SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Grief Support Sharing/Others' influence

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"Sharing" Our Stories/Thoughts - Along this Path

E-mail Exchange - "Understanding and Coping with Difficult Family or Friends Situations"

The whole of last week
was a bit of a nightmare, I was reliving
everything I went through a year previous.
not one of my family bothered to ask about Nora...
Lisa
Dublin, Ireland





Letters and thoughts...

"How others might have helped..." by Lisa (1/98)

"...encouraged by family and friends and aquaintances to forget her..." by Michelle (2/98)

"When you need comfort the most, family is too shaken to respond in the best manner." by Krista (2/98)

"Feelings..." by Doreen (2/98)

"I want to say...LET ME HURT IF I WANT AND LET ME TELL YOU I LOVE HIM." by Jennifer 11/25/98)

"I KNOW FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEAN WELL, BUT I HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMED AT TIMES BY THEIR INSENSITIVE COMMENTS." by Helen (3/17/99)

"Please Do Not . . ." by Amy (3/30/99)

"....you must let me deal with this hurt. I do not want to cover it up to make you happy." by Fran (4/27/99)

"I felt I had to write again, and share what I am going through now..." by Jennifer (4/27/99)

"No-one who matters to me seems to understand my feelings" by Lorraine (8/18/99)

"IT WAS A BABY TO ME--" by Melissa (11/24/99)

"Difficult First Christmas-New Baby in Family" by Alayna (12/22/99)

"What do you tell your friends to get them to understand YOUR side of the fence where the grass is not so green?" by Mary (12/99 - three entries)
BR>

"...people don't realize that their "words of comfort" often times can be more hurtful that helpful. But, she and I realize that if they haven't been through it, they don't understand." by Maria (12/23/99)

"Looking For A Faithful Friend" by Jen (1 /17/02)

"My husband's brother and his wife just had their baby GIRL and I am really struggling I have so much RAGE and PAIN and GRIEF..." by Jen author of "Looking For A Faithful Friend" above.. (4/5/02)

New baby for sister-in-law bring up "issues" for grieving parents. by Ambuja (8/23/04)





Lisa's Thoughts about Nora's First Anniversary - and How Her Family Might Have Supported Her

Well yesterday, the 19th was Noras anniversary, thank god I actually coped quite well, well better than I thought I would.

I couldn't face coming into work, so I phoned in saying I had severe migraines, but I told me boss when she phoned yesterday evening the truth, and she was very sympathic.

The whole of last week was a bit of a nightmare, I was reliving everything I went through a year previous.

I had planned to go to Nora's grave on Sunday, but bottled out. But guilt overcame me on Sunday night, and I knew I had to go to her grave yesterday.

It was my brothers and nephews birthday on Saturday. I think the hard thing for me was my nephews birthday, CiÓrian (Cir - on) was that he was born the day I first went into hospital with my troubles. It is a bit upsetting when I see him - as I do feel my daughter should be his age.

I was slightly p... off that not one of my family bothered to ask about Nora, or where her grave is. I think it is pig ignorance.

I would love for one of them to phone me and say "Lisa, could we come out to Noras grave with you" nor did they even send flowers to me to put on her grave, not even my mother has mentioned it. They all know exactly the date it happened, as it was marked by CiÓrian's birthday. Well, as the saying goes "little apples grow into big ones".

(Lisa is speaking about getting an angel necklace or pin here...)I just need that little special momento to carry around with me. I was at a market on Sunday, and had no money with me! when I saw these beautiful angels. They are made in pottery and are about 12 inches long and painted gold or white. They all have different expressions. I intend going next week with money, and buying one, to keep on the wall over our bed.

See "Born Too Soon," "The Little Angels" - A Special Plot in Dublin, Ireland in "Our Memorial Service," Midterm Loss/Unknown cause, Mother's Day in Ireland, and First Anniversary for more of Lisa's story.

"How others might have helped..." by Lisa (1/98)

And Chloe arrives!

Lisa
Nora - 19/01/97
Second Trimester Loss
Dublin, Ireland
E-mail
1/17/98

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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I was encouraged by family and friends and aquaintances
to forget her and get on with my life.

Michelle

My precious baby girl was diagnosed with Anencephaly at 18 weeks. Not a single day passes without me wishing she was with us. I miss her deeply and can feel her presence with me always.

I have five beautiful children and Emily was my fourth. I don't care what others think; I love them all very much. At first I wondered what was allowed - was I allowed to include her as part of my family when I spoke of them.

I was encouraged by family and friends and aquaintances to forget her and get on with my life.

After quite some months I decided I will do what I want, there are no rules, and its about time peoples attitudes changed. Our babies are very special.

I have done what I can to help Drs, nurses and anyone I come in contact with to try and look at it from the parent's perspective. We have unconditional love from the before our babies have even been conceived. I love you my precious Em and never will a day pass without thinking of you. All my love Mummy xxx

Visit "Emily's Story" to read about Michelle and Andy's experience.
Michelle
Emily Shenae Graham
28.8.95/18 weeks
Other /Anencephalic Baby
Collie, W.a. Australia
E-mail
2/12//98

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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When you need comfort the most, family is too shaken to respond in the best manner.

My name is Krista, from N.E. Ohio. Eric Leslie was our 4th child, 2nd son.

This been so difficult, as I feel totally on my own dealing with his loss. Family (esp. in-laws have not said ONE WORD of comfort, support, offering to watch children when he died, and there are many unresolved feelings arising from this.) When you need comfort the most, family is too shaken to respond in the best manner.

