Snap out of it.
It’s time you were over it.
It wasn’t a baby anyway.'
You can always have another one.
At least you …. (fill in the gap … weren’t very far along; can get pregnant; didn’t die; have your health; didn’t really want children anyway; have a good job; etc ...)
Grief is something that comes to everyone at some stage. So why is it that we are so terrible at dealing with the grief of our friends and family? Why is it that we don’t talk about grief? That we don’t understand that we need to listen? When we offer platitudes or solutions, we are often trying to help ourselves to feel more comfortable, rather than thinking about what the grieving person needs. So we end up not permitting them to feel the way they feel, trying to get them to cheer up, in effect, denying them their grief.
Sadly, over the years, I have been involved with hundreds of women who have lost babies, and almost invariably their grief is accentuated by the insensitive or simply ignorant behaviour of their friends, families, and colleagues.
I shared those experiences.
- My best friend gave me a book to cheer me up in hospital. It was about a woman who had a miscarriage that destroyed her relationship!
- My mother said that she could relate to my feeling of isolation, because she felt that way when she was in hospital waiting to have her baby and all the other women had already given birth! (ummmm, NOT the same Mum!)
- Another friend, when emailed and told about my losses, emailed back and said “thanks for your email. We’re pregnant and attached is a photo of our scan!”
- A friend tried to tell me that it would be “good for me” to see another friend’s brand new baby.
- My sister-in-law said I should come and visit her, just days after getting out of hospital. And that while I was visiting I could babysit for her, as the Chinese believe that you’ll get pregnant if you hold a baby.
- My mother-in-law asked what was wrong with me that it kept happening.
- My brother-in-law reminded us that his wife had no problems getting pregnant.
- A friend said that I’d never had anything (ie a baby), so I hadn’t lost anything.
- I was asked if I needed psychiatric help, after only a few weeks and whilst still undergoing treatment and surgery, because I wasn’t “over it” yet.
The sad thing is that my experiences were very mild, compared to those of many women. I knew my friends and family cared, and my husband was amazing, our relationship strengthening and deepening through all this. I might have lost a future, but I would go on. And now I can actually laugh about the lack of tact of these people!
Even though my experiences of grief have been related to loss of a baby, I feel better able to deal with others’ grief now as well. I was able to help my mother through the loss of my father. I recognised the feelings, the different stages. It helped me through his dying and death too. I knew that as horrible as things might get, I could and would survive it.
Grief has been part of me, and made me who I am.
So maybe G is also for Gratitude.