It got me thinking about how people have been with me through our losses (we’ve had three, most recently at 20 weeks in January 2019, plus large boy is nearly 8 and small is 4).
The friend who heard that boy3 had been born so early, rushed to buy flowers and turned up on the door step unannounced before I’d been home even 24 hours. She declined to come in without my inviting her and sobbed for me. I comforted and reassured her.
You might say she was dreadfully insensitive. But in that moment I think she helped, I didn’t have to face strange awkwardness. She was purely honest and it was easier for me to comfort her than to have had a proper chat so soon.
A work colleague I know a little but not really well, took my return to work as an opportunity to tell me all the details of her own similar loss 20 years ago. I’m sure she wanted to empathise and show me I wasn’t alone but I kind of tuned out, it was too raw and helped me recognise that. Looking back though, she does help me to see that we can live with this pain.
Probably the most common in acquaintances. “Well at least you’ve got the boys” and a million other grasping a straws comments. Personally I hate “sorry” – what for? Its not your fault. But it shows those acquaintances are considering my feelings and doing their best to be supportive, they care and that is comforting even if their words are awkward.
Well meaning advice
The colleague who told me I must get counselling. Like I couldn’t possibly cope without. I ended up giving him a potted life story of my sister’s brief life and our two previous losses to try to prove that I don’t need professional help. The strength of my reaction to his perception of my ability to cope made me realise how much support I had around me.
From my boss, awkward! He hugged me too. Sweet and kind but don’t make me cry in the office too please! It was great to see a man be emotional about loss though.
Most of my close friends have been unerringly patient since boy3. They knew we’d had two other pregnancies that didn’t last and we have another friend who had dealt with something worse even. They let me have space, regularly casually checked on me, listened when I had something to say. Sometimes being left alone is what we need too, sometimes a check in and sometimes a deep and meaningful.
I was told this last week “we’re so proud of you and your honesty”. I doubt they know how touched I am by that. How it empowers me to keep going. To know that I’m doing alright.
My mum and dad and himself have given me everything I need. Hugs when I cry, or we cry together. Encouragement to take time. Support to re-enter the world.
After our first loss, trust and reassurance that another baby would come along. Now, confidence that our family is a good size as it is.