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23 November 2009

Please . . .

. . . even if you don't normally comment, i'd like some feedback on this.

I learned a couple of weeks ago that a friend's daughter was expecting a baby in May. Of course i was jealous, etc. But wished the family well & congrats, & all.

I knew this daughter a bit when she was a young girl (babysat for her some) but i don't know her as an adult. Duane & i attended her wedding a couple of years ago. I do know that she very much has her father's pragmatic, down-to-earth, practical way of looking at the world. Her mother is one of my dear friends.

A little earlier today i learned that she had lost the baby (it had evidently died about 10? weeks, but they didn't find that for another couple of weeks. They learned this about 10 days ago. And of course, that immediately resonates with me & i have some understanding of the pain.

And, i remember one particular note that i got after we lost our baby (i only got a handful of acknowledgments of our loss) & how i was so touched that this particular family would take the time to write us. And it was my desire to write her something.

So i emailed my friend & mentioned this, but i don't have Daughter's address. The response i received (i believe from Dad - my friend & her hubby have same email address, it was an unsigned response) was: Don't bother. They have put this behind them.


Okay, words are failing me right now. I'm going to try & stitch some together.

One thing i know from a number of blogs i read is that many (most?) women don't "put this behind them" in under 10 days. What i've heard so often is that a woman who has lost a pregnancy feels that they have to stop talking about it because other people lose patience with them so quickly. AND that it is difficult for them to have no one really acknowledge loss & that their hope (in that pregnancy) was crushed & that they can't talk about it. That no one allows them to express the loss of their child.

However, maybe there is a subset of women out there who have lost a pregnancy & don't have these issues. Maybe they are pragmatic & practical & down-to-earth & they mourn a few weeks & move on. I don't read their blogs because this isn't something this particular type of woman would talk about. They may of course feel the sadness but are able to recover quickly without the need to talk about it.

AND, i have a history (mostly long past) of not having good boundaries when i feel a strong emotional connection. Sometimes those poor boundaries included manipulation (to my shame).

I strongly feel the need (my need, but believing that it is appropriate to recognize this young woman's loss & verbalize it) to send a note. But i'm torn. Maybe she is someone who wouldn't appreciate this. I'm not talking a long, drawn out "i went thru this too" type of thing. Just a note recognizing that this is hard, & losing a baby is hard, & addressing that this loss is real.

But i'm also afraid that my own issues are in the way. I know that this is not about me, i don't want to try to make it about me. I just remember that one note that meant so much to me. I'm not saying that mine would even be that. But i do recognize the feeling that hardly anyone seemed to care that our baby was gone & that note meant so much because it said, "Your baby was real. This is a real loss." And i know lots of women who have had miscarriages feel that no one acknowledges the loss.

Yada, yada, yada.

I can go on & on. My desire is for feedback, please. Is my desire to send a note my ego in the way & should i walk away from this?

Oh, before you answer, i did respond to that unsigned "don't bother" with a brief note of "How can they be 'over it'?" And the response to that was:
I think they would prefer not to be reminded based on discussions with them regarding their trip to Hawaii. They wanted to "put it behind them" before they left for Hawaii were their exact words. Also unsigned.

Part of the problem is i don't believe someone can "put it behind them" & let it go like that. But maybe that is my ego. So, now, do i walk away?



Land of shimp said...

Kathryn, not everyone reacts that way. The people you are encountering are talking about the loss of an unborn child a great deal because to them, and to you, it was a very big, personal deal to them and it preyed on their mind.

There's nothing wrong with that, at all. But I've known many people who actually felt a tiny bit awkward because they didn't feel much. Some people don't really bond with a pregnancy, they bond with the child when he or she is born.

I'd take the woman's father at his word, as he knows his daughter quite well.

I've known lots of women who lost a pregnancy, to some it felt very much like losing a child, an anticipated person. To others, it really seemed to be, "Well, that wasn't meant to be, so there was never really a person attached to it. There's time in the future."

And neither approach is right or wrong, it's just very individual.

I really wouldn't send a note, or press the man you know, at all. This is their loss, and maybe there way of coping is exactly what I just said, "It wasn't meant to be, therefore..." and that's a legitimate response also.

I'm not saying you are wrong to feel as you do, at all, but it isn't a given that the Dad of this young woman is incorrect. In fact, in my experience, I've known people who have had multiple miscarriages and really related didn't form any true attachment before 12 weeks. It's so well known that the first trimester is a dodgy thing, that a lot of people won't tell anyone before that has passed.

Sometimes people are very accepting of the "Well, that worked out how it was meant to." other times it is a very big, grief filled process, but it is individual.

Leave it be, that's my advice. I am so very sorry you had such a painful loss, but everyone is very individual about how they cope, and sending her something when perhaps she is just regarding this as fate, or perhaps the will of a divine power could actually serve to make her feel worse, not better.