Our son was born and died the day before our 10th anniversary, came home with empty arms on our anniversary. Received both sympathy and anniversary cards together..Sister (12 months older)had twins just 8 weeks prior, and was mistaken for her several times by others who asked, how are your babies?

We are good people n God's eyes and why this happened to us, just bewilders me. Have a sister-in-law (lives next door) who threatened to kill her unborn@7 mo, he had gestational diabetes. The family poured their attention on her, and the baby is now 5. How come women like her push it, and we lose ours?

I need to release my negative feelings, I know, but the circumstances that unfolded around me make it oh so hard.

I had my story about Eric published in the book, Angelspeake 2 (page150..) I was told about all the families which endure the death of a child, and definitely, the numbers rise each moment. Thanks for listening...Peace, Krista

Please visit Why Grieve? to read the loving poem Krista wrote for Eric.

Krista
Eric Leslie
Stillborn
10/3/96
Wadsworth, Ohio
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Yes thank you, I thank you for your board as a way of expressing all of what I feel deep inside of my heart.

Even though no one else will remember him he will always be the child of my heart, my hope, and all of my dreams. His spirit came for a short time to give my sadden heart hope. Even for that short time I will carry the memory with me always.

Sincerely, Doreen J. and Wendel S.

Visit Healing a Loss after a Miscarriage...Doreen's Diary

Doreen
JAMES HOWARD JOHNSON
2/27/97
Miscarriage
EAST ORANGE , NJ
E-mail
2/28/98

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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"I want to say...LET ME HURT IF I WANT AND LET ME TELL YOU I LOVE HIM..."

My son was stillborn 2/7/98 at 7 1/2 months.

You know how the first 2 months or so usually you are shocked and numb. At least I was, I would do things and wonder "what is wrong with me, my baby is dead and how can I be 'all right'."

Well, my family was great the first month and then on Cameron's due date April 13, 1998, it really came crashing down.

I cried all the time, I was so sensitive and I wanted to hold and cry over my sisters baby, which was born 1 week after Cameron. I did this for...well, I still do this. Her baby, Rachel, is so sweet and loveable and I feel like she is kind of "Cameron's friend" since we were pregnant at the same times.

I am single and now his daddy and I never speak. We are not mad, I just cannot handle seeing him because Cameron was identical to him.

My family has gone on with things, they get upset if I bring Cameron up. They get mad if they see that I am sitting at his grave.. Is that wrong, to sit for 30-40 minutes there? It feels so relieving.

My dad has lectured me several times that the family does not want to always hear about Cameron and I need to get my chin up and realize that everyone has gone on and I need to too. I don't ever talk about him. Why is my dad so hard when mom died Dec. 1996 and he is still talking about her and grieving her?

I love my family, but I am starting to not like them very much. Do you all understand what I mean?

Also, I am such a bad mother now to Cameron, even though he is not here. I felt so motherly and loving while grieving up until a month ago. Now, I almost feel that I hate people.

My sister that had the baby never calls and rolls her eyes when I talk of Cameron.

I hate being this way, but what can I do. I would die if anyone knew these feeling I have. Except for you all, maybe because I don't know you. Does anyone ever feel this way?

Am I a horrible mother? I love my son, but the way I am acting is terrible. I am so irriitable and snap at people and then cry the next minute because I was rude. I am usually a very quiet person and here I am acting like this.

Is my everyone so disinterested like this because I am single. His daddy was the only person I ever really dated. Am I so horrible?

I want to say...LET ME HURT IF I WANT AND LET ME TELL YOU I LOVE HIM.

Well, I hope that none of you think I am horrible because I really don't know whether I am myself.... Thanks for listening. Please e-mail me if anyone out there has NO ONE that will let them grieve...

My mother was wonderful and I could always tell her anything and she was never judgemental. I want to be just like her towards anyone.

* I love you, mom
* I love you, my little sunshine
Jen

For more of Jennifer's story.."Cameron" and "Oh, Mommy"



Jennifer
Cameron Michael Smith
February 7, 1998
Stillborn
Louisville, Ky
11/30/98
E-mail

Parts of Marcia's response to Jennifer:

I am glad that your sister will share her child like this and that you can get comfort from holding baby Rachel.

I feel that your family(and you) are dealing with multiple losses. No, it is not wrong for you to sit at Cameron's grave...it is a very normal thing to do. As long as it provides comfort for you, it is good to do. We have many in our group who do the same.

Your dad probably is very sad and confused. He probably wishes that you were not hurting and asks you to stop hurting because he doesn't have any more energy to give you the care you need.

I know that your energy is low, also, but it may be up to you to learn as much as you can, about grief, so that you can work with yourself to heal.

Anger at those we love who seemingly don't understand is normal. Anger is a normal part of grief. If it feels physical, hit a pillow on a bed or go for a long walk. Then consider using it constructively by reading about grief or journaling. Your loved ones are probably confused and angry, too.

You are not a bad person or mother for feeling the feelings of grief...everything you have shared I have heard over and over in our groups and I have felt many of these feelings myself. You have moved through shock and denial and into the reality of it all. You have been through much loss. It is normal to react. Try to forgive yourself for your feelings...they are normal.

Your reactions are a reaction to all you have been through. Sometimes the most sensitive people grieve the most deeply. Sensitive folks also respond the most to the intensity of grief.

