So tonight I had planned on blogging and couldn’t decide what to write about, I then came across a wonderful baby loss mama who did a youtube video all about things not to say or things to say to someone who has lost a child, Pea is a great mama who is open about her son Winter and their loss and someone I really admire.
For anyone not familiar with Pea, Winter or the Youtube video I am talking about here is the link: One Day Of Winter. I am so grateful to those who are open about what loss mums and dads would like to hear because they know how it feels to be on the wrong side of that awkward conversation explaining to someone that your child died.
One thing in particular that really made me think was one of the things Pea spoke about in the “what to say” section of the video; “Congratulations”
I realise to most, congratulating someone on a death (any death) seems really bizarre but in the days/weeks after Jason died I found no-one had congratulated me at all, and actually have never congratulated me on the birth of my only son. We were showered with everyone’s sympathy, we have loads of cards in Jason’s memory box, were sent flowers (from NEXT no less!) and felt the love people had not only for us but for Jason too. But in those sad times I have no memory of anyone welcoming me as a mother, acknowledging that Jason lived, if only for a short time, and those who did come to offer their condolences were left feeling awkward/uneasy because nobody knows how to act in these situations.
Not long after Jason had died I was due an appointment at the dentist, I gave my card across to the receptionist and seeing the severe lack of a bump assumed my baby had been born and started gushing; “Do you have a picture?”, “Are you adjusting to having a baby?” All the things people would usually ask (and should NEVER assume) and then when I explained that yes I had had my baby but no they didn’t live the woman felt mortified and really didn’t know what to say…muttering the words “Oh right”. She didn’t want to see pictures anymore, or know about my baby and this hurt so much. It was the first time I was subjected to the fact that baby loss is still such a taboo and people are unable to accept that this is real life to more people than we like to think is true and it really can happen to anyone. (I must add this receptionist has known me since I was a child so obviously felt at ease with asking about my child.) I was used to family and close friends talking about Jason with me, I was used to people not mentioning it and crossing the street so they could avoid me but hearing those words hurt so much more. It was a true reflection on the fact I wasn’t a mother if my baby hadn’t survived and I was treated as if I had never been pregnant. This seemed to happen more and more as time went on; people stopped asking about Jason, they still acknowledged him sometimes but why would they ask about him when they assumed they knew everything already?
There are still lots of things people don’t know about Jason, the day he died or the days following his death; not because I don’t want to tell them but because it hurts that I am not asked. Unless you start up the conversation it just doesn’t come up and I worry that people who have listened to me talking about him will eventually get bored of hearing the same story and the only people who I feel comfortable around will suddenly disappear from our lives.
I know the day Jason died I changed, part of me went with him, I feel like a part of me is missing and I am not the same person I used to be and because of this people have “disappeared” and I can’t say I blame them really. I understand it is hard when the person cancels plans at the last minute, forgets to text back and is generally useless.
I think I have digressed quite a bit and may change this post another day but for now if all you take away is this; if you know someone who has lost a baby/child do not be afraid to mention them, you won’t remind them or their pain because I am pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say; we never forget. I welcome anyone who speaks Jason’s name to me or writes it and sends me pictures because it reminds me that he is still so loved and thought of more than I think.