In the days after Madison was born sleeping, everything anyone said about the experience cut me like a knife. Nothing they said was right, and nothing they said was helpful. The hard truth for those of you looking for the words to say to someone who has lost a child is there is nothing you can say, and often the words you do choose are hurtful without intending to be. Even I who have lived this hell have no words for a fellow sister in loss. I know how they feel. There is a rawness that makes everything feel personal and intrusive. I remember joking with a fellow loss mom after Madison and asking her if I would ever get my grace back. She reassured me that I would and I did, until this week….
“Don’t be Scared”
Three little words that made me angry to my core. The person that said them to me didn’t mean to hurt me or make me mad. I have been very open about the fear I feel about this pregnancy, so I am sure in their heart they were trying to be kind and comforting. But I didn’t feel comforted, I felt really, really mad.
Don’t tell me how to feel. Even if you have walked this road and have some idea of the mental and emotional anguish I am going through, you have no right to tell me how to feel. You can pray for me, you can send me a card, a text, some chocolate (yes please!). But don’t you dare tell me how to feel.
Telling me not to be scared is dismissive. It’s also like telling me not to breathe. If you think for one second this is a choice for me, you need to think again. You telling me not to do it doesn’t make it go away. If anything, it makes me feel self conscious and like I am feeling something that should be kept inside.
I am not scared – I am terrified. The truth be told, scared doesn’t begin to cover how I feel most of the time. It is a strange blend of terror, excitement, sadness and hope all rolled into one. Some days the fear outweighs the excitement, some days the hope shines brighter, but I am always still afraid.
Just in case you were wondering how I responded, I didn’t. Sometimes it is kinder not to acknowledge the ways in which people hurt you when they aren’t intentionally doing so. I did though want to share my thoughts with you if for no other reason than to help you and me not forget how your words can make someone feel, especially a grieving mama.