We usually suggest doing things to "take care of yourself". Our page (see Drop Down Box) Coping Ideas...things to "do" might help. You are at a place where releasing feelings and finding activities that will help is important. Sometimes simple things like a bath with bubbles, a funny movie, a long walk, or something you might think of is the answer. Most often something you don't have to think about tied with learning more about grief and your reactions. You are in need of "Tension Release". Tell us you love Cameron...we know you do!!!

You are who you are today. You are trying to change to bring all the things that have happened to you within a safe place in your soul. It is a struggle. It is frightening...because you keep experiencing feelings and reactions that are grief related not those that you have everyday(at least not in this proportion).

Do keep knowing that others have gone through all of this and survived. Many, when the walk is further along, realize that their child has brought them to places they never dreamed.

You have the choice to continue on the path you choose. You can follow in her footsteps,(I am sure she would be pleased). No one gets anywhere without effort. You ARE working on it..keep going...you can do it.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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I'M SO GLAD I FOUND SHARE. MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN AMAZING, BUT I HAVE STILL FELT VERY ALONE AT TIMES. I KNOW FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEAN WELL, BUT I HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMED AT TIMES BY THEIR INSENSITIVE COMMENTS. THANK YOU TO ALL FOR THEIR COMMENTS AND STORIES, I KNOW THEY WILL HELP ME "DOWN THE PATH".

HELEN
CALGARY, AB CANADA
3/16/99

Marcia's Thoughts: Our relationships definitely are influenced by our "walk down grief's path." I hope you have had time to read my workshop on "Other's Influence" and all the information on Father's Grief. I think it helps one to understand a little better where these folks are coming from! Also under Sharing Stories folks have shared these thoughts.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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Note to Marcia: I wrote this poem last night after receiving a letter from a college friend who told me that another friend was "disappointed" that she had not heard from me in a while!

This friend KNOWS that I have lost a baby and yet is only interested in whether or not I am still her friend!?! Good grief! No-BAD grief!

The answers I give in reply to the questions asked in the poem are reactions I want to give (and have given) when people ask such questions.

I am learning that people are basically "grief ignorant" especially when it comes to infant loss. When someone's parent dies, no one says, "You can always have another parent." Why do they say that about babies?!?

Anyway, this poem is an expression of frustration at some friends and family who, though meaning to be helpful and loving, say the most insensitive things and ask the most rhetorical questions sometimes!

Please Do Not . . .

Please do not ask if I am better now -
Know I am not.

Please do not simply ask, "How are you?"
I am grieving. My child is dead.

Please do not ask my husband, "How is your wife?"
Comfort HIM.

Please do not say, "Has it already been three months?"
It feels like three years to me.

Please do not make less of my baby's life by saying, "You'll have more."
She was the one I wanted.

Please do not tell me, "Time will heal."
Time is a four-letter word.

Please do not say, "God knows best."
I am angry with God.

Please do not say, "She is in heaven."
I want her here.

Please do not tell me how great YOUR life is -
I'm living a nightmare.

Please do not tell me about someone else's healthy new baby -
It's like a knife through my flat, empty belly.

Please do not say, "You look as if you were never pregnant!"
I WANT to look pregnant. I want to BE pregnant.

Please do not keep silent and not mention her name -
She was real-do you not think so?

Please do not ask, "What do you need?"
I need my baby.

Please do not say, "If there is anything I can do . . ."
Please, just do it. I can't ask.

Please do not ask me if I am better now -
You know I am not.



Read Amy's story..."Our "Hope" is in Heaven" by Amy (3/17/99)



Amy
Hope Dennington Cady
Cord accident/32 wks.
Roswell, GA
3/30/99
E-mail



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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It has now been 18 months since the loss of my precious baby. This is the first time I'm able to express my anger in this way....

I am so often asked "Why do you continue to torture yourself?".

Just because my daughter is not here does not mean I have to stop thinking about her. What gives anyone the right to determine anyones grief period?

I'm sorry you will never understand me without going through this horrible experience.

Even if you never saw her alive doesn't mean she doesn't exist. I felt this baby move inside me, I heard her heart beat, I saw her in the ultrasound. I know that I had a living-breathing person inside me.

Yes, time will pass and the hurt will seem less and less but my heart will never forget. My love will never fade.

Please understand that you must let me deal with this hurt. I do not want to cover it up to make you happy. Right now what matters is what I think is best for me.

I love you Samantha and I will never forget.




Fran
Samantha Marie Collazo Stillborn
Raritan, NJ
4/27/99
E-mail

Marcia's thoughts...it says so much that folks need to hear! I am glad that you are able to express your anger and your true feelings around this issue. I encourage parents over and over to be their own guide in "how long to grieve" and others really cannot be the judge in this! When we are free to grieve as we can, that is when can address our needs so much better.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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I felt I had to write again, and share what I am going through now...

It has been 3 almost 4 months since Sarah's birth and death. A few weeks ago, my brother, my only sibling, called to say that he and his wife were expecting their first child, that they had known, as did my parents, since Sarah's death.

In fact, the day the learned of her passing, they were calling to share their good news, not expecting to hear our sad.

I, of course, pretended to be delighted at his news and listened to all his big plans for his new family, while at the same time, inside, I was feeling once again, my huge sense of loss that I had thought I was dealing with so well.

A few days later, my mother called to tell me there had been trouble at their ultrasound. I admit, it was hard for me to think of them in this time.

I just wanted my baby..who cared about theirs??? It turned out to be nothing, but I felt the biggest blow to me, probably the worst comment I have heard from someone since Sarah's death, was from my sister-in-law via my mother "I understand how you feel now" WHAT?????

