I feel like there are two ideas of what grieving parents should be and everything then stems from them.
You’ve got the expectation that people who have lost their children how can they ever smile? how can they laugh again? how can they smile at their children who are dead? Why would you be happy to hold your dead baby and how can you even take a photo of you smiling at them?
Then you have the “get up and move on” idea. That somehow overtime you just get over it. like a magical fucking fairy waves its wand and you no longer feel the heartache and pain of losing your child. “You’ll feel better when you have another baby” “it’s time you looked forward to the future” “everything happens for a reason” “it’s not as bad as if they died when they are 13”.
There seems to be no idea of a middle ground. Where is the balance of being able to live and not live at the same time? Then from these ideas anything that projects negatively on other people it’s your fault. “You should be able to talk openly about grief”, “we are always here to listen” then turns into “I can’t believe you just said that”, “you’re taking their joy away”, “do you realise how much you have hurt people”.
Judgement to do with grieving parents should not exist. This goes from family to people who you have never met. People reading this who have never lost a child should never really have an opinion on your loss because they have no personal experience to back it up. When you talk to people in the baby-loss community some of the photos we share and the conversations we have would make you “normal” people wince. The conversations that Phil and I have if you look in on are not okay but to us they are. For instance the girl who has moved into our old flat (next door) Phil said I should say hi. He was like you should go in and be like “we had sex here, here and here and oh our son died there” and went off laughing. Dark humour is sometimes the only way you can process everything. Take it off a serious note and laugh about how much pain you are in. We can’t always lay in bed crying or walking around the house with heavy feet pulling us down into this swallowing black hole.
When is it okay to have a quiet word and when is it okay to have a go? The answer to both is never. You should never tell a parent who has lost their child/children that they can not feel that or what they feel is wrong. If you don’t agree you can just turn away from what they are doing and focus on your life and if you have living children just hold them a bit tighter knowing there are people out there who have their children in the ground or on a shelf. Because lets face it if you get butt hurt over a mothers comment of how much pain she is in you really need to look at your life. You have no idea what that mum is feeling or actually how close she is to the edge.
I have had my fair share on negativity said to me since Dexy died and especially since I am “publicly” grieving through my blog and social media. But I have a question, does that mean I should be open for people to say vile things to me or tell me what I am feeling is wrong? No. Honestly if I told you some of the things family and people I don’t know have said to me you’d be like what the fuck. I’ve had people write out comments on my blog and screenshot them and then they send them to me, I’m not talking supportive comments I’m talking down right vile comments. Vile comments on how I am jealous of people with alive babies when mine is dead and ashes on my shelf. I’ve been honest from day one how I have felt about people being pregnant and had babies because I done everything by the book, from 12 weeks I never laid on my back, I stayed active, I ate so healthily, I took vitamins everyday and yet my baby died. I really don’t understand how people can’t understand why I feel like that. Me and Phil tried for ages to get pregnant, we had a miscarriage and then it took another 9 months to conceive Dexy. Why wouldn’t I be upset and jealous when all of my babies are dead?
A couple of days ago I had a woman on Instagram comment on Dexy’s six month anniversary post and asked why bereaved parents feel they can smile. I thought this just meant in general but she actually meant how could I smile at my son in the photos I had with him? This riled me right up. I am like any other mother I just don’t come home to my baby every day. I had an amazing pregnancy with Dexy and I kept him alive inside me for 36 weeks and 5 days before he died. I then carried him another four days until I finally gave birth to him. I spent every last breath I had pushing him into this world. I looked at phil like any other mum giving birth for the first time. Scared and excited to meet my son. I just was never going to hear him cry or bring him home. That doesn’t mean I love him any less than if he was a jolly six month old here with me. If anything I probably love him more. I had to cram a lifetime of love I have for him in 3 days. Instead of checking for monsters under the bed, making sure I have a sick bowl in the back of the car when I pick him up at 3am or waiting for the phone call to say he is a dad. I wiped his tiny nose when it bled, I made sure he was wrapped up tight, I told him about the world and what he would have loved when he was older, I told him how he had made me the proudest mum and I had to say goodbye with love flowing from my eyes and love hurting my heart. That’s how come I could smile at him. I was robbed of a lifetime with him but he is so perfect and so loved that I know he fells that and knows that. I smiled at him because I nearly died after I gave birth to him. I look at his dads eyes and I saw fear. Fear of losing me because he already lost his light with his son.
So when you ask me why I smile at him or how I could say I’m jealous and hurt people. Just take a second, pick up your phone and call your children, tuck your children in or just spend an extra 20 seconds looking at them. Frame their wedding photos, Open your handmade mother day cards and see them smiling behind it. Make sure you keep Father Christmas real as long as possible and don’t ever forget how lucky you are.