People will tell you that your child is in a better place, that this happened for a reason. They may tell you that God needed another angel. People may even say that it was for the best. These statements can and will probably make you feel awful.
It is more than likely that this person is trying to help you. They may not have been in a situation where a baby or child has died before. This does not make them a bad person, they just simply do not understand what you are going through and in their subconsciousness, they are trying to fix the situation. What they they do not understand is that there is nothing that they can say or do that will make this situation any better. People believe they have to try and make you feel better. What they do not know is that the easiest option for them, will actually be the only one that does help. All they have to do is sit with you and acknowledge that “Yes, this truly is awful. I don’t know what to say but just know I am here for you. And I will always listen.”
This RSA Short is a brilliant film clip to share with your friends and family. It opens peoples eyes to the difference between empathy and sympathy. If you are having a particular hard time with a friend or family member you could share this video.
It has been years since Christian died now, but there is still always somebody who just says the wrong thing. In the very early days it seemed as though it would happen on a daily basis. I remember once at a party somebody asked me if we would try for a boy since we had three girls. I explained to the woman that we had a little boy and that he died the day he was born. The woman was shocked by what I told her and she said she was sorry. She then let out a nervous giggle. Some people just have no idea how to handle these situations. I have come to a stage in my journey now where I do not allow these sorts of comments to upset me. I remind myself to breathe. These are just words from and unknowing person. I find that if I focus on the silly things people say to me about Christian dying then I end up in a deeper hole of grief than I actually need to be. As hard as it is sometimes, I allow the clueless, thoughtless or even just plain cruel comments to roll off my back. I do not let other people’s words to have any power over me. Their words are about them, not my son or I.
If somebody is clearly being insensitive, as in telling you to get over it and it is time to move on, do not be afraid to tell them how what they have said has made you feel. The death of your child is not something you will get over. I honestly believe I will never get over Christian dying, as to me that would mean that I will stop loving him.
A common question you may be asked…
How Many Children Do You Have?
This question will affect me for the rest of my life and it will affect you too. I do not believe there is a wrong or right answer here. Whatever you feel comfortable telling that person is just fine. Do not feel guilty if you feel you can’t mention that you have lost a child. My friend, Angie once wrote that her daughter is not a casual conversation. I love that. My son is not a casual conversation either. He is a precious, human being. I pick and choose who I share him with. A lot of the time I say that I have 4 children. Sometimes I don’t even tell people that Christian died. He is still my son. I gave birth to 4 children and I am proud to say that is how many I have regardless of how many are living here on Earth with me.
Facebook, Twitter and other social networks…..
These places can be wonderful in your healing process. But in saying that there will always be people on your friends list that may upset you with their status updates. Whether it is them whining about their living children or just being plain silly. Try to remember that these places are for people to have fun. While you are mourning the loss of your precious child, life still goes on for others. If possible, try to join some support groups on whatever website out you are using. This way you will be able to find other friends who understand what you are going through and you can use these websites to help you rather than upset you. Another good idea is to hide people from your news feed who tend to upset you with their posts. If people are upsetting you on your friends list, there is nothing wrong with culling your list. You may even want to write to the person to tell them about the place you are in at the moment and that it is of no offense to them.
All in all I am a big lover of Facebook. I have many connections on there and this has been wonderful in my healing process.