How could she, even BEGIN to understand what I was going through or the pain that my husband and children feel? What would bring a person to make such clueless statement?

I took it very personally, and admit to holding quite a grudge for a few days, not looking forward at all to my first niece or nephews coming birth.

Lately, I have realized that of course someone who has not gone through a misscarriage, or stillbirth or neonatal death can understand, that grief like this is unique, and that people try to relate in anyway that they can, no matter how misguided it may seem.

I am trying now, to deal with what feels like fresh pain over Sarah, maybe because some of the shock has worn off, and I feel stronger. It is hard to think of their baby, who will be just months younger than Sarah should have been, and what a happy time this should have been for us all.

"Sarah's Journey" by Jennifer (3/27/99)

Jennifer
Sarah
1Jan99
Stillborn
Landstuhl, Germany
4/27/99
E-mail

Marcia's thoughts: Our walk is made more difficult by the twists and turns(some are very tight and uncomfortable...). Similar stories are shared in our group...family or friends can't get it at all at times. I agree with you, though, they are trying to understand.

The scare your brother and his wife experienced probably did make what happened to you "more real" - bad things can and DO happen. They came closer than they wanted to. Often, for this very reason, others, while pregnant, shy away from those who have had a loss.

Your responses were(are) normal...we have had them shared in our group. Somehow, we survive others having babies and all the twists, but it takes much work to keep on coping and working through what all this means to us.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject...and your experience. I know others will see themselves in this "picture" and know that they are not alone. Once again, we have reached out and supported one another.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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No-one who matters to me seems to understand my feelings since the loss of my longed for son. All I ask from them is in the words of this song...

Don't ask me to stop crying please just hold me as I do,

Soothe me with your silence and just cradle me to you.

Don't push me for my feeling or expect me to explain,

How can I in 5 minutes share this lifetimes bitter pain.

Everyone wants me to be how I was before all this happened.

Lorraine
Matthew Paul Oliver Leighton-Browne
5/4/98
Second trimester loss
Exeter, England
8/18/99

Marcia's note: I like the words to your son's song...very true and dear. Most of us share these very thoughts.

You have a right to be angry and hurt in response to your son's death. If you can(and you haven't), please visit some of the articles that I have written under "Allowing Grieving to Happen to Heal". Also the articles under "Other Relationships and Grief" may help, too.

This site is for each of us who have had a loss to realize that we are not alone in our grief. We must support one another because sometimes those who are closest to us can't.

I have shared the reasons for this in some of these articles. Our anger is a normal reaction to our loss and to not feeling as though others understand or accept our pain. First we must give ourselves permission to grieve, then, we must learn coping ideas and ways to heal. Our babies would want us to heal..no child wants his parent to suffer.

In our struggle to heal, and it IS a struggle, we begin to make our babies' life mean something special. We can turn our anger and confusion into something special in memory of our baby.

Also, on the page are ideas for remembering our baby. You may have done some of these things...including Matthew in our garden is one idea...his memory will be shared by others.

One years passing since his loss is not a long time even though many will tell you that. Be gentle with yourself as you continue to grieve and begin to heal.

We do have our child for a lifetime...I feel that very strongly. It is our choice how we want to remember this time and our baby.

Thank you for expressing what many others feel and often cannot share...



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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IT WAS A BABY TO ME--


I found out I was going to miscarry after the 2nd attempt to hear the fetal heartbeat, September 20th.

My husband and I were in shock, and told we could elect to have a D&C. As I had no signs of miscarriage, I elected not to, but to wait and see.

Well, On October 1st I began the slow process of miscarriage, and, as the bleeding seemed normal, thought I could handle it and still decided against the D&C, which was approved by my dr. and midwife.

On October 14th, beginning at 11pm the 13th, I began having pain I cannot describe, and ended up having contractions for over 6 hours, passing profuse amounts of blood and tissue. I managed to save some of the tissue, and finally went to the ER around 5am.

The pathology report stated it was a partial molar pregnancy, which meant that an abnormal placenta and fetus had formed due to having too many chromosomes (2 sperm penetrate 1 egg).

We never did find out the gender of our baby. But I had always felt it was a girl.

I went back to work 2 days later. I was saddened by the lack of acknowledgement, and wasn't afraid to confront my co-workers, who I considered my friends, about it.

What I eventually found out was that the one person, my best friend, who I had told to tell the others had told them in her own words "it wasn't really a baby". I had told her about the abnormal development early on, hence confusing the situation and leaving me and my baby's death virtually unacknowledged.

I told people, in one-to-one conversations eventually, that it was a baby to me and my husband for 3 months. I didn't officially miscarry until week 17, which would've been 4 months.

I was so so saddened and depressed for weeks. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about grief for a loved one, something I had never before experienced in my 27 years, including human nature's tendency to avoid the subject of death in general. It would have been our first baby, and we were ecstatic about her.

I hope no one has to experience the lack of acknowledgment that I experienced, but alas, I know it happens all the time.

Some people just don't know what to say or how to react, and therefore say nothing. Some perhaps don't see it as a death of a baby or even consider it a life.

My advice would be to gently educate those around you about how you feel and what it means to miscarry a baby you wanted with all of your heart.

Those who truly care about you will acknowledge your pain and attempt to empathize.

Maybe the next time they have a friend who has a miscarriage, they will know better how to respond. To us, it was a death. Just because we didn't have a funeral, or our baby never cried, doesn't mean it wasn't a baby at all.

