of all kinds. If tomorrow is my last day, I believe God knows that today. Does it make him bad if I or someone I love dies tragically? Is He bad if I experience infertility or the loss of other dreams I have for my life or for those I love? I don’t think so. What I do think is that without the hope I have in him, surviving that kind of tragedy might not be possible for me. But with Him I just might be able to make it through. Whether my prayers are for protection, for healing, for comfort after loss, for a baby I don’t have, for restored relationship, or for something else, I can continue to cry out to God with my desires, but I have hope in him whether he answers my prayers in the way I hope or not. Because I believe he has plans for me that are for good, whether I can see that today or not. God is good regardless of my circumstances.

    This may just seem like craziness to you, in which case you can feel free to delete my comment. Just know that I do pray for you, because losing a child has to be the most difficult thing we can experience on earth. I pray that you can have hope for a future you can’t imagine and that God will comfort you until you can begin to imagine a future different than the grief you’re surrounded by today. Mabel was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    • britineyBrittiney, I understand what you are trying to say, and I do respect that you mean it. However, what I think you are failing to understand (and what a lot of people who are trying to be comforting fail to understand), is that this is not about you, or what you feel or believe. It is about how the person you are intending to comfort feels. Please read this article. http://stillstandingmag.com/2014/05/offense-meaning-well-sometimes-doesnt-mean-well/ It explains it better than I could. I’d also suggest that if you want to pray for someone like Meghan, myself, or the many other loss parents out there, you still can. You can do that without saying anything about it.

      • Thank you, otterdietrich :). britineyBrittiney, please note that I wrote the article Meghan linked to. I just want to make sure you know that, because it’s unfair to assume that she therefore agrees 100% with what I said. As a Christian who lost a baby, my perspective on prayer was obliterated when he died, and what you believe about prayer just doesn’t represent my experience any more. Your beliefs about God are yours, not mine. And like otterdietrich said, you are welcome to pray for me – but there’s no need to tell me you’re doing so.

      • I rally like how you can represent a Christian in this conversation. often times I feel like its the non-religious pitted against the religious, but you meld the words. And perhaps that’s why your post resonated with me so much.

      • It’s such a hard line to walk between the religious and not. It’s a very thought provoking suggestion- simply praying for others without advertising it. I suppose one could ask “is it alright if I pray for you?” this is our world, isn’t it? hearing many things that make others feel better but don’t necessarily make us feel better. I can tolerate when people say they’re praying for me (I personally liken it to keeping me in their thoughts), but there are many many other religious platitudes I have no patience for.

      • babylossmama,
        Thanks for your comment in response to my post and for your blog that is linked above. I truly wasn’t trying to make this about me, although I can see how it seems that way. I do hope that by reading this blog, and the associated links, that I can know better and do better. I’m terribly sorry for your loss.

    • thank you for your kind words. I appreciate all the conversation this has brought up. I think, as a non religious person, the statement I have the most trouble with is “being blessed,” which to me implies, I was not- I was cursed. I believe in luck and that’s about it. people say things all the time that have more in depth meaning than they intend, and I think we all have experienced this in the bay loss world, religious or not (“everything happens for a reason” blah). I know I am just so sensitive to words these days. Unlike some others, I don’t mind if people pray for me- if it makes them feel better. I think of it as people saying, “I will keep you in my thoughts.” I recognize some people might be praying for me to find peace, praying for me to find god or praying for my soul and whatever sins I have committed to bring on such tragedy. Some prayers I think are welcome (finding peace), some are less so (praying for my soul).

      • I feel similarly to you about the word “blessed,” but more about being told that this was all part of God’s plan for me. Because that makes my son’s death all about me, and my learning. Wasn’t HIS life just as valuable and important as mine? The implication that his death was somehow for my benefit never sits well with me, because then the underlying implication is that his entire existence was for my sake, when in reality, he had a life and soul of his own. If that makes sense!

