On the A Bed For My Heart facebook page we asked our village,
What do you wish the world understood about the reality of being a bereaved parent?
We asked, you bravely shared your truth. Here’s what you had to say:
“The hurt never goes away. It doesn’t get ‘better’. I still want to talk about my little girl. Having another baby makes life better, but it doesn’t make my loss better.” — Maeve’s Mom, Jess
“I wish others knew that after the death of my son I still genuinely feel happy, joyful, hopeful. I still laugh often. I still rejoice when others have a baby they get to keep in their arms. I still care deeply. I still aim to love those around me well. And yet I still grieve profoundly. I still ache when I think about each missed milestone with my son. I still wipe away tears often from my face. I still wish more than words can convey that this was not my story. I still have each of these feelings all mixed within my heart. This is the new me.” — Courtney C.
“That even without a living child, I am still a mother and my husband is still a father. We are learning to parent in a completely different way since our daughter doesn’t live with us, but in Heaven. It’s hard to face a world that doesn’t see any children at my side and call myself a mama because that just looks funny to them.” — Megan C.
“It’s not something one ever “gets over.” Time does not heal. We learn to live life differently because life still goes on but we still ache for that loss deeply, yet some how, some way we figure out how to keep living. It’s been 21 years and nearly 20 years for both of my boys.” — Shannon M.
“That we are not crazy, just broken.” — Tyrone’s Mom
“The pain never ends.” — Audrey’s Mom, Charlotte
“You never “move on,” you never “get over” it. People so often do not associate a pregnancy loss of any gestation as a loss, but as something that happened to you. My child died. I may have never held, smelled, or touched my children, but they are just as much my child as your child is yours.” — Mandy H.
“It is pain they have never known. We do not get over it and we want to hear our child’s name all the time.” — Kelly’s Mom, Anna C.
“I lost my daughter four days ago to stillbirth. I am unsure of how I will ever be the same person again. I can’t imagine being the hopeful optimistic person I was. I feel lost. I have other beautiful children for which I am blessed. They cannot replace the one I’ve lost and wish people would stop saying, “At least you have four beautiful children.” I know they are trying to help and say anything to bring me comfort, but I just want to scream, “No one can replace her in my heart!!” As if my pain should be less because I have other children, as if it doesn’t matter as much.” — Rebecca M.
“I want people to know that child loss is not contagious. Because my son died doesn’t mean your child will also. I think people fall back on “I don’t want to say the wrong thing so I’ll say nothing” too often. Sitting back and saying nothing is a cop out. If you simply say, “I’m thinking about you, I hope you’re ok,” it’s open ended. We simply could say “thank you” or we could answer and talk about how we feel. I think the world should also try and understand that we are still parents– we are still moms and dads even if we have no physical children on earth. And not a day goes by that we aren’t reminded of that.” — Ashlee N.
“That even though they aren’t with me, I see my children in butterflies, and feel their love in the warmth of the sun on my face. I know that even though they’re gone, I’m not alone. I wish others could see my living son cuddle with his sister’s blanket and know that even though they never met, he knows his siblings. I wish too, that others understood that the most important thing in the world is to hear your child’s name. It means that someone else knows they existed and that your child isn’t forgotten.” — Loki C.
“That thinking about, loving and missing the precious children no longer with us is as natural and instinctive to us as breathing, and that if they ever think about or miss them too, to please share that with us– it is lovely to think that their lives mattered to other people too– that they are remembered, cherished and loved by more than just us, their parents.” — Frankie B.
“My wish would be that people understood that I wanted to talk about him. He wasn’t a shameful secret, he was a healthy baby boy whom I gave birth to and love just like any member of the family. I want to talk and celebrate him. Most of the time.” — Kate H.
“That it’s forever– the grief does not go away. We bob and weave at times, but it’s still there.” — Gayle W.
“By extending kindness and compassion to others is how I honor my beautiful angel. So sadly missed!” — Wayne C.
“My life now is destroyed. Since my son was murdered everything fell apart for me. My children either deserted me, blamed me or criticized me for my inability to “get over” my son’s death. After Nick’s death my boyfriend died suddenly, I went bankrupt, and my health deteriorated. I wish the world understood my pain was not my choice. I used to be a happy person and my children and I were very close. I did not choose any of these struggles. And I’m tired of having to justify my feelings. Life has moved on for everyone but me. Even though I’ve been rejected, I love my whole family, and I still love and miss and mourn the loss of my treasured son.” — Gail B.
“That babies aren’t replaceable. The phrases “better luck next time” and “well, you can always have another,” that are meant to comfort, are downright infuriating. I don’t want “a” baby, I want my daughter back. And how do you know if there will be a next time?” — Sarah F.
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photo credit: Erin West