She was a baby to us, and we still grieve over our loss--it's only been a month.

For 3 months she gave us lots of joy and anticipated hopes and dreams which we still cherish.

Due to the partial molar pregnancy, I am not to conceive for at least 6 months once my beta hcg levels drop down to at least 5 or under. My hormone levels have gone from 28,000 to 24 in less than a month. Hopefully I'll find out today they are zero, and I'll have a lot more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Melissa
Haley McRae
10/14/99
Miscarriage/partial molar pregnancy
Fond du Lac, WI
11/24/99
E-mail

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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Difficult First Christmas


Dear Marcia ~

I really need help in coping with Christmas. I have tried to hold it together in preparing for it, but I absolutely lost it today. God, my heart is ripping in two, and it hurts to breathe.

I lost her on March 13, 1999,....I've survived for almost a year but my world is crashing on top of me. I miss her so much. I wish I could just tell her how very much I love her. I write her letters all the time and keep them in a book for her. Hopefully some day she will be able to read them with me.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing is because i really need help in knowing how to deal with Christmas and there are two reasons.

Number one this would have been the 1st holiday i could have brought her to, and number two, my nephew and his wife just had their first baby a week ago and will be bringing him to Christmas.

I don't want everyone to feel sorry for me, but no one understands and everyone will be goo gaa ing over their baby. Call me extremely jealous and extremely hurt because that's what I am.

Anyway I was just needing some helpful advice. I hope you have a great Christmas!!!

Alayna
Wichita, ks
12/22/99
E-mail

Marcia's thoughts: Please know that I care very much about how you feel right now and know that your feelings are very normal for this time of year.

Have you visited the page on Holidays - Christmas. Also, visit the page on Friends, Family, Co-Workers - both have stories about dealing with difficult family situations and how to deal with the holidays. The first holiday and anniversary are the hardest. And having a close relative or friend deliver a baby adds a big burden to our hearts.

Please read "Allowing Grief to Happen to Heal" - I discuss ways to survive. Have you considered lighting a candle and leaving a verse in our Memorial Garden in memory of your daughter?

At the holidays, we often need to do some coping kinds of helpful, meaningful activities to help us make it through.

I have a page where mother's have written their babies...under Sharing Stories "Letters to a Special Baby". Perhaps you would want to send me one of yours to add - it may help another grieving parent. I think it is very special and healing when we write to our babies.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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What do you tell your friends to get them to understand YOUR side of the fence where the grass is not so green?


Entry #1 and #2:

I was just wondering if any of you know how to approach in telling friends about your feelings/day-to-day ups and downs, etc. and why you cannot go their children's baptisms or "You gotta come see the baby" syndrome...I have two friends who delivered healthy children this year. Both invited me to the baptisms, I went to neither. They both wanted me to "You gotta come see the baby."

One of these "friends" is no longer talking to me since I got upset and told her she was being rude to me and unfeeling. The other has stopped calling me as well.

I do not want to keep losing friends, but even at five years, I still do not want to see newborns. What do you tell your friends to get them to understand YOUR side of the fence where the grass is not so green? Does anyone have any suggestions? How do you approach this problem and stay friends?

Marcia, you too went many years of watching all your friends go on to have their children. Hard, isn't it? They have no idea how blessed and fortunate they are. Did you lose friends? Or were they more mature than my friends?

I have lost several friends who think I am being rude for not wanting to see their children and asking them not to send me pictures of their children at Xmas, etc.

I guess I wouldn't be such a pain in the wall if I would have been able to go on with my life and try again and hopefully have a healthy outcome, but I can't, and I wish people would be considerate of MY feelings, not the other way around. But, I am tired of losing friends and I just do not know what to do about it.

Entry #3:

I know that it has been five years since my first born died (full term of unknown causes after one week), but since I have not been able to have another, and their are chances that I medically will not be able to, I find that with each passing year, I feel worse and miss having a child to hold in my arms, etc.

Since you yourself had to wait 9 years before you could have your first, what did you tell your friends each time they invited you over to see their newborn and "You just gotta come see the baby-syndrome!"

I can no longer deal with this and feel a lot of anger at my friends for being so insensitive. What can I do and say so that they will not be offended? Or did you simply go see everyone's newborns as your friends one by one all had their first babies? I would really appreciate an answer when you can since my friend who just had a newborn has "scheduled" me to come over on January 8, and I do not know what to do.

Marcia's thoughts: There are many folks who feel just as you do. You are certainly not alone.

At our meetings, we discusss this issue A LOT. It is one of the most common issues we have. Others can not and usually NEVER really understand how we feel about new babies, pregnancies, children, holidays, etc. Yes, many of us lose friends that we had or can't be around those that don't understand or support how we feel. But, most make new friends that do understand...especially if you join the group(either on the site by emailing or at a local group). We ALL understand.

I have had to make an effort through the years to decide what to do. Nothing is easy about all of this. All of us are faced with every friend having children...seemingly VERY EASILY.

If you discuss this with some friends they will make an effort to understand where you are coming from. Knowing that this is a common feeling amongst those of us that have had a loss - especially if we don't go on to have a child (for whatever reason) right away - gives you the added support of being able to say this.

I have several women in the group that are going through what you are going through - or have been through what you are going through. Several have adopted children, several are still trying to decide what to do - I think it would be good for us to come up with a page for this very issue.

I personally dealt with this issue person by person. Yes, I lost several friends and I felt better when I stopped trying to make myself feel good for them. Several of my good friends supported me by letting their children be safe with me. I had to allow that also! For me, that worked.

