Friday, June 24, 2011

Top 10 Crappy Things People Say

My BlogHer ad on the right? Underneath it are titles from other blog posts in the BlogHer network. Most are strangers and often unrelated to my personal situation, but I like clicking on them every now and again. They're enticing. One title was Ten Things Not to Say to Baby Loss Parents. Not that I haven't visited some of these isolated topics before, but let's revisit, shall we?

I'm currently nearing 7 months post loss and still plenty of angry and sad about all things related. Sure, I cry less. But my heart, none the better. These comments are said by wonderful and well-meaning people who just don't know what to say to us. So without further adieu, a revisit with commentary. Because commentary is fun.

1. Your child is in a better place. 
So... shouldn't we all just be in that better place, then? I mean, if it's so wonderful, why do we bother living? If that better place is heaven, then why do we even bother having children if bringing them to Earth would be a terrible place to exist? I suppose I understand the suffering part of that whole thought process and how they are no longer suffering in heaven. But really? 

2. At least he wasn't older/younger.
You're right. Because losing my child at 8 days, 4.5 months, 9 months, 2 years, 10 years... make it any harder? I understand that our lives did not have Andrew in them as a daily routine. I never woke up for feedings, juggled putting baby crap in the car while dealing with a crying baby... none of that. But it doesn't mean we hadn't already planned out his entire life of excitement. I could see him playing soccer and us sitting on the sidelines cheering him on. And in many ways, I'd like to argue that losing a child later would be better because at the very least, you got to see your child breathe, smile, accomplish, love, laugh, live. I got none of those things. Who is better? Not at the place to compare, really. All I have are pictures of a dead baby. Never a live one.

3. You're not the same.
Bahahaha. If you'd like old Brandy back, forget it. I'd be able to promise diamonds falling from the sky before I can promise I'd ever return to old Brandy. It's just not humanly possible. Andrew will forever be with me and this sadness will never go away. We don't appreciate being reminded that we are a little crappier now. We know. We know part of us died with those babies. Sucks to be you for having a lame friend? How about it sucks to be US. Get over your selfishness of high expectations for that perfect friend.

4. God needed him/an angel.
This is one of the worst for me. Because I am Christian and have friends who also are, they just go on assuming that I'm okay that Andrew is in heaven. And they think I believe God needed another angel? I might be the anomaly in the baby loss world, but I don't picture my baby with wings. Yes, I read Heaven is for Real and I struggled with it. Sure, I loved the idea of knowing my baby is there and will be there when I die, but I hardly believe Andrew had to carry all the way to full term and then God decided he needed him. Why not sooner? Later? Please. God doesn't need more angels. If He is that powerful, he sure doesn't need my baby to "help" him or anything stupid like that. Stop trying to play God by explaining God's moves. And by the way, that is also implying that God killed my child to take him to heaven. And that is something I will NEVER subscribe to. Because how can I believe and love a God who kills babies? Not God's doing.

5. He's no longer suffering.
Nope, but I will for the rest of my life. And as far as we know, he was never suffering. Sure, at some point his heart stopped beating. I can't imagine that was pleasant, but he was so small and so active. I just don't buy this argument one bit. Considering we have no answers and are treated like an in-utero SIDS case, we have no proof he was ever suffering in the first place.

6. It's time to move on.
Um, see #3. I will never move on. I might move forward and hopefully have more babies, but I will never move past or beyond losing Andrew. That's my child. Dead, yes. But he is and will always be my child and firstborn. If you want me to move on, I'd probably advise you to move on to new friends. I grieve at my own pace and refuse to accept that nonsense from anyone.

