babyloss stupidity

I’ve been lucky, this first year of being a baby loss mom people said very few stupid things to me. Just one, “everything happens for a reason” (Grrr!) and one, “oh you’ll have more kids” (Aarrgh!). So I can count the amount of stupid on two fingers, until last week, when someone said not one, but TWO things to me that irked:

“When do you think you’re going to heal from this? You’re still so emotional about it.”

First, I was not being overly emotional about it. I wasn’t crying, or sniffling, or spacing, or anything. I mention my daughter, I mention my birthing experience, I mention my loss, when it’s relevant to the conversation. In this case, my high-risk obstetrician happened to be on my unit, and I saw him and told him thank you for his compassion when he treated me. So yeah, totally relevant time to be bringing up my loss and my experience. Also? No one is overly-emotional about the death of their child. We have a right to be as emotional as possible until the day we die. This statement was the equivalent of, “when are you going to get over it?” Answer? NEVER.

“But you didn’t even know her.”

This person obviously doesn’t have children. The connection between mother and child is not something that is dependent upon shared experiences and knowledge of personality, likes, dislikes, etc. She’s right, I didn’t know her, who she would be come, what she would have wanted to do in her life. I hate that I didn’t know her. But I was her mother, I knew her. I knew her better than anyone, and all she knew was me. It would’ve been harder had I carried her to term, it would’ve been much harder for me had she been a 3-week-old, a two-year-old, a twenty-year-old. The more you “know” someone, the more you have to miss about them, possibly, but that doesn’t mean you hurt less. Personally, if I had miscarried at 8 weeks, it would’ve been a loss, but not the loss that it was after feeling her kicks, watching her rub her forehead on an ultrasound, and holding her lifeless body in my arms. I will never know what I missed with her, exactly, but oh I know that I miss something, and someone, wonderful. A whole person who was a part of me and always will be.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

14 thoughts on “babyloss stupidity”

  1. Wow. What a stupid and horrible thing to say. I know you write about your loss on here and that is one way in which you are healing. I do not have experience with this but I can imagine that some people come to a place of peace with the loss though they always hold them in their heart. You are amazingly strong for not punching these idiots.

    1. I tried to put aside my hurt from the comment, and use my response to educate. I hope she remembers that the next time she meets someone who experienced infertility, pregnancy loss, or stillbirth.

    1. I’m not sure if you follow my blog for foster care related stuff only, but most people who have lost someone, anyone, who they cared about would be offended by the question, “when are you going to heal from this?” and pointing out that I only “knew” her in a limited way, what good does that serve? I understand that she was speaking from a position of ignorance, but as a healthcare professional and reasonably intelligent person I would expect her to recognize that loss is whatever someone says it is. A dead child that you held in your arms doesn’t require any length of time for “knowing” them to grieve for them, and the loss of a child, and a future with that child, is something that will always hurt. I didn’t snap her head off, but I think it’s relatively easy to label these questions as offensive and insensitive.

  2. Seriously? “When do you think you’re going to heal from this?”???!!! That maddeningly implies that one has some kind of control over how / when one heals, and worse yet, implies that you’ll just be “over it” someday.

    Does that doctor open conversation with sick patients the same way? How illogical. At best.

    How does one “heal” from the death of a child? Or any loved one, but particularly a child. WTH does that even mean? I guess what they want to know is “When can I expect to not have to hear about this ever again?” Which… obviously you have exemplary self-control skills to maintain your professionalism in these situations.

    1. It only takes an iota of tact and a trace of common sense to know that what you’re saying is offensive and hurtful, even if it comes from a place of ignorance. As a physician in the ICU (where people die frequently) I expect more.

  3. Oh my gawd. I can’t even muster more words. That’s not even an issue of you trying to “understand” where they come from…that’s a lack of social skills or common decency and tact. Wow.

  4. I am so sorry that you had to deal with such insensitivity. To me it seems even worse coming from a medical professional because there should be sensitivity toward all types of pain.

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