Thursday, April 14, 2011

Too Real

Here are some things that have been said to me indirectly or directly over the last few weeks.

Now, don't get me wrong--all of these things were said with great intentions. They meant well and wanted to give their support and words of comfort.  I get that.  I know I have said things (or completely avoided the conversation) that have made people's grief worse.  And, I wish I could have had a list of things that aren't helpful.

They are in no particular order of stupidness.

"At least you weren't 9 months along."   
What makes this even worse, is this was said by our hospital chaplain.  I get what she was saying and logically, it seems like it would be harder to have a stillborn when you are full-term, or even more than 6 months.  It probably is harder (I hope I never find out). Actually, I'm sure it is. But, don't say this to someone who has just lost a child. You are an idiot if you do.

"The baby could have been deformed or delayed, it might be a blessing that she died."  
 Again, the champion chaplain said this. But seriously, I am speechless.  Still.  After almost a month. I almost laugh in horror (and awkwardness) when I think of this lady. 

"It's kinda weird that everyone is so sad when you didn't even meet or know her."
Huh. Interesting.  But, the truth is, I knew her and loved her.
I've known her since October when those 2 lines showed up and I saw her little blobby body on the ultrasound screen and Dave said, "Jackpot."
She was a dream come true.  She was our magic.

"There's another angel in heaven."
That's great.  However, that's not what I had in mind when I spent the last 3 years going to the doctor--to conceive and then have her leave me 6 months later. I want her here. With me.  With her dad. With us.

"I hope you don't name her- it will just make it too real."
When I didn't hear a heartbeat, that's when it was real. 
Having contractions and pushing and having the room completely silent when she was delivered made it real.Holding her peaceful, still body made it real. 
Putting her in a box in the ground made it real.
Putting away the maternity clothes made it real.

A name?  Um, no.

She was and is my daughter, with or without a name.
She wouldn't have existed less if we didn't name her.
She wouldn't have been less of an answer to prayer if we didn't name her.
Our hearts wouldn't have been broken less if we didn't give her a name.
Her loss would have been just as devastating if we had named her or not.

Any way you slice it, she was, and still is real.  Name or not.

I am amazed at how many times nothing has been said.  I get that. I was that person.  I had no idea what to say and didn't want to offend that person or make them mad or sad.
I'll just say this: saying anything (even the things from the list above) is better than not saying anything.

First, avoiding me or my eyes will not bring Maggie back and will not lessen the guilt that I already have about her death (there's still not a day goes by when I think about how I should have kept her alive, how I am most responsible for her death- I am her mom!). I know people don't want to talk about her, they want to keep my mind off "things."  Here's the deal- I already am thinking about her every minute of the day (or close to it).  You bringing her up is not going to make me think about her more or less.

Second, if you bring her up, you are not making me sadder.  You can't make me any sadder than I already am. And, really, do you know of any mothers who don't like talking about their kids? I'm the same way. I just don't the brag book in my purse or the facebook photo album like everyone else.

Even though people have said some things that I could have done without, I'd choose those comments any day over people avoiding anything to do with, well, you know, all that stuff that I went through.


  1. After going thru a particularly difficult situation, I swore I would write a book called "Stupid Things People Say". We could make a million, I'm sure.

  2. Oh Rachel...("said" with tears streaming down my face...)
    Can I first say that I am amazed by you and I love your writing? I HATE the reason for the blog's existence, but your voice, honesty, sincerity, candor, etc. amazes me and I love reading what you have to say--even when it makes the tears come (which is nearly every post I read).
    I'm so sorry for all you're going through and it seems all the more unfair given everything you've gone through the last 3 years. I'm so hoping for you there will be new magic as soon as you are ready.
    Also, I am so so sorry for the guilt you are carrying. I know it won't make it any better or change your feeling, but I have to say it anyway--this wasn't your fault and there is nothing you could have done. I'm certain you were doing everything "right" and were a fantastic mommy to your sweet Maggie while she was physically here, because you continue to be a wonderful mom in sharing about her.
    It's so hard that we, as moms, feel so guilty for things completely outside our control--ways our bodies have failed us when there is nothing that could have been done differently. I've not walked on your road, but have had feelings of immense guilt and feeling like a failure as a mom when my body failed me too (just in a different way). So, in that way, I can relate. It's a terrible place to be in!
    Continual prayers to you!

  3. Hi Rachel, my name is Teresa. My heart breaks for you. Just in case you don't have enough to read, I'd like to suggest the blog I don't know this couple but their journey has inspired me. They had a little boy named Issac in 2008. He lived for 16 minutes. They now have a little girl that is just over a year. There is a section called "Letters to Issac" under his second picture on the right hand side.

    The loss of a child is a loss no matter how it happened. I am praying for you and your family.

  4. Wow. That's quite a list. I can't imagine having to hear those things. I barely even know you now, but I think of you so often and wish I could give you a hug and listen to your story in person. You are an amazing mother. And an amazing writer. Your words so perfectly help others to understand the pain you are going through and the reality of your loss. I grieve for you and your husband and thank you for sharing your story with so many people, even those who hardly know you. Your writing is an amazing gift to us all and to your daughter.

  5. I had an issue with my pregnancy. When I was freaking out and scared my favorite comment was, "Everything happens for a reason." I don't know, but I didn't want to hear that. It didn't make it any less painful and made me mad more than anything!


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