Saturday, April 23, 2011

Talking about Jack & Being Thankful.

Thanks again for the response to my last post. I feel good about how I handled that particular interaction, and I'm hoping this might help him know what is and is not appropriate should he face this situation again. Hopefully prevent another BLM from suffering in silence... I think a part of me feels the need to make a point of telling people my story since it seems no one in real life ever talks about baby loss. Not all pregnancies end in live babies, and not all living babies stay that way. It's reality, even though it's one of those awful truths no one wants to hear or even think about.

When I was still pregnant with Jack, I read a lot of blogs where babies were lost during early pregnancy, through still birth, and SIDs.  My only experiences in real life were through my mother who had a still born child 33 years or so ago, midway through her pregnancy... She never even saw or held the baby. Doesn't know whether it was a boy or a girl. Growing up we all knew about the baby that was before us, but they didn't talk much about that baby. Maybe it was just too painful for them, or maybe they put this behind them after successfully having the four of us. Don't know.

I've also had a few friends and family dealing with infertility and some early miscarriages as well, however for the most part I didn't know about these situations until months or years after their baby(ies?) were born. I wish I could have been more helpful, I'm sure I was guilty of saying the wrong things, as sensitive as I tried to be about the situation. I hope that now, moving forward, I will know what to say, though I truly hope I never need to.

When I was pregnant, I would read Faces Of Loss, and would feel so bad for the ladies who told their stories there. But I knew this was a possibility, and I worried about what I would do if I found myself in that situation... I think that's part of the reason I decided to start blogging after Jack, because I knew writing about it would be cathartic for me somehow... One day, when I gather enough courage, I hope to post Jack's story there too.  I remember scouring the interwebs to find out about infant loss, and in particular things such as organ donation and obviously Meningitis. I tried to talk to my husband about this stuff, but his eyes would glaze over. He just couldn't talk about it anymore- we grieve very differently. Instead, I searched for people who I could relate to in one way or another as no one in my real life, through no fault of their own, knew what THIS was like.

And instead of finding the exact thing I was searching for, I found all of you.  

I remember the day I stumbled across Brandy's Faces of Loss post only a few days after losing Jack and literally having an "ah ha" moment (tipping my hat to Oprah for that phrase). I remember nodding my head as I read her words- her words felt like mine, her thoughts? Mine too. Even though the source of our losses were different, I felt like I had just found my twin BLM. I'm sure Brandy is rolling her eyes as she reads this, but it's true. I was so thankful to know I wasn't crazy, that what I was feeling was normal and even expected for having gone through this shit.  I'm so thankful for finding this community of BLMs- a community I didn't even realize existed in this way until I found myself with a non-refundable membership.

Since Jack died, a lot of people in my "real" life have come forward to share their stories of loss and also of hope. People I knew to have children, but never knew had lost children too. Each of these people have taken the cards they had been dealt, thrown them in the air and re-arranged them to formulate a livable life in the best way they knew how.  A life that exists despite a baby in Heaven. A life in which they can laugh, and love, and keep on hoping for a better day. Despite what I had expected, there was no discernible gaping hole, a giant chunk of their very being missing.  Their scars were invisible, yet were revealed while they spoke about their babies. 

So I guess what I'm getting at is sometimes I feel like if I keep talking about Jack's death, maybe baby loss won't be seen as taboo, at least not in my circle. 

Moving forward, if people ask me whether I have kids, or whether this is my first (you know, once I am pregnant again), I'll tell my story. Perhaps not vomiting the whole sad tale on the table, but by utilizing some of the explainations many of you use.  I like the idea of saying, "I have a beautiful little boy, but he didn't make it".  People can ask more questions or they can get all awkward if they want, and that's fine too. I hate that I worry about hurting other people's feelings and worry how they may react. I mean, technically that's THEIR problem, not mine, right?  If my story scares them, or saddens them, or worries them? Well, maybe they need to take the blinders off and and realize that shitty stuff does indeed happen to good people... And if that means they kiss their kiddos an extra time before leaving the house, or that they thank their lucky stars it is not they who is missing a baby, maybe there's purpose to be found in that. 