7. Are you trying again/planning to have more children?
Again... it sounds like you think I'll be okay as long as I have more kids. Like somehow Andrew will be erased or the 1, 2, 3 more kids will even out the loss factor. Nope, I'll always still be missing one. I also think that unless you're a baby loss parent, you should probably never ask a person that question. It's none of your business. I also love the idea of "planning" to have children as if it's some guarantee. It's not. My attempts at this point have ended in disaster, so my planning is out the window. I also have friends who struggle with infertility for years and are silent grievers of something out of their control. We lost babies and many of them have too-- either that or they mourn the hopes, dreams, and plans they also had placed in starting a family of their own. If a woman is of childbearing age, it's probably best to avoid asking because you have no idea what they might be going through. And if you're the type who get knocked up with "oops babies" or have never even taken a pregnancy test on repeat or OPKs to track your ovulation, you especially have no right to be asking such questions.

With that said, there is something to say between the differences of grieving with hope of a future child (aka while pregnant) and grieving without hope of a future child (aka not pregnant). I'm still dealing with the latter. Sigh.

8. I know what you're going through.
This pain is unique to child loss. There's just about nothing else you can compare it to. I realize everyone has their struggles, but losing a child is so very personal. Something about babies dying that really rocks the core in people. Unless you're one of us, you don't understand. And that's okay that you don't. We don't want you to experience this. But we do wish everyone understood.   

9. My pet died.
I've actually been given this shpeal. I couldn't believe it when I heard it either. And to make matters worse, the person told me they lost their CAT. I friggin' hate cats. I hardly believe that losing an animal is close to losing a child. Especially since I actually formed that child inside of me. That cat... not of your species. Seriously offensive to compare my child to a stupid cat. Don't hate on me animal activist peeps. Just keepin' it real.

10. Everything happens for the reason.
Top used and highly offensive response to losing a child. I. hate. this. one. People... do not try and give me some BS explanation for why my child died. You're not God and you aren't all-knowing. And for the record, I'll repeat that God. did. not. kill. my. child. There's never going to be a good way of explaining to people that my life is not better because Andrew died. It will always be a fraction worse and that sucks. But it's real and true and not for a reason. I wasn't being punished. I didn't deserve this (because I can name so many more people who kept their babies but were rotten individuals...) and I don't want to hear this crap. It makes us feel worse hearing that, like we deserved this fate or something.

Now you're probably wondering... well the what the hell can I say to console this chick?

There's just about one thing you can say that would matter at all...

I'm so sorry. You can also tag on something like I'm praying for peace or I'm thinking of you.

Other than that, please just keep it simple. We do appreciate well wishes and wonderful, heartfelt thoughts. But please don't try to place a simple explanation on the loss of a child. I've said it before and I'll say it again... we do love talking about our babies. You are welcome to ask questions, but never offer explanations. None of us are wise enough to have those answers.

Just a friendly PSA for the day. You can probably tell I'm a little bitter... but also just saw that other post and wanted to write my own commentary after reading hers.

I'll be picking up my friend from the airport in a few hours. Our plans this weekend include: eating, drinking, and laying around in a lazy river. Apparently Chicago weather didn't get the memo on my plans. 65 degrees and rainy is no place for inner tubes and cool beverages. Have a nice weekend, y'all. {talked to my friend Molly on g-chat the other day. Now I'm all Southern and stuff.}


Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Yes to all of this. I'd like to say I hate one more than the other, but I hate them all in different ways at different times. I'd like to also tack on, time will heal (you read my blog, so you know that one is like stabbing me in the heart). Lately a lot of people have been telling me, I wanted to tell you such and such about my kid but I didn't wanna hurt you. Way to make me feel like a freak show. I'm already hurting...talking of your kid is not gonna change that. Ugh.

Anywhos, have yourself a fantastic weekend. Hope the weather cooperates for you!

Keleen said... [Reply to comment]

Can I copy this and hand it out to people...maybe I will include it with next year's Christmas card lol Maybe I just need a t-shirt that reads "yep, still sad".

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

I actually got the "my dog just died" one the other day.

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

First of all, LMAO at you saying y'all, but lots of people, not just Southeners, say it these days!!