I have two nephews who would have been the same ages as the children I lost and I am close to them. But, I was not pushed into those relationships.

Several friends that went their own way share with me now - but we had to give our relationships a "time out" back then. Several I see occasionally out and around, but it will never be the same. Many are friends I made in our group and after I had my children.

I try to help folks understand that life changes anyways. We make new friends all through life. Even with children our friends change to reflect the way we raise our children and our children's friends parents! As our interests change our friends change. I work to understand that life is a changing process.

Our loss makes things happen that we don't like, but we do have a choice how we are going to work through this.

I think our baby would want us to not carry our anger and pain into places that continue to make us hurt. If trying to maintain certain relationships - after we have tried to help them understand how we feel - is painful, then I believe "time-outs" are necessary.

Telling a friend who has asked you to come see "our new baby" that you just can't do this because you still wish you had a little one is kinder than putting you both into a bad place. If she loves you she will try to understand. If she can't understand or feels that you need to see things her way, then you need to protect yourself from more pain and gently refuse to go.

My good friend who had the new baby that I love as my own, had me over and we both held Lauren and shared very special moments together. My friend had shared the loss of Seth with me and knew I had had three losses. She left the room while I held her baby - it meant so much to me. I later babysat for her and it allowed me those moments I needed. I wanted to do this and she was the one I could do this with. Not everyone would be as gentle.

Have you given yourself plenty of grieving time for your child - lately? Sometimes, especially at the holidays, we need to do something more in our child's memory.

It can help ease our steps during this time- you also are at a very important anniversary with the fifth year. Many of us suffer more during this year because if our child were living s/he would be five and at that kindergarten/first grade age. Look under Holidays/Anniversaries, Fifth Year and under Stories after the fifth year for more on this. I have had many parents really go through rougher times at the fifth, 13th and any age that for religious reasons or family traditional reasons means much to them.

Also, the grief of dealing with a medical situation and thinking that there is a possibility of no biological child both add to your current situation. We humans often are very hard on ourselves - especially when grieving is happening. You need to be gentle with yourself as you continue to cope with everything.

One thing that helps some folks while they are going through this time is to find something that they are able to do or focus on. I know this is hard because what you want most in life you can't have. It can eat away at you. Since I don't know all you situation, I can't help you here, but most folks find that doing something becomes very important.

I became a religious education director and wrote curriculum and worked on a very old house! While I did that I was looking into my medical situation as well as adoption and foster care. It helped to think through other options so that I realized that I wasn't closing doors - that is scary.

I needed to know that I could do something even though I so desparately wanted a baby. I also needed to get my mind off every friend who was delivering!

You are asking good questions - ones that need to be addressed by all of us. Please be gentle with yourself as you continue to deal with your grief and work at resolution around you situation. I know, from personal experience and from being a support group leader for 15 years that this is hard to work through, but it can be done.

Entry #4:

Shouldn't there be a packet one can purchase to tell you how you should approach telling others who have never had a loss about your feelings and why you are acting the way you are? I would love such a packet if one exists!

It has been five years now since our first child died, and due to medical reasons, we have not been able to have another yet. During these five years, most of all my friends, have gone on to have their first, second, and third children...I get invited to baptisms, etc. and the all popular, "You gotta come see the baby".

I have lost several friends because my anger builds up and I kind of explode in anger saying things like how can you be so insensitive to me, etc. What can I do to get my point across without sounding like a deranged maniac?

Marcia's thoughts: UPDATE 4/7/02: We now have a brochure "Be Truthful In Your Grief for Family and Friends" that I wrote. Also there are several online information pages in this section of the site.

The catch is both of these really refer to the year or so right after a loss. Many of these feelings, we know, we keep for much longer than a year. You have a slightly different situation, but one that folks in our group deal with frequently.

I went through the same thing. Our first living child was born nine years after we had been married. Everyone we knew had had several children by the time we had Joel. I cried many tears. I felt much pain, anger and confusion.

I am glad you wrote your concern. Most everything we do comes from concerns and issues brought up in our groups or by our members. That's why we are here.

Mary
Atlanta, GA
12/99
E-mail

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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...people don't realize that their "words of comfort" often times can be more hurtful that helpful. But, she and I realize that if they haven't been through it, they don't understand.


My two year old son asked me everyday how the baby was doing.

This pregnancy was especially exciting because I had an ovary, along with a large cyst, removed when I was five months pregnant with my first child. And although we'd been told that this wouldn't pose a problem when we tried to conceive again, we couldn't help but wonder if it was true.

Needless to say, we had no problem conceiving. I felt great, no "morning sickness", just a little tired. On September 3, 1999 I had an u/s and was told I was 4.5 weeks pg. and everything looked great.

On September 6, 1999 at 10:30 p.m., I noticed a little spotting when I wiped. I immediately called the Dr. on call and she insensitively told me that I would likely miscarry within the next several hours.

I explained that I wasn't cramping, but she said that didn't matter. I was a wreck. The next morning I called my OB and her nurse told me my body was more than likely just trying to have a period, just take it easy. I did and I didn't spot again.

On Sept. 8, 1999, I felt great and decided to take my son for a ride. Before we left I went to the bathroom and saw that blood had flown out, but still no cramping. I was extremely scared. I called my OB, but she was not in. I was told to go to the ER.

After making a few hysterical calls to arrange childcare and to notify my husband, my mother and I went to the ER. My husband met us there and a while later I went to the restroom. No bleeding! I was hopeful.