Everyone copes, grieves, and even thinks in different ways...and I'd trust the person who knows the actual woman, and what she is like.

Land of shimp said...

I really should add the two reactions I've heard from people that I know:

When someone loses a first pregnancy, it isn't a pattern for them. To make a big deal out of it can make them feel afraid that it will be. She may very well be focusing on the "We'll try again." as the thing that is helping her cope, and that is her way of coping.

But I'm also thinking of a friend of mine who lost a pregnancy and told me it was a relief -- no, she's not a dreadful person -- she felt from the moment that she heard she was pregnant that something wasn't right and THAT made her feel very strange. People kept congratulating her, and she felt so strange because what she felt was that something was dreadfully wrong. When she lost the pregnancy, that feeling stopped...and she did go on to have children.

To this day, her manner of coping, of grieving, and even of mentally approaching her miscarriage is that she knew that it was going to happen...she didn't feel that way with any of her subsequent pregnancies.

I'm not trying to jump down your throat, not at all, but people really need to cope in their own ways. It really is up to the individual to let the people around them know what they need, and how they want to handle something...and everyone is different.

I guess my fear is that you may actually cause her pain by suggesting she should feel something that perhaps she does not.

Mugsy said...

I tend to agree with the above comments. I know that when my sister miscarried her first baby she was okay with it fairly quickly. When I look back at it now, I'm surprised that she moved forward so easily. But like your friend's daughter, my Sis is incredibly down to earth and very pragmatic. She was able to look at it and say, "it wasn't meant to be this time." It was her first pregnancy and it happened pretty quickly after they started trying. I don't think it entered her mind that it could become a pattern - and the stress is on the word could.

I also know that after our miscarriage I didn't want to talk to anyone about it. We told who we needed to tell but then we took a vacation and dealt with the pain and disappointment together as a couple. I found that the few people who knew and reached out actually made it harder. Any conversation about it caused me to crumble again. And had I not had to go through what I did to get to an actual pregnancy, I'm not sure I would have reacted the same way.

You're a good friend to be concerned and want to offer support.

Land of shimp said...

The other thing that occurred to me as I got up, and went to do other things is that the young woman's father is also coping with the loss of a person who would have been his grandchild.

I know his notes to you have been short, and unsigned, but he must have been thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild, and hurt when it turned out that this time, it was not going to be.

I think that you are having a very empathetic response to his daughter, and that speaks well of you. But I also think you may not considering that this would be his grief also. Remember that his own heart would have been invested, also. His response is not what yours would have been, but I couldn't help but think how happy he must have felt the day he was told about an expected grandchild, and how sad he must have felt when it turned out not to be.

It's just something to consider, Kathyrn. He's not trying to hurt you, but this is also a loss for him. If he wishes it to be a private matter, that's also understandable.

Stacey said...

Kathryn, I appreciate that you care about and want to be sensitive to this young woman. I have mixed feelings about how I might handle it after the dad's response.

There have been so many times during my long history with multiple miscarriages when I have been so thankful for a kind word. While my first loss was devastating, I did feel encouraged that we would have a successful pregnancy soon after. We were very sad that we'd lost our baby, but our time of grief was shortened a bit by our desire to move forward. It wasn't that I didn't grieve, or even that I thought it wasn't meant to be. For me, every pregnancy is meant to be -- even the ones that don't last. Future losses became much, much harder for us.

I did once receive a letter from a friend of a friend after one of my losses. This lady had two children but had recently had a miscarriage, too. It was very apparent to me that she was making it about her loss, and I found her very personal, very detailed letter to be incredibly intrusive. It was like pouring salt into my fresh wound.

There are definitely good and bad ways to approach this. I would normally encourage a short and sweet note to let her know you care, but her dad's reaction makes me think you should pray for her and nothing more at this point. I hope it works out well whatever you choose.

Organizing Mommy said...

How sad about the "don't bother" comment. People are so strange about these things. Yes, send a note. If God is laying it on your heart, send a note. Just because you have "issues" with this sort of thing does not mean you can't minister to someone. I think you have matured and grown beyond manipulating someone--evidenced by the fact that you realize past problems.

The father of the girl? may or may not realize what the girl is going through. Often, pain comes much later in these situations. It's true not everyone grieves in the same way or the same degree, but everyone has to grieve a little bit.

donna said...

If it were me..I would place a phone call to the mother, your friend, the mother of this daughter. Live conversation versus email can bring deeper insight. At this point, until you can talk to your friend, I would not send a note. When my husband and I lost our first baby, it was a very personal and intimate loss for both of us and it remains that to this day. I was deeply appreciative that others were sensitive to my need for privacy.

bless you