    • oh, and I don’t delete comments unless they seem really inflammatory or hurtful! I like ones that spur healthy, polite conversation and challenge us to explain think in-depthly about our views. thank you 🙂

  4. Hi Meghan. I feel similar to britineyBritiney above. I think one of the great failings of the church today is the frequent lack of dialogue about how we deal with grief. I’ve mentioned before that I hate religious platitudes – they’re useless and frequently wrong in my belief system. Don’t even get me started on “blessed”! But for me, prayer is crying out to God, to lament with him, to hope that better days will come, to pray for healing. Not to cause guilt, shame, or a feeling of betrayal from a god who seems to be answering everyone else’s prayers at the expense of my own. A friend of a friend (whom I’ve met a few times) just lost her second daughter {Elsie} a few minutes after birth- from the same medical problem her firstborn {Ellie} had. She’s very religious and has clung tightly to her beliefs despite the multitude of platitudes I’m sure people send her way. I’m just very, very sorry that things like that are said and that they cause so much pain. You have really helped me to learn to use my words carefully and cautiously and I appreciate that so very much.

    • thanks Lauren! I totally appreciate your sentiments on “blessed” as well. It seems to be my hold up. I think prayer as a tool to inspire hope sounds lovely. If I were more religious, I might do that too- I find myself crying out to the “universe” (amazing how we often think there has to be something/someone in control of this crazy world). I often wish I had religion to cling to like your poor friend. I don’t mean to criticize everyone’s words everytime they say something- I’m not that careful myself. I really like how the post resonated with me- I already feel cursed by what happened and those who extol the virtues of being blessed just make me wonder more what I did wrong.

      • Yes. I’ve always felt awkward about using “blessed” because the terminology then leaves two groups: the haves and the have-nots. “I got this super awesome gift, God must love me sooooo much.” The post I’ve linked below is really funny and poignant- it basically sums up to “God’s blessing is his presence.” And I feel like I can live with that. It’s *much* more accommodating. Perhaps people should use “grateful” – and mean it.
        http://www.theveryworstmissionary.com/2014/11/blessed.html
        And I really don’t think you’re being critical all of the time! But I certainly don’t think that it’s a bad thing at all for those of us outside a particular community to learn and think about how terminology might affect someone else. Life is really stinkin’ hard. Listening to other people’s stories and being present are never bad things in this world.

      • Omg. I LOVE the link. Its perfect!absolutely, grateful (or pleased) seens much more on point and less hurtful.

        I too appreciate learning about what seeminly harmless words hurt others. When i joined the babyloss club i became horrified at myself for what i must have said to the beteaved in the past. I wish someone told me how silently painful cereain things are. Hence my desire to educate people when they say such things to me (note: i said desire- i dont always have the courAge in tbe moment, bit im working on it!)0

      • I love Jamie at The Very Worst Missionary, too, and couldn’t agree more with her article. I do hope that reading your blog will help me be more sensitive to people who have experienced loss. I think we can all learn to be more understanding and learn which words are helpful and which can be hurtful. Thank you for this dialogue.

  5. Thank you for remembering Thomas here yesterday. Knowing Thomas is remembered definitely helps coping with him not actually being here to celebrate his 1st birthday with us.

    And yes, the notion that angels are watching over us when tragedy is averted does lend itself to thinking that we must have done something bad to have had our child die. The same goes with karma, right? I know some people in my family and friend network think that way, although would not have the courage to admit it to my face. I think it just makes other people feel better about something awful. It’s also the result of delusional society that thinks death can be avoided. Death is very much a part of being alive.

    • I love Thomas. that simple.

      Angels watching over, karma- totally the same boat. I think I used to be a believer in karma. I kept saying, while pregnant with Mabel, “if I’m good to the universe, it’s got to be good to me, right?” I’m a good person….” but that didn’t work out so much. I supposed you could argue, it depends on what my expectations are- “being good to me” at the time meant my baby would live. but perhaps “being good to me” meant that I avoided a c/s, I lived, that she made her own decisions about when to come. It’s all about perspective. But I guess I thought asking to have a living baby wasn’t too much to ask karma. you’re right, death is unavoidable

      • Thank you for loving Thomas :)!!!! It means so much.

        And yes, when anyone says something about karma, even as unrelated as slipping on ice after saying something “bad”, I cringe now. How could karma really exist when something like this has happened to our beautiful little Mabel and Thomas? I know I never killed a baby or even thought bad thoughts about anybody’s babies and I am sure you the same. I also know people who have done a lot worse than me that have babies without putting any thought into bringing a life into the world. Karma and angel talk is just humans trying to make sense of a world that really doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know where I am going with this, except that I wish Thomas and Mabel were here.

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