There are many things that are said with the best intentions. After losing a baby, however some of those things just really aren't helpful and can actually be somewhat hurtful. For this post I really just want to concentrate on one thing that is hard for me to hear from people.
If you are interested in knowing more of the "what not to say" and "what to say" to someone after they lose a baby there are many resources out there. You will come across some sites by other BLM (babyloss moms) with sections for friends and family. Click here for a newly published e-book by Cora's mommy (titled "When Your Friend's Baby Dies (Helping Your Friend After Babyloss)). Carly Marie at Project Heal has a link for family/friends and Faces of Loss Faces of Hope has a section for family/friends, just to name a few.
Anyway, back to what originally spurred this post. For me, one of the most common things I hear is "you are so strong" or along the same lines, "you are so brave." Now if you've said something like this to me or someone else that has lost a baby, please do not feel bad. I understand that you have said it with the best intentions behind it. I also think saying the "wrong" thing is better than saying nothing. At least you were trying when you said something like this. Unless you have been through this type of loss you can't understand why those phrases are not helpful and can sometimes be hurtful. I am thankful that you don't know that you shouldn't say that and I don't hold it against you. I just want to explain why I feel this way about those sayings.
Whenever someone tells me I am so strong/brave I often think "What does that even mean?!" I can't fathom how I'm seen as strong/brave. I just want to shout "No I'm not, can't you see I'm dying inside!" and "I don't want to be strong! I don't want to be brave! I don't want to do this!" To me being told I'm strong/brave undermines what I'm feeling at the time, undermines my grief. I'd much rather hear someone validate what I'm feeling by saying how much this sucks, how hard this must be, how unfair it is, etc.
Plus whatever it is that you may perceive as strength, it is not coming from me. If it were up to me I would be in bed all day bawling my eyes out. I would not talk to anyone or leave my house. I would not be in school. I just would not be. But I'm not doing this alone, I'm not doing this just with Mike. God is here. As angry as I have been at Him, He is right by our side. He is with us through this whole thing. It is only because of Him I can continue on.
Another phrase that I have already mentioned in a previous post is, "I don't know how you do it." That one really gets me. Because neither do I. I honestly don't know how I do this. I can't believe I have to wake up each day and do it again day after day after day. I just don't have a choice. As my friend Hannah Rose so perfectly said in a comment to that previous post, "It's not like we've chosen this for ourselves. It's not like we have a choice. And it's true, you don't have the strength and grace to get through something, until the moment you need it, until it actually happens and then God will give you what you need...not a moment too soon or too late."
Today I've been obsessed with the song "I Will Carry You" by Selah. I posted it to my facebook and have listened to it probably 10 times today. I was excited to find out that there is a boy version and Hannah Rose will be sending it to me. She rocks! The lyric that keeps standing out to me is, "People say that I'm brave, but I'm not. Truth is I'm barely hanging on." That's exactly how I feel today.
Marcellus, Momma's barely hanging on today. I just miss you so bad! There are so many things I wanted to do with you, so many memories I wanted to create and capture. I'm so thankful for the memories I do have, but we should be making more together...so many more. I love you sweet boy! My heart may be broken, but it will forever be capable of loving you with everything I have! xoxox