This experience is nothing to be ashamed of, and it's part of what makes me who I am today, despite my wishes my life had a different path. At the end of the day, if I'm asked about Baby J, I'll answer as openly and honestly if I can.  

I am just like any other mother- I love to tell stories of Jack. It's just too bad there will be no new stories.


sarah said...

It breaks my heart when I realize that our stories of our babies are now finite. We have all the stories of their lives that we will ever have. And it makes me all the more inclined to share them, as often as I can, as much as I can, because it's one way I can keep him alive, even if only in our thoughts and our hearts.

I remember finding this community of blm moms and blogs too, and feeling like someone had finally thrown me a life preserver, after I had been trying to tread water/drown for those first few days (weeks?).

sending love. xo

little vitu's mom said...

I totally agree with you when you say it is nothing to be ashamed of, and telling our baby's story might make people take off their blinders.

Unfortunately, I came across few extremely insensitive people after my baby died and their comments have hurt me so much and still continues to hurt. I sometimes wonder if it will be worth talking about my baby to such a breed of people who just have a sucking attitude.

But I wish I can stand up for my baby.

Andrea said...

This is a beautiful post! This community is amazing and having been in it almost a year I can say I've 'met' so many incredibly strong and thoughtful women. I wish that none of us had blogs in remembrance of our children, but we are all here sharing our stories, united as the faces of baby loss. <3

Kelly said...

Amen sister to this all! Great post!

lissasue3 said...

Word. <3

Brooke said...

This is really lovely. I had a similar experience learning about people I knew in real life who had lost children--it was so stunning to look at them and realize they had been through this same terrible experience and yet they were no longer visibly broken and lost, that instead they'd rearranged their lives, just as you said, and put the pieces together in a different way. There's no reason we shouldn't talk about the babies who made us the people we are today.

Rachel said...

What a wonderful post. I have been so blessed by your blog recently. You have such a wonderful perspective about your loss and sharing it with others.
Blogging and meeting other BLM has been a huge outlet for me and I really feel like it has helped me in my grieving process. Thank you for sharing.

Molly said...

Ok, I am obessed with this post. And once again, instead of writing an entire book on this comment, I will comment in a post of my own on this tomorrow. All i can say is DITTO and AMEN sister! :) Luv ya!

Monique said...

I just wanted to say I am new to your blog and am so sorry about Jack.

B. Wilson said...

Like I wrote it myself. :)

Not rolling my eyes at you, but wouldn't rule it out in the future. Haha. I don't think you're crazy, but you might be asking the wrong person. Maybe it's just that we're both officially crazy. I think I'd go with that explanation.

We're all in this together. And whether we like it or not, we're bonded without a choice and will always understand this pain together. Now and 50 years from now, we'll always be sad.

Think of you and our little men SO often. I think of all these little babies, actually. The other night I was alone and said each of their names aloud and was astounded by that many (dead) babies. For some reason it's easier to count BLMs, but not as easy to realize that behind each of these moms (and dads) is at least one dead baby. Shocking perspective. That many babies lost their lives. So incredibly unfair.

TanaLee Davis said...

Amen sister!

Becky said...

I love this post. I agree, I will tell people I have a son but that he didn't make it. I am not ashamed of it, I don't like, but he is my son and I love sharing stories about him even if it is the same ones over and over. I have had many friends already tell me through hearing my story that they look at their kids differently, they loved them before but to actually think about losing them and also to be so appreciative of what they have been blessed with. I am glad that I have helped even a few people realize how blessed they truly are to have their kids at home.
Thinking of you and Jack always

Anonymous said...

I have a coworker who I knew had a daughter a bit older then me, who I'd met, and I knew she talked about another daughter, who I had never met. One day she referenced this other daughter and I had my back to her and said "Now where does she live?" to which she replied - "Heaven."

Naturally, my head exploded with a million thoughts and also no thoughts at all. I said "I hear it's nice there." and immediately mentally slapped myself on the head for that stupid reply. My coworker left the room without saying anything else at that time and I was left with my own stupidity.

On behalf of us who have never lost a child, but wish we had the right thing to say...can you ignore the first things that come out of our mouths as a response? It isn't what we really mean to say =)

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