My hope quickly diminished when the Dr. came in and checked me! He coldly said that in all probability I was miscarrying.

went to an u/s again. My husband was not allowed in. The tech told me not to ask her questions, because she could lose her job if she gave me any information. Because she saw how scared I was, she told me that she did she a heartbeat, but because of the position the sac, I would probably have to take it easy.

Two hours after the u/s a nurse came in and I asked if he could remove my catheter (I was told it would be removed after the u/s). He yanked it out and I saw blood on the cord. I asked if it was normal and he said, "Uh...are you on your period?" I wanted to scream!

Soon after I stood up I cramped and bled heavily. The Dr. then came in and said that I was miscarrying. I didn't understand how the heart could be seen, and then two hours later be told I was miscarrying the next!!

During this process I had my hcg checked. I was sent home and told to call my OB the next day to get my hgc reading.

The next day I was told my hormone count was high, to go in on Sept. 10 to get another hgc count done. Foolishly enough, I STILL had hope.

It was the longest weekend of my life. That Monday, my OB called and told me that it was definite that I miscarried. My hormone count dropped considerably. We were devastated.

My son is what kept me together. Although we didn't tell him what happened, he never asked again about the baby... almost as if he knew what happened.

Since this happened to us, all my friends and my closest sister-in-law have become pregnant.

My sis-in-law and I planned on being pg. at the same time. We would've been three weeks apart!

When we all get together, I feel as though they are part of some special club that I no longer belong to. I know it sounds silly. I can not express how happy I am for all of them, yet I have found myself worrying about them all as well.

I don't want to put fear in all my pg. friends and family members, nor do I want to break-in on their joy by talking about my loss. I have heard so many insensitive comments since this happened ("At least you can still have children," "It wasn't meant to be," "At least you weren't that far along!"). It has been painful.

Until a few weeks ago, I didn't have anyone to talk to about this.

My next door neighbor called me in middle of the night to tell me his wife was miscarrying and he needed help. By the grace of God, I was able to keep my head on straight and I went over to help them. She was eleven weeks pg. Their Dr. told them to call him in an hour if she kept bleeding.

I was able to tell them how much bleeding was abnormal and what they may expect from that point on. She and I have become each others sounding board. She even told me she was sorry if she ever said an insensitive comment to me when I lost my baby.

She, too, has learned that people don't realize that their "words of comfort" often times can be more hurtful that helpful. But, she and I realize that if they haven't been through it, they don't understand.

I don't ever wish this on anybody. I'd rather others not understand than to have them experience this pain and loss!

We are trying to conceive once again and I am terrified.

As I read on another web site, we have "lost our innocence." Miscarriages are no longer something that happen to someone else. I know it can happen to me, but I must put my faith in the Lord and try again. We are hoping for a blessing.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to put my experience and thoughts in writing.

Maria
Sept. 1999Miscarriage
Tucson, AZ
12/13/99
E-mail

Marcia's thoughts: So, many folks share the very same thoughts of frustration and hurt around other relationships. Yes, others have a difficult time understanding this kind of loss...especially a miscarriage. That is why so many who do suffer miscarriages never give themselves "permission to grieve".

We spend much time educating others to help them understand and appreciate the need to grieve. Our inservices are devoted to this cause. I, too, would never wish any kind of loss on anyone, but I feel as though we as humans with caring and loving hearts can learn to help and understand one another's pain. Also, if this does happen to you, you will be more open to grieving and healing.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts...you might, if you haven't, want to look at what I have written under "Allowing Grieving to Happen to Heal."



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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"Looking For A Faithful Friend"

I have written a number of poems to the people I once considered as friends, hoping to teach them how to help support me in my grief and to give them a glimpse of what it's like to lose a baby.

Looking For A Faithful Friend

Do I dare to trust you?
You opened your home to me.
Do I dare to talk to you?
You said 'Call anytime.'
How do I know you mean it?
How do I know?

There have been so many friends
So many people wanting to be friends
So many offers to listen, to be there
Unfortunately I didn't realize
That these offers had a limited time guarantee

People only wanted to hear about my grief
For a few months, and then it was time
Time to put it away, they said
At least that's what their actions said.

The platitudes started and I became weary
I tried to teach, tried to tell them that I still need to talk
I think it fell upon deaf ears.

I have been hurt so much by these friends
And I already carry such a great pain
That to trust you, to open my heart to you
To me, is just another chance for rejection
And I'm not interested in that.

Maybe you are the true friend
Maybe you really would be faithful
Maybe you would listen and listen and listen
Maybe you would cry with me
And listen and listen and listen
Maybe you would be patient with me
Knowing how much I need to talk
Maybe, maybe.

Can I take the risk of trusting you?
Do you really mean all that you say?
Will you be a faithful friend
Or will you run as soon as it gets too scary for you?

You won't know what to say. You don't have to know what to say.
It's okay. Honest. Just be here for me. Let me call you or better yet call me.
Ask me how I'm doing and be prepared to hear me tell you just how much I miss my baby.
How much I ache for her and of the sleepless nights.

Open your heart to me,
Show me that you really do care
That you really want to be there.
Be honest with me
Tell me you don't know what to say
It's okay, there are no words.

I hope that you are out there somewhere.
My caring, faithful friend.
I hope you realize just how scared I am.
I hope you don't give up on me.
I still need you.
And I hope you need me too.

Written by Jen Mountney on February 19, 2001.

