Last night I attended a support group for women who have lost babies. It was a bittersweet evening but I know some good will come from it. I came to the realization there that this pain will never go away. I heard stories of women who lost babies early, ones who carried to full term only to lose their baby at delivery or soon after, ones who struggle with infertility, and so much more. I could relate to all of them in some way or another.
We lost 2 babies to early miscarriages in 2002 and 2003. We struggled with infertility problems for years. I remember the hopeless feeling of wondering if I would ever get to be a mommy. I remember the joy of finding out we were pregnant, only to have the dream shattered once again. I remember talking with Mark about just how far we were willing to go to try to conceive. I remember the pure joy at getting pregnant with Sophia without any medical intervention. Surely it was God’s plan and things would be perfect.
I still believe it was all God’s plan and things will be perfect. But, they will be a different kind of perfect from what I had envisioned.
Unfortunately, for the time being here on earth there will be pain. A pain and an ache that I am starting to realize knows no limit of time. I have met and heard from women months and years out from the loss of their children with pain as fresh as the day it happened.
We all grieve the same, no matter how long it has been, no matter how far along we were.
It has been comforting to meet women who have been through this type of experience and validate the feelings that I am experiencing. Feelings I never imagined and never fathomed ever feeling. Some are the obvious feelings that come with grief, some sneak up on me because I feel literally exhausted all of the time, some take me by surprise and I never saw them coming, and some just linger on and on, attaching themselves to my heart for the long run. Some are physical like this never-ending headache, the tightness in my chest, the ache in my shoulders, the exhaustion, waking up feeling like an elephant is sitting on me, tripping over my tongue when I talk because my mouth and mind are not in rhythm any more, forgetting the thought I had 2 seconds ago, etc.
What’s interesting is that one of the most common feelings we all seem to share is the need to talk about our babies. To say their names. To relive our experiences. To share what we have learned, what we fear, what we long for.
But on the flip-side, we all feel like no one really wants to hear what we so desperately need to say. Like everyone gets tired of hearing the same story. Like they don’t want to be brought down by our pain and anguish.
I think though in reality people just don’t know what to say or not to say so nothing is said at all. The topic is skirted and danced around, even though everyone knows it’s the only topic on everyone’s mind. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes and I wouldn’t have known what I would say either. I wouldn’t want to upset someone, or make them cry, or make them talk about something they may not want to talk about, or ask questions that they are tired of answering.
So I’d like to just throw all the cards on the table. That’s just how I roll. I’d like to put into words just what I need, want and hope for. If you are a friend or relative that doesn’t know what to say to me, or if you know someone who has experienced a loss like this, I think I am safe in speaking for most other women as well. This doesn’t mean that you have to do every single thing I mention, or that you have to do any of them at all. I do truly realize that many people around me may just not be comfortable going there. That is perfectly ok. But if you do want to go there, here are some ways to do it.
*Call, text or email me to say hi, ask how I’m doing, if I need to talk, or just to say you are thinking of us.
*If you are curious about something that happened with our experience, please ask me. I really do want to talk about it and answer questions. Just know that I may ramble on for a while. I can’t remember who knows what and lose track of what I want to say easily.
*If you don’t know the whole story or only have bits and pieces that have been passed on from other people and would like to know exactly what happened, just ask. You will not offend me. I would rather give you the truth than leave you guessing. Some really amazing things happened throughout this experience, you may find hope in knowing them.
*Understand that we may never know why this happened and we are OK with that. We fully believe that Sophia’s short life had a great deal of purpose here. We continue to see her purpose every day. Please do not try to guess at what happened and what caused her death. I fight the guilt enough already.
*Know that I truly love babies. Mark and I both feel like we want to be around babies and are not angered by seeing them. That doesn’t mean I won’t cry while snuggling them, but they are a promise that life continues to go on. We need to hold onto that promise.
*Do not be afraid to tell me that you are pregnant. Seeing pregnant women does hurt, I can’t lie. But it’s nothing personal. I will still be thrilled for your blessing.
*If you want to see more pictures of her, just ask. I look at them every day. Sometimes it would be nice to have someone else admire her with me.
*Reach out to us on special dates that are going to be difficult. Friday nights, the 6th of the month, our due date(October 13), holidays.
*Be warned, I will likely cry. I can’t even begin to control when that happens right now. It’s not you, it’s just me. Feel free to cry with me.
*If you have been changed from walking through this with us, if you are feeling like you have learned something new because of Sophia’s life, please share! It is so comforting to know that she is changing lives here even though she never even took a breath on this earth.
*Pray for us. We continue to feel so lifted up in prayer and this is a feeling I have never felt before. It is truly amazing.
I’m sure I could sit here and think of more things to add to the list but you get the idea. This is not a taboo topic for us. Talking about it helps us to heal a little more every time. Not a second of the day goes by that Sophia is not on my mind.