As a bereaved mother the toughest question for me to answer is “How many kids do you have?” Not because I don’t love talking about my kids or talking about Anna or how she died. I don’t mind at all and I do love talking about all my children as often as I can. You see the trouble comes when the person who asked me this question is not ready for my response. My usual response is I have 4 children, 3 with me and 1 in heaven. This usually leaves the person who asked white as a ghost and speechless. I use to feel terrible about this awkward moment but I no longer do because I have to live my life with the pain of my daughters death every single day. It only makes this other person uncomfortable till the moment I leave. There have been a few kind sympathetic condolences in between all the awkward silences but they are few and far between.
You see I will always acknowledge Anna even though she is not here on earth with me. She will always be apart of our family. She is still my daughter and still a sister to her brothers and sister. We have 4 children. We are a family of 6. Maybe not when we get seated when we go out to dinner and maybe not when you see us out at the store but in our hearts we are and always will be a family of 6.
I would like to give you a small list of things NOT to say to a family who has lost a baby. By the way, Yes these are things people who mean well have actually said to me but are actually very hurtful.
- “God has a reason” – In my eyes there will never ever be a good enough reason for me to understand why God let my daughter die. That is just how I feel.
- “You are young. You’ll have more children” – No one can or will ever replace Anna. She was her own person and she is our firstborn and will always be apart of our family.
- “My friends mothers son was born with the cord wrapped around him (Insert any reason for the death) but he lived.” I am grateful for that baby who lived but my baby didn’t and it hurts to think of all the could of/would of-s of different scenarios. Trust me they have all ran through my head more than once. My Mothers guilt is hard enough.
- “I lost my dog a few years ago, I understand.” Please there is no comparison to Losing a Baby. This pain, heartache and loss are incomparable to any other kind of death or loss.
- “Well at least she died before she was born” – From the moment you pee on that pregnancy stick you love that baby more than anything. You make plans, have dreams and hope for so many things. You hope to love the baby for a lifetime. We didn’t get to even hear her cry or see her open her eyes.
- Well now you have Z, L & K you should be grateful you have them.” I love all my children more than life itself. There isn’t nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for them. Now that our family is complete I am very grateful I have 3 healthy beautiful children here with me to raise, watch grow and spend my life with. But I am greedy I want all my children here with me. I love, think of and miss Anna every single day. That will never change.
Our society just doesn’t know what to say when a baby dies. It isn’t how things are suppose to go. But it happens so much more than people realize. Some people just stopped talking to us all together. It was like we were contagious. It was really difficult and truly hurtful. Just because you don’t understand. Don’t abandon some one cause their baby dies. Some people feel it is better to say nothing at all. For me when ever someone said nothing it felt as if they never even acknowledge Anna as a person or our daughter. That was devastating cause she mattered to us.
I would also like to make a list of thing you can do to help someone when their baby dies. They need you now more than EVER.
- All you have to say is I’m Sorry. Hug Them!
- Ask them if its OK if you talk about their baby
- Ask them how you can help them during this difficult time.
- Call them, talk to them often.
- Ask Mom & Dad – How they are doing & Ask if they want to talk.
- Make them food.
- Run Errands for them
- Wash dishes, clean. I promise they don’t feel like doing it.
- Visit them. Whenever you can.
Especially don’t forget about them 2 weeks later or a month later or even 4 or 6 months later. Let them know you are there for them and that you care. The first year is definitely the hardest. Think about everything a baby does and how much they change in the first year. Mom & Dad are missing all of it plus an entire lifetime of firsts, teeth, crawling, walking, so many different accomplishments, snuggling, holding, reading books, favorite thing, laughing, crying, good days, bad days and it goes on and on. It is s on their minds constantly every day of every year that goes by. This year for example, Anna would be 16 and wanting to learn to drive a car. I am missing that with her. Last year she would of started high school. Would she of liked school? So many things that happen in everyday life that you miss because your baby dies and didn’t get a chance to experience that precious life with them.
When you lose your Spouse – You are called a Widow
When a child loses a parent – You are called an Orphan
When A Parent loses a Child –
There is no name for that because that is how terrible the loss is.
The Red Headed Housewife