In our fast-paced world, people try to put time limits on things, even grief. Know that grieving takes time – longer for some people than others. Truly, there is no set amount of time it takes to grieve!
We also live in a fix-it society; people want to fix things, even grief. Know that grieving cannot be “fixed.” It can be worked through, but not repaired to the state we were in before.
In addition, people are uncomfortable, and sometimes even afraid, around death. Therefore, they just don’t know what to say sometimes. And, they think that they have to say something. Much of the time, they just do not understand having never lived through it.
All of the above can lead to what I will call careless comments. The people around you feel that they must say something to you when you lose a baby. Many times these comments, while well-meaning, feel hurtful and heartless and thoughtless.
Here are some of those comments:
Here’s what you want to scream:
“You can always have another one.”
"Yes, but I wanted THIS one.”
“Be thankful you have other children.”
“I am grateful but I want this one too.”
“Well, maybe it’s for the best.”
“Better to lose it now than later.”
“IT?” Hurts no matter when it occurs.”
“It’s not like you knew him.”
“What were the 9 months I carried him?”
“At least she didn’t suffer.”
“How do you know?”
“Get over it. Move on.”
“You get over it. I’ll do this in my time.”
“You should be over it by now.”
“How would you know?”
“At least it happened before he was born.”
“Like any time is a good time!”
“It’s common. It happens to a lot of women.”
“It still hurts!”
“It was just a blob of tissue.”
“Did you feel it move or see the sonogram?” Life begins at conception.
“I know how you feel.”
“NO YOU DON’T!”
“I’m sure it will work out the next time.”
“But I want my baby this time.”
“I knew somebody who had it worse.”
“It’s all bad and it hurts no matter.”
“At least you hadn’t held her yet."
“Yes, but I desperately wanted to.”
“Be glad you did not have to see her.”
“But I wanted to see my baby.”
For those who lost a twin-
“What would you have done with 2?”
“ I had hopes & dreams for two.”
AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE:
“It was God’s will.”
“Even if it is God’s will, it’s not very comforting.”
[Let me elaborate on my response to this last comment. Even though God is all-powerful and in control, the last thing a grieving mother needs to hear right away is this comment. After the loss of a loved one, many people question God’s goodness and love. They don’t understand why this happened to them. This comment just makes them think about God
as a punisher or pain bringer when He is not.]
So, let yourself grieve. You are sure to hear any or all of these comments. Take it in stride as an ignorant person trying to be helpful. There is no shame in telling a person in a nice way that what they said hurt you or was not true. These people do not understand that no matter when you lose a baby, the pain is unbelievable and that no manner of comment can make the pain any less. Finally, it’s important that you forgive them for their comments. It is a part of the healing process.
In the end, there is really only one comment that a person can say to you that feels like they care. And, that is, “I am so sorry. I can’t imagine how badly you must hurt.” Some people take it another step and say, “I’m here for you if you need to talk.” Hopefully, they are there when you need to talk, or this can be hurtful too.
Careless comments minimize the loss of your baby. It’s your job to educate (in a nice way) and forgive and then find the right people to share your pain with… ones who have been through it and do really understand. This can be in the form of a support group or a friend or family member.
Keep a list of careless and hurtful comments. Below each comment make a note of how you might respond the next time you hear them.
[And I promise you will hear them more than once.]
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