< Jen
Amy Dawn Mountney
February 5, 2000
Stillborn
1/5/02

"Two Years Without Our Daughter" by Jen (2/15/02)

"My Story ~ Amy Dawn Mountney" by Jen (2/15/02)

E-mail

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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"My husband's brother and his wife just had their baby GIRL and I am really struggling I have so much RAGE and PAIN and GRIEF..."

Hi Marcia,
Just wondering if you have any articles or areas on the site about the pain that comes when the nephews and nieces are born. My husband's brother and his wife just had their baby GIRL and I am really struggling I have so much RAGE and PAIN and GRIEF and it has become so overwhelming that I want to die!!

I looked at the site and didn't see anything...although I'm sure I could have missed it. Please let me know if there is an area to discuss this!!!

Right now I just need to know that I am not alone. I know Ben will be angry if he realizes how I feel and will condemn me for not being happy. How can I be happy when my daughter is dead and everyone else's babies live?

Hugs to you, Jen

Jen
Amy Dawn Mountney
February 5, 2000
Stillborn
>4/5/02

"Two Years Without Our Daughter" by Jen (2/15/02)

"My Story ~ Amy Dawn Mountney" by Jen (2/15/02)

E-mail

Marcia's Thoughts: Having a loved one have a baby - especially the same sex as the child we lost - is VERY hard indeed. It highlights our own inability to have what we so desperately want. The secondary losses are many: sense of failure, not able to achieve what others can so easily, revisiting our initial pain over our loss baby, not fulfilling our own role of providing grandchildren, nieces, etc. The list goes on as does our pain.

I seem to have a nephew or niece for every loss I had! It was awfully painful when it was new. I cried buckets. Going to visit was painful because it was a reminder of what I didn't have and seemed to be hard put to have. These same feelings and many of the secondary losses can come from close friends who have babies, too.

I remember that one of my baby's birthdays was to be a few months after my sister-in-laws baby. I remember us thinking that they would grow up together and share many life events. I lost my baby, and she had her son. My brother and his wife got pregnant the month we lost Seth. So nine months later we had a niece. It was hard to take all of this in. It was a whirlwind of emotions for me.

Through the years, after I had my own living children, these nephews and nieces seem sort of special because sometimes I look at them and think of the three I lost. No longer is the pain there (thank goodness). Actually, I have been so caught up in raising our living sons, I don't think about it very much, but the memories pop back when I let them.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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New baby for sister-in-law bring up "issues" for grieving parents

Entry #2 - 8/23/2004:

Dear Marcia,

I'm so sorry to read about the babies you lost. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for your email to me. It helps hearing from someone who actually understands how i feel. All around me, people think they understand but i doubt anyone can unless they experienced it. Its been 8 weeks since the miscarriage and i feel as much pain as the first day sometimes.

Two days ago, my sister-in-law gave birth to a baby girl and I am having a very hard time dealing with my emotions regarding that. I am very happy for her but i cannot help feeling pained and i feel so guilty for feeling pain at someone else's joy. Nobody in my family seems to really understand the full extent of this pain i feel. Although my mother-in-law told me that it is ok if i dont go and see the baby for a while, i always have conflicting emotions about it. Part of me wants to go see the baby so that i can get it out of the way and i dont have to hear/see the pity that people feel for me because i cannot see the baby. Another part of me is so scared of going and seeing the baby because i am sure that it will trigger a complete breakdown. I just dont know what to do.

I will return to your website and email other women who need someone who understands. May God bless you for this wonderful compassionate thing you are doing by running this much needed website. Thank you again, Ambuja

4/43"Elizabeth Vaishnavi: Our baby girl..." by Ambuja (August 21, 2004) Miscarriage

4/67 "New pregnancy and new worries..." by Ambuja (10/13/04)

Ambuja
Elizabeth Vaishnavi West
6-18-2004
Miscarriage
Columbus, OH
August 23, 2004

Marcia's Reply: Thank you for your kind words around my losses. I am here, today, because of them and I am pleased that I can help others in the memory of the three I hold in my heart and in honor of the two that are living.

I hope you read about the grieving process on the website. It will help you to know that your feelings are normal. While 8 weeks seems like a very long time, in the bigger picture, like in life, it is a short time. But, people expect us to get through our grief in a very short time...like 8 weeks. We put pressure on ourselves when we think that we have to "heal" in such a short time. In reality, if we can realize that the grief process takes anywheres from 6 months to a year and sometimes longer, depending upon the circumstances, we can breathe a sigh of relief when we still feel pain after 8 weeks because we know we are normal. We must remember that the grieving process is normal.

Not being able to face your new niece is a normal response to a new baby...even a relative. (This is a topic of many of our grief groups.) I encourage our parents to NOT put themselves in uncomfortable places. If you had had a tragic accident and was in a body cast, no one would expect you to show up to see the new baby. Your grief is invisible to those around you. You feel it very intensely, they wish you to be 'back to normal" (whatever that means) so wish you to do "normal" types of things.

Well, please take care of yourself. Don't feel pressured by the unknowing people around you. As you do care for yourself, you will begin to heal, and they will see you coping. This is your grief and you must handle it in the best way for you.

You will be able, one day, to see the baby. I have nieces and nephews at each of my losses dates, and I love them today. It was hard then and became easier as I healed. I actually think about my three in heaven when I see those here on earth who are about the same age. But, it was not an instant thought or thing that I did. I cried many a tear at each of their births. Yes, I was glad for their parents, but I wanted my children very much.

I am glad you wrote back. I am starting a forum online...maybe you could join us!





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