I truly hope that none of you ever has to lose a child. It is the most heart wrenching, hollow, sickening feeling that someone will ever have to deal with. You get all excited at the prospect of having a beautiful baby only to go through the loss knowing you will never get to hold that child in your arms. For women like me who can’t have children, it’s the most disappointing, empty feeling. There’s a feeling that you aren’t worthy of having a child. When you see other families with their young children, who are scolding them, or laughing with them, or soothing them, there’s a part of you that is jealous, angry, touched, sentimental and just a little bit envious of their ability to have children in their lives. For me it’s been a very emotional journey. One that I know too many women deal with. Infertility is not a fun feeling. It’s a very raw, and enraging emotion. Unless you’ve dealt with it directly, you can’t begin to understand the emptiness inside.
When I was married, I didn’t want children for the longest time. I wanted to enjoy being married and enjoy my husband. We waited to start a family. By the time I was ready, my body couldn’t handle it. I didn’t understand for the longest time why. The doctors at the time didn’t notice that I had uterine fibroids. It was well over a decade that I found out what had caused the loss of my kids. I had fibroids that were large and causing problems with my uterus. The only way to get rid of them was with a hysterectomy. I had a ton of cramping three out of four weeks every month, was constantly in pain, and had little to no energy. I truly thought that I was going to be in pain for the rest of my life. I wanted a child so desperately that I was willing to sacrifice my own pain to try. Over time, I found that my body would never be able to carry. Now, imagine that you are being told that you will never be able to have a biological child. Imagine that the one person that you want to have a child with is exhibiting all kinds of health issues that could also be passed down to a child. I looked into fostering and adoption and thought for a while that it was going to be a possibility only to have those dreams crushed as well. Watching others around me with children was like sticking a knife in me every single day. Eventually, I came to accept that my dreams needed to be re-evaluated. I couldn’t make the dreams I originally thought I wanted happen. Instead I needed to focus on a more positive goal. That goal was not necessarily to have a child but to do other things in my life. One that would outreach to many children.
One of the worst things that you can say to someone who has lost a child is that you understand their pain when you haven’t dealt with it before. That’s like saying to someone who has fought cancer that you know what they’re going through. You don’t. You have no idea what the chemo is doing or has done to their body. You have no idea how much pain that person may or may not struggle with. You have no idea how many times a day they throw up because their system is having a reaction to the medicines and the chemo. The same is true for miscarriages. Every woman deals with it differently. The loss is real. Losing a child is one of the most difficult challenges any woman can face. It doesn’t just affect the woman. It can affect their mate as well. There is a lot of truth in the saying to “think before you speak”, because the truth is that losing a child is not something easily dealt with. I’d rather lose a body part than to have lost my child. At least with the loss of a body part, I could keep moving. I still had ways of living. Losing my child made me lose a part of myself I didn’t want to deal with.
I kept hearing from everyone the sympathies. I honestly didn’t know what to think. I would act like everything was fine but it wasn’t. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cuss people out. I wanted to show others how it felt but at the same time I was happy for those who were having their families. I just didn’t understand why I wasn’t being allowed to have one of my own. Then my marriage was crumbling out from under me and I was like a train wreck. If there is one thing that I can honestly attest to, it’s when you are losing what you perceive to be everything, then nothing seems to matter at that point. All you want to do is cry, to tell people where to go, and to withdraw from everything and everyone.
One of the hardest things about dealing with the loss of a child is the emptiness and loneliness that is constant. It’s doubly hard when society has children all around you and a constant reminder of what should have been and isn’t. Here are some things to not say to someone who has lost a child.
And for the record, it isn’t just those who have lost a child who deal with these emotions. It’s women who have never been able to conceive. That can be just as disheartening as someone who does conceive and loses the child. The worst feeling in the world is to carry a child to term and have the child be stillborn or raise a child and that child dies before you. There are no words to describe the pain that goes alone with that.
Never tell someone who has had a miscarriage how someone you knew suffered a miscarriage and now has a healthy child. Nothing will make someone madder than that. Are you trying to play God? You have no idea or concept what is going on with a person’s body. There is no way that you can know for sure that telling someone that is going to give them hope. If anything, you are probably going to piss them off with insensitivity.
Never ever tell someone that they can get pregnant again. Unless you are a licensed doctor and are that person’s doctor, don’t tell them what their body can do. Yes, a lot of things are mind over matter but with something as delicate as pregnancy, sometimes the body has a lot of issues that you can’t see from the outside. Instead of saying anything, just be there for that person.
Don’t tell someone that everything happens for a reason. Unless you know what those reasons are, zip it. You are going to more than likely make the person who has lost their child think that they did something to cause this. You may not mean to make them feel guilty but I guarantee you that it’s a possibility for this to happen.
Make sure you don’t asked them if they checked for XYZ problems. They are already mad at their body, they don’t understand why this happened. If you try to get them to focus on something being wrong, the blame game starts and that’s not healthy for anyone.
If you think telling someone that they can consider adoption, then you better make sure the adoption is ready to go through. There are no guarantees in this life and adoption is one of the toughest things to make happen. There are millions of kids in the system and the system makes it extremely difficult to get them out of it and into a loving home.
When people used to tell me “At least it happened early”, how insensitive can you be? Really? It shouldn’t have happened at all!!!! That’s like saying at least someone stole your possessions early. It shouldn’t happen period! Get a sensitivity chip!
The timing wasn’t right. You’ll have a baby someday. Are you a freaking psychic? I highly doubt it. Unless you can offer something concrete, hush.
Look, losing a child doesn’t just devastate the person who loses it. The loss affects a lot of people. None of us know what the future brings. What I know is that anyone who is struggling with this issue just needs the support. They don’t need you to say anything. Just be there to listen. Let us vent. Let us cry and let us heal. We aren’t asking you to fix us. We are just trying to figure out how to keep pushing forward.