Monday, August 29, 2011


How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts. -- Dorothy Ferguson

They Say There is a Reason

They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no-one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles,
No-one knows how many times,
We have broken down and cried,
We want to tell you something,
So there won't be any doubt,
You're so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.


Blessed sister, beautiful one
with broken wings.
Your journey is a difficult one
that no mother should have to endure.
Your path is steep, rocky and slippery
and your tender heart is in need of gentle healing.

Breathe deeply and know that you are loved.
You are not alone,
though at times, you will feel like a
desolate island of grief
Close your eyes.
Seek the wisdom of women who have walked this well-worn path before you,
and before,
and before you yourself were born.
These beautiful ones
with eyes like yours
have shared your pain, and
weathered the storms of loss.

You are not alone (breathe in)
You will go on (breathe out)
Your wings will mend (breathe in)
You are loved (breathe out)

~ Mary Burgess

Common Sense

When someone you know loses a baby

~ Do not judge our grief reactions. Each person is an individual and will have his/her own coping skills and life experience that they bring to the loss. Each of us will deal with this grief in our own ways.

~ Grief does not have a time frame, nor does it ever really end. It is important not to have expectations that we will ever be "finished" or "get over" the death of our children.

~ The "stages and phases" of grief that you may be familiar with (denial, anger, bargaining, etc) may not be clear or even seem to apply when a child has died. Grief doesn't go away, but it does change with time. The raw pain and heartache will ease, but the love for this baby will not ever end.

~ Grieving and mourning is about REMEMBERING and finding a place for our baby in our hearts and their lives. It is NOT about forgetting.

~ We are not contagious. Don't be afraid to talk to us.

~ Remember our babies. We haven't forgotten, and we don't want you to forget, either.

~ Ask me how I am doing and understand that sometimes I won't feel like talking about it.

~ We might cry when we talk about our babies. That's because we are sad and miss our babies. Not because you asked.

~ Ask to see the baby's pictures, footprints, handprints, or other mementos. It may make you uncomfortable, but it's important that we get to share these special, treasured items and that we get to "brag" about our babies.

~ Suggestions for what to say:
I don't know what to say.
I’m sorry this has happened.
I'm sad for you.

This is awful.
How are you? (And don't take "Fine" as an answer. And then really listen to the answer.)
I am here. I want to listen.
Tell me how I can help. (Then offer specific suggestions such as doing laundry, preparing meals, caring for other children or pets, running errands, etc.)
Tell me about . . . the delivery, the time with your baby, the funeral, what you miss the most

What NOT to Say

Some of these sentiments may be comforting to YOU or you think you would find them comforting if someone said them to you. But may parents report that these types of sentiments often do not provide comfort at this time.

You’re young, you can have other babies.
Age is irrelevant. We wanted THIS baby. Even if we do go on to have other children, this baby will always be loved and missed. Babies are not replaceable. We must mourn for this baby before we can consider having another.

You need closure.
You need to move on.
You need to put this out of your mind.
Don't dwell on this.

Try not to think about it.
Think of closure as an ending point, and then remember that grief after losing a baby doesn't really ever end. Sometimes people think that the purpose of mourning is to find closure, however, in the case of perinatal loss, there is no real end.

You can have closure after completing a task such as making funeral arrangements or obtaining information about what may have caused the loss, but you don't really get closure of the love you have or the hopes and dreams for this baby.

Some people say that closure comes when you accept that you have experienced a loss and that it signifies the beginning of grief, not the end.

"Closure" implies that there is an ending point. Grief softens and eases but doesn't really end. It evolves as life changes and moves forward. Parents mourn the loss of their baby, then they continue to revisit this loss as their lives unfold and they think about what would have been and what should have been.

Often when parents are seeking "closure," they are disappointed, frustrated, or confused when they find that the grief doesn't end and the pain softens but doesn't completely go away.

We all wish the pain could end, but it is usually more helpful to allow parents to talk about how they feel, to talk about their baby, and to grief freely and without judgment rather than to impose time limits or a plan to seek closure.

God must have needed another angel up in heaven.
You have an angel in heaven.
Your baby is in heaven and feels no pain.
Your baby is in a better place.

Many parents would rather have their babies with them, so even Heaven, a perfect place with no pain and suffering, may not seem comforting at this time. This may be comforting for some parents, but many are struggling with their feelings towards God right now.

This happened for the best.
This happened for a reason.
There is a lesson to be learned.
You will be a better person because of this.
There was probably something wrong with the baby.
It's nature's way of taking care of sick babies.

It's very hard to believe that there is a reason good enough for this to happen. Parents may go on to make meaning of the loss, but most would prefer to have their babies with them rather than "learn a lesson." Well-intended explanations do not ease the pain of the loss. It is hard to apply "reason" to such a tragedy. Knowing that something was wrong does NOT mean that parents love or miss their baby any less.

Better for this to happen now, before you knew the baby.
It's better that this happened early in pregnancy or before you brought the baby home.
It could be worse. You could have been full-term.
It could be worse. It could have happened at home a few weeks later.
It could be worse. You could have died, too.
It could be worse. At least you know you can get pregnant.

Many parents have known and loved their baby from the moment of conception (or even as they imagined having a baby throughout their lives). Hearing the heartbeat, seeing ultrasounds, or feeling the baby moving around creates memories early on in pregnancy. They may have been planning for this baby for years or may have only known about him/her for a short time, but they still love this child.

When you lose a child, you lose your future, your hopes and dreams, your plans. Parental love is NOT dependent on the length of the pregnancy! It's about the attachment and bonding the parents have with this baby.

Don't be sad.
Don't cry.
Keep busy.
Don't think about it.
Calling the baby a "fetus" or "it" rather than by the baby's name.

These comments minimize the loss and making light of this life-altering event. Please remember that a baby has died, hopes and dreams have been shattered, and this type of pain cannot be ignored or easily forgotten. Every baby should be treated with dignity and respect. Each baby is his/her own person. They are not replaceable if they die.

Why didn't you call your doctor sooner?
Maybe your doctor should have found the problem sooner.
My friend's doctor didn't . . .
My doctor did . . .
Couldn't anything be done to prevent this?
Couldn't anything be done to fix this?

Parents usually feel guilty or that they are responsible for the loss even though there was nothing they could have or should have done differently. These comments add to their guilt and can also cause unnecessary mistrust or suspicion of their doctor.

If parents are angry with their doctor or wish to choose another doctor, that is certainly an option. But, not all parents do. And, if parents wish to seek a second opinion or search for another doctor, these sentiments still do not provide support or encouragement.

It is common for parents to feel angry or disappointed with their doctor or the care they received. Sometimes those feelings are temporary. Sometimes they come early on the grief journey, and sometimes they come later. It is still up to the parents to decide if any action is necessary and when/if it should happen.

Dear BB,

We hardly knew one another, but I know this much: I owe you my eternal gratitude. Thank you for being a part of my life, even if it was for such a short amount of time. Those short few days were some of the happiest of my life. You've made me a better person. You've given me something that 28 years and the best advice that money can't by could never achieve: you have put me in touch with my humanity. When you left us, I thought my world was crumbling to dust. But in the ruins stood everyone I love the most, everyone who was more than willing to pick up the pieces and walk this journey with me, even if only for a moment. You've shown me the love that so many have for us, and for that I offer only my humble gratitude.

Whenever I close my eyes I will remember you. You will never be forgotten. Your life is forever marked on our hearts, and I thank you for that blessing, even if it was so fleeting.

I love you. Goodbye.