Starting a blog post about losing a baby is never really an easy thing to do. What is the perfect sentence to start off with? I don’t know. But, I can just talk about what I do know. And what I want people to know about supporting a grieving mother.
I know loss
I know the stabbing, breathtaking, panicking feeling of realizing your baby is gone. I’ve had the racing thoughts. The denial. Hoping to be able to wake yourself up from a terrifying dream. I have held my lifeless child in my hands. I have studied her tiny features. Turning off my phone so no one could reach me, I remember I couldn’t stand one more text message from someone saying they were sorry. I didn’t want to hear anyone’s sympathy.
All I wanted was my baby back
I felt as if something was stolen from me. Ripped out of my arms without my consent and I was left with my empty hands, reaching out needing to grasp something, anything that made sense.
Two pink lines
Lets talk about those two pink lines. Sometimes you pray for them, sometimes they surprise you, and sometimes they are terrifying. I have experienced all three! But nonetheless, when you see them, you become a mom. You see a new life, with a new spirit. Immediately, you imagine every possibility with this new beating heart. It is yours. You created sacred life within you.
Cells are multiplying, blood is flowing, and a tiny heart forms and beats life into an actual human! Your heart beats so fast you can hear it in your ears. Your hand subconciously touches your tummy and a slight smile brushes your mouth because you are going to be a mother. All as you find yourself looking harder to make sure those two pink lines are really there.
Can this be real?
Miracle, seems like an insufficient word for such an astounding series of events. Those two pink lines will change your life forever with just a glance. Is it a boy or a girl? You see yourself holding your newborn, first steps, first day of school, big hugs and tears consoled. It’s all right there, in those pink lines. It is important to understand these emotions as the mother, and as someone supporting a mother, because they are real and they are powerful. And they have got to be remembered if it ends.
When it Ends
Whether its early miscarriage, late term still birth, newborn death, or any kind of infant loss, the pain is just as real. No matter the time of the loss, remember, this mother has already seen the pink lines, experienced everything I have described. Do not discredit the emotions this mother has felt about the life inside her.Each mother will grieve differently. As there is no right way to grieve. She will take as long as she needs to. And, that is okay. Let her hurt, let her cry, let her talk. But do not push.
Each mother will grieve differently. As there is no right way to grieve. She will take as long as she needs to. And, that is okay. Let her hurt, let her cry, let her talk. But do not push. Click To Tweet
What to say
It can be difficult to know what to say to a grieving mother. So much so, that lots of people avoid saying anything at all. But it doesnt have to be that way.
Let’s first address what not to say, shall we? Some things are more hurtful than helpful. Please don’t say “Maybe it’s for the best”, “At least you know you can get pregnant”, “At least you have other children.”, “You can try again.”, “At least it happened early.” How about as a general rule, don’t start a sentence with “At least”. Don’t say “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Because she won’t.
Instead, let’s say, “What can I do today to help?” “I’m so sorry you are going through this.”, “I am right here whenever you need to talk about it”, “It’s okay to cry.” “I am praying for you.”, “You are important to me.”, “Your baby mattered.”
The world sometimes likes to discredit miscarriage because they think it’s not a real loss, or the mom can get over it easier because it wasn’t “a real baby”. This is simply not true.Click To Tweet
Remember the Two Pink Lines paragraph?
Women don’t need to suffer in silence. They don’t need to feel ashamed or silly about the pain that they feel. They need to feel it and they need to talk about it. There are so many support groups bringing awareness to this. Making sure that the world knows that this is a real loss of a real life, with real pain. You do not need to suffer in silence. To those that still carry the sigma, to them we can say “I hope you never have to go through this.”
The all important healing
After my loss, it took me while to want to talk about it. I felt a lot of anger and confusion. There were so many questions. I needed to feel the hurt and grieve in my own way.
It was only after many conversations with God, that I was able to feel the heavy burden lifted from me. Suddenly, I no longer felt like I had to carry this hurt by myself. I found myself needing to talk about it. Needing to talk about her. She existed and deserved my praise. I had a great support system who listened and let me cry. Because of this, I felt her presence strongly around me, and that was very peaceful.
I wanted to do something in remberance of her. So we, as a family bought an orange tree and planted it in our back yard for her. It was a reminder that our family is forever. A reminder that we will see her again. It was a few months later that we saw a butterfly hovering endlessly around the tree. I then realised that, that day would have been her due date. And that sweet butterfly was a reminder that she is with us.
Ever since then, when we see butterflies, we say “Baby sister is here!”
I also felt very strongly that I wanted to write a children’s book to help explain to children what happens when mommy’s baby goes to heaven. My children’s book was written and published in the same year as my loss. It changed my life. I was able to start an Instagram account to share the book and also share women’s stories of loss and hope. (@too.perfect.for.this.earth) The women I have met through this have been inspiring and have helped break the silence. It has been an amazing experience.
Book information here
How to support those suffering through child loss
Say the right things. And love that momma unconditionally. If she is open to it, help her think of ways to honor and remember her baby. There are websites that will make jewelry out of your babies ashes or breastmilk. Websites that make amazing plaques or framed art with your childs name. Perhaps plant a tree and bury something of your babies with it.
Having something positive to hold, or see is very validating and healing. Pray. Pray for peace to be brought to her heart and her family. Serve. Take a meal, watch her other children, clean a bathroom, anything to help take the normal life pressures off of her while she heals and grieves. Send a card or a book to let her know she is in your thoughts
In conclusion, infant loss is a real pain that deserves the respect of understanding it. Reach out and tell your story, you never know who’s day you will brighten, or whose heart you will assist in healing. I’ll end with my favorite quote about this subject that inspired the title of my book.
“The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.”
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Latest posts by Andrea Tao (see all)
- I Know Loss – Supporting Those Suffering From Child Loss - October 16, 2017
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