Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What Do You Wish?

After your babies died, what do you wish people had done - or not done - for you? What was the best thing anyone said to you, and what was the worst?

For me, the best thing anyone said to me was this: "I'm so sorry; I just don't know what to say." It was a huge relief for me and my husband to hear those simple words, and not have to listen to someone struggle to come up with something they felt was appropriate. And, honestly, if they hadn't been through the loss of a baby, they didn't know what to say, and I wanted them to acknowledge that rather than say something stupid.

It also really helped to have people bring us meals; we had no idea how much we would need that, and it was such a relief to be able to sit down to whatever had been given to us, and occasionally get to talk to someone outside of our immediate little world about mundane things, like the price of housing. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes we just needed to talk about anything but Ben.

The other thing I really appreciated was people checking in on the anniversaries - one month, six months, one year, Mother's Day - the hard days. Few did. And those who actually said his name and talked about him. They will all have my love and friendship for the rest of my life.

What about the worst things? Ah, relatives were responsible for most of those. "Use it as a learning and growing experience." Gack. If I hadn't just had a baby I would've hurled the coffee table at that particular person. "It's ok to be angry but try to move on." Yeah. 'Nuff said.

Or those who told me immediately after Ben died, "You'll have another baby." Well, I don't want another baby, I want this one. And then there were the people who said nothing at all, but looked at me with this look in their eyes - a look I can't really describe - of sorrow, sympathy, confusion, fear? I don't know.

All I really wanted was for people to say his name, to remember him. What about you?


Anonymous said...

I have just found your site and it is really my first stillbirth blog I have read. I am randomly picking posts to look at. This one, made me cry. Our 2nd daughter was stillborn. It was also a cord accident at 39 weeks. The part about what was helpful and what was not. Acknowledging our loss, not saying anything other than you were sorry and being willing to listen or cry with me. As you said, meals were a huge help and yes, sometimes talking about the rest of the world was a big help. But the part that really got me crying was that is somebody would listen, speak our daughter's name, they had our friendship forever. I really can identify with that. I so badly don't want her to be forgotten, even now 4 years later. Those who continue to remember her or ask me about her, even just mention her existance, have truly become my favorite people. Okay...wiping away the tears...

Virginia said...

Anonymous, I understand....It's nearly six years for me and I still feel that way - just say his name! He was a person too. Hugs to you.