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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time helps a lot but...

I've been meaning to post about this, but I keep getting other worries on my mind and forget about it. The Sunday after the Fourth, my great-aunt's family held a birthday party for her. She turned 88 this year and is the only great aunt (or uncle even) that we have left.

Her daughter-in-law created a scrapbook for her, which included all eight of her children and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There was even a page in there for my cousin's baby who died at just a few days old and another for another cousin's baby who died in utero.

They also made a DVD full of pictures and included all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in it. They featured Christian, the baby who died at just a few days old from CHARGE Syndrome. My mom said she thought they shouldn't have had him on there. This really bothered me, because even though he wasn't here long, he was still her grandchild. Momma said it just brought everyone down.

The baby that died in utero was actually diagnosed with something prenatally. It's been several years ago, even before Tessa was born, and since I was never particularly close to that cousin, I didn't find out what it was. I do know that they were quite far along when they decided to end the pregnancy and decided to terminate (which would be a huge deal for them on that side of the family as most of them are vehemently pro-life in all situations, even for medical terminations), but they had to fly to Kansas to have it done. When they got there, the baby had already died, and they came home to deliver her.

At the party, I asked my mom if she knew what was wrong with the baby. She said she didn't know and suggested I ask my cousin's wife about it if I was curious. I told her that I didn't want to bring back bad memories for her, and my mom said, "Oh, it's been a long time, it probably doesn't bother her anymore."

I said, "That's not something you ever completely get over, Momma. I'm sure it still bothers her."

And, Momma said, "Oh, she's had two kids since then. She probably doesn't even have time to think about it."

Was that insensitive or is it just me? It doesn't matter how many children you, when you lose one, you've lost it forever, and that child is forever in your heart. If the baby had died of SIDS or lived for a few days, would she still say the same thing? I was just floored and a little hurt by what she said, so I didn't say anything else. I wanted to tell her that I bet she thinks about that baby every day.

It makes me wonder if two or three years down the road, when this new baby is here and growing, and Tessa is thriving, will everyone expect me to be over it? Will she expect it not to hurt or me not to think about it? I still think about Jenna every day almost a year later. How can I not?


Mirna said...

When I finished my blog about my baby boy, I invited my dearest friends and family to read it. I had amazing responses - some were shocked and said they couldn't believe that it had been that long ago... Others cried for me. It seems, unfortunately that some people think you just forget you ever had a baby and others assume you got over it. The conclusion I came to is that ONLY dead baby mommies understand each others feelings in ruth. No one else really does. That is why I made it a mission to give love and hugs to those of us who need it, because only those who walked the road understand. Sad but true. Hugs to you. :)

Radar's Mom said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I am so very happy to hear that you are halfway to welcoming your spal miracle into your arms. My experience is that my new son hasn't taken the place of my lost angel Bennett, but has made a new place in my heart and filled it so that it overflows. I still think of Bennett and still grieve his loss, but the pain is less poignant... my grief has given way to a deep appreciation for how he has impacted and changed my life for the better. I appreciate every day so much more. I appreciate every blessing so much more.

As for the comments your mom made, I think part of it has to do with "the times." In generations past, I do think that mothers were expected to simply accept infant losses and move on. That was the outward appearance they were supposed to portray. They weren't given forums like the trisomy 18 foundation to share and work through their grief and to build friendships based on that bond of common loss.

Anyway, enough rambling by me. I am so looking forward to following your journey to meet your new sweet baby. I know that it's scary, but it's worth every lost minute of sleep!

Much love,

JenJen said...

Yes, those comments were insensitive and would have left me in the same spot that you are~ Just because we move on with our lives doesn't mean that we forget our babies. Another baby bandages the pain that we feel but doesn't take it all away. Only people who've never lost a baby would say those things because they just don't know how the unfulfilled dreams for a child can haunt the parents everyday.

((hugs)) and I'm glad that you said something to your mom...

Violet said...

I don't think your Mom was trying to be insensitive but, I also think she just has no idea.

My Mom lost a baby boy in utero due to cord complications, and possible complications from spina bifida. It's been 21 years. She has 4 surviving children, and 1 grandson. It still hurst. She still tears up about it sometimes.

I don't have anychildren, and i know I can't imagine what it is like to lose one. HOwever, I've grown up with seeing how it did/does affect my mom. I also lost my first love when we were 14/15 years old. The loss of someone young and someone I love has given me compassion and empathy. It's been 8 years since my first love and best friend died. It still hurst. I still cry when I hear our song. I still laugh when I remember an inside joke. My heart races when I read the letters he wrote about/to me, or my journal entries about our first kiss...

NO one can understand, no one can "get it" until they lose someone who is immeasurable close and important to them.

Julie Krum said...

My mother in law lost a baby to SIDS 45 years ago. The little girl (Nancy) died at around 2 weeks old. A few years ago, I quilted her a wallhanging with the pics of her all of her children as flowers. I included the one pic of Nancy on a flower as well. It made her cry, of course, but she was very happy that I included the one child that isn't still around. After 45 years, it still hurts her, but she wants to remember her dd's short life and how it touched her.