Friday, February 11, 2011

Dos and Don'ts

Wow, it's been awhile. It has certainly been a rough week. I just haven't even had the energy to write. So many times I have written posts in my head, but then decided maybe I shouldn't write that, or just plain got too exhausted and went to bed instead. But this one has been brewing for quite awhile. So many people have said the stupidest things to me lately, and sometimes I want to reach out and slap them, or punch them through the computer screen. Really?

So, here is a list to help those who can't seem to get it right. And for the select few who have, thank you. I wouldn't be sane without you.

1. Don't tell me how I should or should not be feeling. If I am shutting myself up in the house and crying all day every day, then you can say something. But if I am sad and nonfunctional for a day here and there, let me be. I NEED to be. It's part of this journey. I cannot push my feelings aside and pretend to be happy all the time. Sometimes I am genuinely happy, never thought I'd say that. Sometimes I am miserable and I have to fake being happy - especially at work or in front of Sierra. Sometimes I am miserable and I have nowhere I have to be, so I let myself cry and mope. I am allowed. My baby is dead - enough said.

2. Don't tell me what I should or should not do or whether I should avoid something or not. If I want to avoid the neighbor who had a baby girl two months after Adelyn died because just seeing her through the window makes my heart sink, let me. Don't criticize me for it. Why should I choose to be around things that make me feel uncomfortable, like I want to sink right down into the ground and disappear? If I want to wait to pick Sierra up until after the mom who is having a baby girl in March picks her newborn up (when she returns to work), what's wrong with that? Can't you understand how hard it will be for me to see everyone ooh and ahh over someone else's baby? Yes, they have EVERY right to do it, babies are gifts. But I just can't. Not now.

3. Don't compare my loss to yours. I'm sorry, unless you lost a baby, it doesn't even compare. I truly believe we all have our crosses to bear, but you cannot compare them. Especially when your "cross" happened 20 years ago. Mine is very fresh. Losing a parent is not something I ever want to experience, but losing a child is unnatural.
"A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.
A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.
A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.
But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is!"
- Neugeboren 1976, 154

4. Don't attempt to make me feel better by telling me that I should be grateful for the child I have. I KNOW this, and I AM. Don't tell me that there are people out there who cannot have children, or lost their firstborn. Yes, I completely acknowledge that this would be harder. But it does NOT take away from the pain I feel at losing my baby. Just because I have one child does not make it ok for me to have lost my second born. Losing a child is losing a child, no matter if it was your first, second or tenth.

5. Don't pretend like nothing happened or that everything is ok. Just because I am laughing and smiling does not mean I am "healed." I am still hurting, every second of every day.

6. Don't happily discuss pregnancy or your new baby in front of me if at all possible. You have every right to talk about it, but most days I just don't want to hear about it. There may come a time when I am ready, and I will ask you questions to let you know that I am ready and able to talk about those things.

7. Don't tell me how "excited" you are about your pregnancy or baby! I know you are, you have every right to feel that way. But what you don't realize is that hearing it is a slap in the face. I want to scream at you "So was I!" I'll never be able to be excited about pregnancy again, it will always be an "if" not a "when."

8. Don't tell me to get over it or move on! How can you get over the death of your baby? I don't want to move on, I don't want to forget her. She's part of who I am.

9. Don't think that the fact that my loss has made you more nervous about your pregnancy makes me feel better. While it does comfort me to know that you are not taking it for granted, it also makes me feel quilty that my experience has now also tainted your pregnancy and caused you to worry more.

10. Do ask me how I am doing occasionally. Ask how things are going, how I am feeling, what I have been doing to honor Adelyn. If I don't want to talk, I'll tell you. It's nice to know people still care and want to know.

11. Do think before you speak. Put yourself in my shoes for just a moment. I know it's hard, but what you don't realize is I do it ALL the time. Do you know how many times I have wanted to make a comment? I know people do not mean to say things to hurt me, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't hurt. For example, I have been in conversations where people complained about having 2 kids in diapers - I could only wish I was dealing with that instead of what I am dealing with, but I bite my tongue and say nothing. When people post on Facebook "we are having a healthy baby girl" I want to scream "that's what I thought" - but I don't. No one would want to be around me if I spoke my true thoughts all the time. Talk about a Negative Nancy.

12. Do listen. Even though you don't understand, sometimes I just need someone to listen and validate my feelings. Just say I'm sorry you are feeling that way, or that's hard, something. Don't make me feel guilty about how I am feeling. Trust me, I do that for myself. I don't like feeling jealous or sad about someone else's happy news, but I can't help it.

13. Do tell me if something made you think of Adelyn or our family. It is not going to upset me, I am ALWAYS thinking about her. It makes me happy to know that others still remember her, and I like to hear about what made you think of her.

14. Be patient with me. This is a long road, and there is no set time on getting through it. Everyone travels it at their own pace.


TanaLee Davis said...

Lisa, well said!
Funny part is that I just posted a similar post. Not exact but it has the idea. I appreciate that you can put into words what I only wish I can respectfully say. You are such a wonderful person and I am sorry that people have neglected to think about you when they say something. I certainly hope that I am not guilty of saying the wrong thing...its possible. If I did...I'm over the moon in sorry. Hugs to you-

KrystalK said...

AMEN! (((((HUGS))))

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