As I have mentioned before, this situation is impossible to understand fully unless you’ve been there. Given that, and the fact that it is a very uncomfortable topic for many, I think that people just simply don’t know what to say to you when you are grieving the loss of your child. They don’t mean to be hurtful or insensitive, they just don’t know what to say. I don’t know that I was ever really offended by anything anyone said to me, because I understood this. But as I have talked with others over the years, this topic almost always comes up. So, I thought I’d open a discussion post for you to share those things that have been less than comforting or even hurtful. For those who are reading the blog that have not suffered the loss of a child, I hope it will help you to know better what to say to someone who is hurting (or not to say!)
Probably the most common one is for someone to say something like “At least you have ___” (your other child/children). Almost everyone I’ve talked to has brought this one up. Yes, our firstborn is a HUGE blessing in our lives. Her giggles provided relief from the sadness and reminded me how lucky I am to have her. But having her does not lessen the pain of losing my baby. It isn’t the same as having a car break down and saying “at least you have another vehicle!” Another take on this is that people have said that we would be sadder if it were our first because we would have been so excited about being first-time parents. I guess I can see their point, but to me having already had a child simply made me all the more aware of just how much I had lost.
So what do you say in return? It may be just my non-confrontational personality, but I don’t really say anything. I think they are already extremely uncomfortable and hurting for you. They mean well – they are trying to be comforting, not hurtful, and telling them they are hurtful might only make the problem worse. They just don’t understand. Even now, I just take a deep breath, say a prayer and try to let the words bounce off me.
You’re turn… I’d love to get a discussion started here. Feel free to post even if you are in a different situation or not in the situation at all. But remember, this blog is supposed to be educating and encouraging. If you post something hateful, I’ll just delete it! 🙂