If you are grieving the loss of a baby, know that it’s okay.
It’s okay to be angry. At God. At the world. At whoever. It’s okay to tear up those pregnancy announcements and baby shower invitations and birth announcements that now seem to flood your mailbox. It’s okay to delete them from your inbox. The world might not understand and the whoevers might not understand. But I do. And so does God.
It’s okay to be jealous. To be so jealous that your whole body rages when you see the perfectly formed bump of a pregnant woman. When you see a baby girl, her head adorned with a big pink bow. Or a baby boy who looks most dapper in his miniature bowtie. It’s okay when the unencumbered joy of another sparks the flames of fury within your heart.
It’s okay to cry. To sob. To weep. Even though so many won’t understand your plight. It’s okay to hide in the bathroom, a place that promises the safe release of those built up tears, when you receive the news of someone’s pregnancy or the birth of a baby. It’s okay to cry over the death of your baby while someone else celebrates the life of theirs.
It’s okay to be selfish. With your time. With your heart. Your energy is so limited, non-existent even, and it’s okay if you can’t give it to anyone but yourself.
It’s okay to isolate yourself. To stay in bed. To stay home. To stay off social media. Because any contact with the outside world now puts your heart in great danger. Every time you glance at social media, pregnant women and sweet babies look back at you from behind the screen. Each time you venture out into the world, there are ever-growing numbers of happy pregnant women. Naive pregnant women who can’t imagine how pregnancy could go so terribly wrong. You gaze at the chubby babies resting snuggly in the arms of their mamas and wonder why you didn’t just stay home. Each time you witness one of these scenes, the knife in your heart cuts a little deeper and your wounds stretch a bit wider.
Believe me when I tell you this is all normal. Believe me when I tell you that you are not alone, although I know it feels like you are.
Believe me when I tell you you’re not bad. You just feel bad. Really, really bad. And who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t feel bad, awful really, after their baby died? I can’t think of a soul. It’s just that so many people don’t understand your pain because they’ve never experienced it.
People will remind you that you have plenty to be grateful for. Perhaps it’s a living child. “Especially a living child,” they will say. Or a spouse. Perhaps it’s your health or the simple fact that you are alive. Perhaps it’s the opportunity to “try again,” or access to all of the options that are available these days for building a family. They will tell you that you should be grateful for all of these things and so much more.
It’s true that there is so much to be grateful for. And I have no doubt that you are grateful. It’s just that in these darks moments of your life, grief is so heavy. And your gratitude doesn’t have to outweigh your grief. Not right now. Because right now, your grief is bigger.
Yes, if you are missing a baby, please know that it’s okay to grieve. You might feel alone, uncomfortable, and misunderstood. But believe me when I say it won’t be this bad forever. That gratitude that everyone expects? In time, it will return. And so will joy.
And if you’re not missing a baby, please be gentle to those who are. Don’t demand gratitude from someone who is in the depths of grief. Don’t put a timeline on their return of joy. Please know that their grief is not about you and it’s nothing against you. It’s about the broken bond between mother and child.
And it’s about a love that is expressed through pain because love and pain are all that’s left. Be compassionate. Be kind. And recognize the significant pain that is caused when a baby is gone too soon. It may not be significant for you, but it is always significant for the mama who is missing a piece of her heart.