If you have said any the phrases below, please do not feel guilty or take offense to what I am about to say. It is extremely difficult to talk to a grieving mother/parent and at times these phrases slip out for lack of other things to say. I hope by reading this you will gain a better understanding of what At least…, Now you can…. Think of it this way…. feels like to those of us grieving the loss of an infant.

I know that people mean well when saying these things. But the truth is, no matter what words follow these phrases, they will NEVER make us feel better. I feel there is a need to explain what I hear (personally) and how I really want to respond to the following.

At least….

“At least you are young and can try again”.

I understand that the person saying this is projecting their hope for my future; hope that one day I will be able to have a living baby for keeps. However, what I hear is, “that child didn’t work out so go ahead, try again”. The death of my son was not me losing a game of darts, where trying again and winning makes me feel better about losing the last round. NOTHING will make this feel better. Hearing this phrase also makes me feel that my son’s life can be replaced with another. Having another baby would not be a replacement, he or she would be the younger sibling to my son.

Now you can….

 “Now you can continue concentrating on your career.” or “Now you can get more financially stable.”

I have had 10 years to concentrate on my career, it was my time to concentrate on my family.

My husband and I both work; we are financially stable.

I thought I loved my career and money, but now that I have experienced loving my son; there is no comparison to that love. I would give up everything I have for my son to here with me.

Both of us were ready to add our son into the mix, we were ready to shell out thousands and thousands of dollars on daycare, diapers, maybe formula whatever was needed to give the best life to our son. If we needed to make lifestyle changes we would have.

I also want to add woman can have children AND a successful career; it does not have to be one or the other. I was excited to have both.

Think of it this way….

“Think of it this way, you can take the time to travel. Plan to go to different places while you can”.

Do vacation places not allow children? Does having a child mean we can’t travel at all?  

We had every intention of traveling as a family of three. We talked about how exciting that was going to be. Stupid me, was even planning to celebrate my 40th and my son’s 6th birthday at Disney World.

Traveling as just a married couple who once had a child is not going to be the same for us, EVER. There will ALWAYS be someone missing in those pictures. We will always wonder how our son’s first flight would have gone, or what faces he would have made sitting in the sand as the waves crashed into his legs. We won’t get to see the amazement in his eyes when he saw Disney for the first time.  We will never laugh with great-grandma in Poland about how much he looks like his daddy; OMG did he already look like his daddy.

In my opinion, traveling anytime soon sounds like triggers waiting to happen.

What Helps

The last thing I want is to be avoided. If you don’t know what to say and want to be here for me I have found the following helps:

  • It’s been a while; hope you are doing ok. Please let me know what you need, I am here for you.
  • You are not alone; I will come over and sit with you, we can binge watch something on Netflix.
  • Nothing I can say will make this better. Do you want to talk about how you are feeling?
  • Everything about this sucks. I know that this is unimaginable. Take all the time you need to grieve.
  • “I have been wanting to tell you this but didn’t want to make you sad. I feel like I got robbed too. I was excited to be the fun best friend aunt. I cry for Tek all the time.”
  • I had a vendor from work just sit on the phone yelling and cursing; I cried he yelled. By the end of the call he had actually gotten me to laugh.
  • It is 100% ok for YOU to show your emotions too. Do not be afraid to cry because you think it will make me sad – I am sad, period. Please feel free to be sad with me. I find that tears are very cleansing.
  • Lastly, just be yourself. Talk about what is going on with you. Talk to me like I am still me, I am in here somewhere.

I am thankful for people who try to make me feel better, but I have to say words don’t often work; what works is your presence, your acknowledgment that I am hurting and that I need you by my side.  I am not looking for magical catch phrases or crafty words; I am looking for support to get me through.

2 thoughts on “I Know People Mean Well”

  1. Mallory, thanks for being so candid and transparent for us. As we know everybody grieves differently so I truly appreciate you being so outspoken about your own personal journey. Your baby boy, Theodore will forever be your first born and never be forgotten. You have precious moments with him to talk about, tell stories and reminisce. You will forever carry his heart in yours. ?

    Since you brought up the topic, I have to admit that I am guilty at times of holding back my grief around you. I am always thinking of you and putting you first before my needs, as any mother would. And at times I find myself being cautious not to say or do things to trigger your emotions and grief. It pains me to see you struggle everyday living with such heavy sadness and I never want to add to your pain. But as you mentioned, you obviously know and can see that is what we are doing around you. And I am now acknowledging your consent to express and vent my own grief and sadness when I feel the need to do so.

    I know we talk openly when we are together, however, as I read your writing I find them brutally honest and I feel they are helping you cope with your emotions and grief tremendously. It’s very obvious that you are able to express your deepest feelings and grief when you are alone in thoughts and journaling…understandably so.

    With unconditional love, Mom ?

  2. One of the best things someone said to me was “I don’t know what to say”. It acknowledge our loss and the huge absence of Asher. There really isn’t anything he could say to make it better. Yes to everything you said!!

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