To my sweet friend with a baby on the way....

I didn't realize how quickly our loss would put me into a category where certain situations were just.... awkward. A couple of weeks after we shared with the world that our sweet Francesca Joy was born sleeping, it happened for the first time. It was one of my friend's birthday. I had it written on my calendar, so I went to send her a message on Facebook saying happy birthday, but I realized we were no longer friends. Confused, I went to her wall and searched. We were just talking the week everything happened? Did I say something wrong? Did I offend her? But, there it was. Just a few days after we announced our loss, she announced her news that she was expecting. I still sent her a message. I said happy birthday and that I just saw her news and I was so happy for her. I didn't hear back from her and so I began to think that maybe she was feeling a couple of ways:

1. Guilty 
2. Scared 

So, I am writing this blog post in order to help myself and MAYBE other Momma's in the same boat- those expecting and those who have lost- to understand what is helpful and what is not. However, just because this is how I feel does not mean every Mom who has lost will feel this way. Every mom grieves differently and every Mom's way is the right way. 

1. When I find out that my friends are expecting, I experience a short moment of pain, grief, guilt, and sadness. I would be lying if I didn't say it wasn't a knife in the heart when I hear of your amazing news. But, let me be VERY clear. It is not because I am mad at you. It is not because I am jealous of you. It is only because it is a reminder of that moment in time where my whole life changed and I only knew the joy, not the pain. It is only because I will never have exciting news that doesn't also scare the living shit out of me. It is only because I know too much. I love you and I love your baby. I know that God knew them and created them long before my Frankie went to heaven. Each baby is wonderfully made. The moment you tell me your news, you can BE ASSURED that I pray feverishly for you and your family. And I mean it. I have a very dear friend who found out she was expecting shortly after our loss. A couple of days before she posted it on social media, she texted me and asked me if I was having a good day. I told her yes and so she sent me a picture of her kids holding a sonogram picture of her sweet baby on the way (and a rainbow baby from a miscarriage for her!) I hope she knows how helpful this act was. It came from a place of love and I felt it. I also felt the brief moment of pain, but I the excitement, happiness, and joy I felt for her outweighed the pain. By far. 

2. Please don't hold off on telling me because you feel guilty. That is not fair to you or your baby. If nothing else, I hope that I have been transparent with how clearly I know and understand that we are not in control of our lives. If anything, I hope you would trust me sooner with this news. I need to hear about hope. It hurts when I find out expecting friends leave me out of this joy. It feels like I'm not trusted with this news. What you may think is helpful actually sets me back in my own grief. It makes me question: Have I been too transparent? Do they think my grief will go away if they don't tell me? Here's the real truth: my grief will NEVER go away. Whether you tell me or not, I will always miss my baby girl. Your news does not make it worse. With that being said, I do not expect to be told of your news first or before anyone else. If you choose to fill me in earlier than others, I will pray for you. But, if you choose to fill me in at the same time as the rest of the world, I will appreciate you. Just don't leave me behind. It's very lonely there. 

3. There is no shortage of babies. If you are holding off on telling me your special news because you think that maybe there is a chance we will have the same news as you and you are holding out in hope... it doesn't work that way. The part of the journey that I didn't share was that it took us two years to be blessed with the news of Frankie on the way. Two years of negative tests every month. Two years of wondering that maybe being a Mom & Dad wasn't part of our story in the way we had envisioned. The day we found out that we were expecting was the best day of our lives. It should be for you, too. Don't hold out in hope or in fear. Your sweet miracle deserves all of the joy in the world and so do you. 

4. It's okay to invite us to your baby shower. We want to love on your and your sweet child. But, please don't be upset if we don't actually come. Sometimes, loving from afar is the best thing for all of us. 

Lastly, I wrote this as a way to open the communication about the topic of infant loss. People are always asking me ways they can help a friend, telling me how awful they feel because their close friend just lost and now they are expecting, etc.. . My intent is not to make anyone feel bad or that they have done something wrong. We all are just trying to figure this out and for some reason, in our country, this topic has become taboo to speak of out loud. If this can help one Momma by being able to just click "share" instead of having to try and find the words over and over again, then it has done it's job. 

And Momma's in the "loss club". I know you hate it here. I hate it here, too. But, we're here. And we are freaking confused. How did this happen? What did we do wrong? The questioning is endless and there will never be the right answers in this lifetime to help us move through this. But, it's our job to tell our friends how we feel. We can't expect anyone to help us if we can't find the words to help ourselves. If words aren't your thing, find someone else's and share them. If this post helps you with this topic, share it. It's okay. You are not alone. 

Here is the truth and I have yet to find a parent who has lost that says something different: We are constantly thinking about our children who have passed. Nothing you say, nothing you do, none of your news is going to change that. It is so much more helpful when you speak our children's name, acknowledge their existence, and share your own journey's with us. We are just waiting for an opportunity to talk about them. If you bring it up first, we will remember this about you. You will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

Our journey with grief will never end. And to be honest, we don't want it to. It's the price we pay for love. 

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