Ok, on the angel thing, if we are going to really go there, the Bible says that people do not become angels when they die. God made angels first and then people. People and angels are different, both in heaven but different creations. It SO bugs me! I mean, I call Sloane a little angel sometimes, and Hayes is an "angel baby" in that he's a sweet little baby, but he is NOT an angel. That friggin bugs me! I confess, i do not read my Bible very often, but my mom got me this great book to explain death to kids, and it really helped me bc it is in plain terms. Must blog about it soon. Love the post! Have a super fun weekend!

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for posting this. I can't believe someone tried to compare your loss with that of a cat. UGH! I can't stand the whole "pet parent" thing...
I hope you guys have a good weekend despite the crap weather..maybe mother nature will change her mind and bring out the sun!

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I got alot of 'it just wasn't meant to be's. Hmmm. Super awesome to know.
I also found it comforting to be asked how I'm doing when the people actually want to know how I'm doing rather then hoping for a 'fine'.

Just the 3 of Us said... [Reply to comment]

I am so sorry.

It's sad that people say such silly, inappropriate, and hurtful things.

I hope you enjoy your weekend with our friend.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Y'all, I want to be southern. There, I said it. Also, possibly just have the accent. Canadian accents just aren't cute, eh? :)

BTW, I have a friend who says Jack is God's right hand man. I don't like it. AT ALL.

She also tells me how her sister and her sister's friend are fascinated by my posts and like to discuss like it's a frickin' book club or something. I don't like being a source of entertainment, either.

Ps. I'd slit both my cats throats if it meant I'd get my baby back. Don't ask me who else I would cut, as that list is getting extensive... ha

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

So right on with all of these. I especially hate "it happens for a reason". Like, really? Give me a reason? I bet it's BS. Nice post. Have a nice weekend!

Olaina.PhotosAndArt said... [Reply to comment]

Amen. And I hate cats, too. You made me laugh out loud with that one.

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

thank you for sharing this with everyone! i have gotten alot of craziness said to me over our situation and it sure does bug me!
you writing this has not only helped me but will hopefully help many others not to by any means understand (because we never will unless we live it) but to choose our words wisely and yes, keep it simple!
maybe i should come up with my own of what not to say to a lady whose husband has a traumatic brain injury!!
i hate cats purpose in life!

My New Normal said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for sharing.

I remember shortly after my son died my mom telling me that some ladies at her church were starting a prayer group for me. I was so angry. I thought, well what good is that going to do me now?? Where was this prayer group before he died? Can they bring him back through prayer? If not then tell them not to bother.

Of course I didn't say any of that to her. I just told her to tell them thank you.

KrystalK said... [Reply to comment]

Brandi, thanks for this post I 100% agree with every one of those and the "time heals all wounds" one that another poster added is another that just pisses me off! I hope you have a great weekend!

Sherri said... [Reply to comment]

Coinciding with #10... There was probably something wrong with the baby! In my case, nope there wasn't she was perfectly healthy and happy inside of me, until my body failed us... and even if there had been 'something wrong' (shudder at the awful terminology), this was my child, hence perfectly loved, perfectly wanted, and perfectly accepted.. no matter the situation! I want to respond with... but there's obviously 'something wrong' with you, but you're still here, so there goes that theory!

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

Oh girl, this has all been said to me. I didn't get the one about the cat, but a woman at work was trying to tell me about her mom dying (her mom was 85+) and how she tried to explain her dog about her mom dying. She said she totally understood.

I am not trying to diminish a loss, but when you yourself are 65 years old and your late 80s mom passes away, it's something you expect to happen. You do not expect your child to die. So, in addition to sadness, we have shock, trauma, physical issues, etc...

So don't tell me your mom dying, when she was nearing the end of her life, is anything like my daughter's death. Not the same. Grief nonetheless, but NOT the same.

I hate the God needed an angel thing. God doesn't need anything! Why would He need my daughter to be an angel? And yeah, I agree with Molly. According to scripture, my baby is not an angel. I may slangily refer to her as such, but she is a saint, and that is how I think of her.

Most people just don't get it. Or if they get it, they won't address it. Oh, the trying again thing--yeah, like other kids are going to somehow "fix" this. NOT.

Ok, rant done. I feel your pain. Totally feel your pain.