Some fellow BLM friends and I used to write very detailed emails about conception and our future children before we were pregnant again with our current babes. We'd include information about ourselves as parents to these babies before they were even conceived. We'd often joke about putting the cart before the horse in already planning for a life that didn't yet exist.
As we near the birth of our second child and still hold to being wildly hopeful about his life standing the test of time and far beyond our years as parents on this Earth, we're experiencing some cart-before-horse scenarios.
For one, I've been receiving lots of unsolicited child rearing advice from a large number of (hopefully well meaning, but not babyloss) people. I'm sure it's just so enticing to want to share with a super pregnant chick all about what you know related to raising kids, but honestly, stop. I am a perfectly capable, intelligent being who even spent years in the professional setting around none other than children. Real, in-the-flesh children. That's not only what I consider putting the cart before the horse (hello, my kid is still gestating), but it's offensive and rude. It tells me that my experience carrying Andrew and spending all of my pregnancies lovingly pouring over safety manuals of the latest baby gear and child-rearing practices and whatnot was in vain. I refuse to believe that my entire time as a mother (started circa March 2010) was in vain and I'd appreciate no one else express that inadvertently either. Lady in the grocery store, people I work with, and people I consider friends, please just think before you open your "helpful" mouths.
Chances are I've heard of all the baby items you want to address in your advice, as I do have a nursery bursting with baby crap. This has been mentioned many times and I even have pictures of the nursery and baby crap on this very blog. I've also likely spent a hell of a lot longer researching than you, as I've had nothing better to do than obsess over baby crap and the prospect of being a parent and using said crap with my own child for over two years straight. I read books and researched as well. I took classes and spent hours and hours on the Internet just to make myself more informed and familiar with what is out there for safety, user-ability and the like. I'm no idiot and I don't take unsolicited advice lightly. I've never really appreciated it, actually. And when I get baby advice, it's just about the worst kind... because it shows evidence that people aren't really attempting to understand my reality as a babyloss mother. In providing advice, it expresses to me that my child either did not have purpose or did not exist. And he did. And I deserve credit. I am a mom and I deserve credit.
Please let me peacefully complete this pregnancy and raise my child as I see fit. Case in point: unless I am conversing with you and include such things as a question mark (implying my interest to learn more about your experiences), I am not asking for them. I bet you're excited to share and it's a natural thing to do-- but not to a babyloss mother. And honestly, even before we lost Andrew, I didn't appreciate the unsolicited approach to sway my opinion. If I write a post on, say, strollers, I have no problem with comments or conversation related to your favorite strollers, etc. But if I am not discussing such things, I don't want the assumption to be made that I'm ignorant on the subject or want to be discussing such things. After all, my son did still die. These things are still triggers for me-- as I think I've made it clear in discussing how hard it has been to "prepare" for Benjamin in the wake of losing Andrew. It's hard. And not the regular kind of hard, either. And just because I'm carrying around this big, fat, loved baby, it doesn't mean I'm not still totally brokenhearted about losing Andrew.
Thanks for allowing the PSA. A bit longer than I expected... but quite necessary as my emotions are through the ceiling. Pregnancy after loss is probably the hardest decision I've ever made. I'm thankful with everything in me, but still so scared and sensitive.
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