*****GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED******Today I am excited to bring you a guest post by Deanna from Pregnancy Loss Info and author of Baby Dust! Deanna is a mother to 3 angels: 20 weeks, 4 weeks and 10 weeks and the founder of Facts about Miscarriage. Deanna has done such beautiful things for others, and her website and book offer comfort and information to those grieving their own losses. Be sure to check out Deanna's website and her new book Baby Dust. Also, for one lucky Honoring Our Angels reader I am going to be giving away a signed copy of Baby Dust! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with an email address and you are entered to win. You have until Saturday October 8th,9am MST to enter the giveaway. The winner will be chosen at random using random.org GOOD LUCK!
Take it away Deanna......
This post is about how to handle unsupportive family after a loss, which has a brief mini-scene from the novel showing how a character handles her niece deciding to name her new baby the same as her aunt's miscarried one because, "She didn't really get to use the name."
Dealing with Family after a Loss
After a miscarriage or stillbirth, most of us want more than anything for our babies to be recognized and mourned as a little person. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes you hear things like this:
“You just need to move on.”
“Get pregnant again, and you’ll feel fine.”
“It’s not like it was a real baby.”
Sometimes these words come from family. You can’t avoid them forever, so what do you do?
Pick Your Posse
First, figure out who IS a help. The aunt who lets you know she lost a baby long ago. The father-in-law who keeps hugging you, possibly to comfort himself as much as you.
At family gatherings, stick with the good guys. When you are pressured to go to a baby shower or play pass-the-newborn at holidays, volunteer in the kitchen and enlist the aid of a posse member. They will act as your shield from those who thoughtlessly judge you for not participating.
Whenever possible, limit contact with the evil ones. You know who they are. The ones who ask you why are you still moping three months later, or worse—did you figure out why God punished you? Plan ahead to have an exit strategy if you get cornered.
You Don’t Have to Let It Go
In Baby Dust, Stella’s niece announces at her shower that her baby will be called Angelica, the very name Stella gave her first baby, who was miscarried. When Stella gets upset, she is accused of overreacting. Her niece says, “It’s not like you really got to use it.”
Stella, though, doesn’t stand for it for one minute, telling the women, “None of you ever treated my babies like they were real or that I might consider myself a mother.”
Most of the time, we suck up our upset and don’t react. But often, people really don’t know what an impact their words have. There is no reason to just take it. You can calmly respond and let them know the words hurt. If they react badly again, that is a reflection of the person THEY are, not on you or the way you are handling your grief.
Stella’s niece eventually comes around, visiting Stella at work to let her know she isn’t going to name the baby Angelica after all.
“What made you change your mind?” Stella asked.
“How upset you were.”
“Well, yes, I took it pretty hard. You have a new name?”
She shook her head, “Mama says it will just come to me, when I see her.”
Not all of us will see a turnaround in our family, who may have very set ideas about how to handle grief or what causes a baby to die. But certainly, if we don’t help them see how their words wound us, they will never get that chance to change.