Gracious in Grief

I am not gracious.

There is an ideal bereaved mother image I have in my mind- she is gracious through her grief. Yes, she is sad and angry, but her feelings are directed in productive ways. Her anger is anger at the world in general, that circumstance would let her baby die. She is not angry at other people for having babies after her, for getting pregnant easily, for being joyful instead of scared in their own pregnancies. She is sad, but her sadness is pretty- the kind that makes people want to wrap their arms around her for comfort, not avoid because they don’t know what to do with such ugly sorrow. She understands how hard it is for others to understand babyloss and so gives them leeway when they do avoid. She is easy to forgive, understanding in others reactions and expressive of her grief in socially acceptable ways. She holds other babies easily, not thinking of how they remind her of her dead daughter. She can be genuinely happy for others in their family announcements, rather than cringing, cursing the world and letting her deep jealousy show. She is able to separate her loss from others gains- she does not see the face of her dead baby in those born around the same time as hers, she is able to return to work, full fledged caring for other women in their joys, while she suffers her sadness at home. She is like that bible verse, recited at weddings “She is patient, she is kind. She does not envy…” She is gracious in her grief.

I am not gracious.

Do you ever wish you could grieve differently?

21 thoughts on “Gracious in Grief

  1. Even though i don’t always like how i grieve, I don’t really have an idea of what i could/should strive for. Not in the form of a cohesive image like the one you present, at least.
    Reading almost daily on how others grieve makes me feel both a little inadequate and inspired. So i guess my image of doing a “good job” in grieving is informed of the babyloss mothers i follow through their blogs or Glow — including you.

    • You say it so well- reading other experiences makes me feel both inadequate and inspired too! It also helps me realize there is so much similarity in some ways and so many different ways to grieve too.

  2. I don’t think that you should strive to be anything but what you are. If you’re angry, be angry. If you’re jealous be jealous. I’m so far from gracious. I judge other mothers constantly and wonder why they got to ‘keep’ their babies. I wonder if they realize how quickly they could lose it all and how precious a gift they have been given. How much less they worry as parents. I often times am very angry about this. Why us? I’m an angry Griever.

    • you and me both. I am often an angry griever. I judge. and I know how normal it is because of reading everyone else’s words. I don’t like thinking of myself as a spiteful person, but I also know it’s all part of the process.

  3. Yes, me too. One day I will be one of those sweet babyloss moms that use their grief experience to draw beautiful butterfly pictures in the sand. One day, just not today.

    • 🙂 Your comment made me chuckle (in the right kind of way). I do love those images in the sand, but in some ways they remind me of instagram- someone putting their best face forward. Instagram takes allows people to put the best snapshot of their day out there in public as a representation of how their whole day is. When in reality there is so much messiness beyond that one photo. THe sand photos are how I want to be- and in some moments represent how I actually am. But there are so many more moments where I’m better represented by a mess in the sand- the aftermath of a hurricane (seaweed, trash, dead fish) instead of a beautifully scrawled name.

    • totally- I think I’m more ok with how I”m grieving now than I was a few months ago, in some ways. Yet it’s funny how no matter where I am in the process I still let myself judge myself in how I”m doing. It’s good to have goals to strive for- though I suppose it’s good to have realistic images too.

  4. I’ve had these thoughts, too. But then, doesn’t grief have to be uncomfortable occasionally? The thought that our loved ones can be taken from us so terribly early is uncomfortable to me. But then, maybe I’m just stubborn and unwilling to be gracious.

  5. Uf, I don’t know of ANY baby loss parent – mother or father, or even grandparent – who can hold babies easily, or who can hear news about pregnancies/births without getting somewhat upset. Even my friends and siblings often feel that way about others’ pregnancies and babies.

    • i know people simply trying to get pregnant without the complicated history of babyloss or infertility can have those feelings. Though I do know some babyloss folks who amaze me in their ability to hold babies and take others’ pregnancy announcements in stride. those people amaze me (and make me feel a little inadequate too), but if I think real hard about it, I’m sure they struggle in other ways and might be amazed by me and how I;m back working int he field for example. grass is always greener?

      • Maybe you have plenty of graciousness, but your work requires so much if it that outside of work you end up without much to spare? Work ends up being a refuge for many people, but in your case it’s not at all. It’s so natural, then, that you would need some refuge outside of work.

      • thank you! you know, I think sometimes people forget how much work it is for a babyloss mom to do what I do. they take it for granted that I see pts, smiling, on time and politely- forgetting that each belly I see, each heartbeat I hear makes me long for mabels. thank you for the recognition!

      • I know that I couldn’t do what you do… Or, at least, it would be difficult enough for me that I don’t want to do it right now. That you’re doing it is really amazing, and takes a tremendous amount of strength – and an even bigger amount of graciousness. ❤

  6. I want to be that mother, too. I try really hard sometimes to be that mother. And then I realiize I am being unfair to myself. Because if I’m that mother, then I’m not getting the help I need. If I’m that mother, then I’m not me. And it’s okay to be me, even when it hurts this bad. It’s okay to be me, even when I’m angry (which is an emotion I’m really not comfortable with). Anger is part of my grief, and I have a right to my grief. Just as you have a right to yours. Because you’re not just any mother. You are Mabel’s mother.

    • yes, It’s something I”m working on- learning to accept the way I grieve. not be so judgey. it’s totally my way of grieving, but it can seem so ugly (to me and to others I”m sure). I feel like the babylost are the few who totally understand and have no expectations!

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  8. Pingback: Mabel’s First Birthday | Expecting the Unexpected

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