(Image via drjessicazucker.com*)
I have said some truly insensitive things to people. In all walks of life, in all situations. Most notably (right now), to people I love who have suffered a miscarriage. It is only in the last few years that I have even begun to understand the weight of my words and thoughts.
Before now, if I have not actually spoken asinine bullshit platitudes like “it happened for a reason” (with a follow-up of “it probably means there was something wrong with the baby”), or “at least it happened early,” or “at least you can get pregnant,” I can tell you that I have thought them.
But, instead of spiraling into an abyss of guilt and shame, I’m going to tell you that I’ve learned. I know better. I truly had no idea. It’s not an excuse, I agree. It has taken me years of life and experience to get where I am and be who I am now. Not all of that life or that experience is shiny. Some of it is tarnished and stained and ugly. It has to be.
What I am going to say is that I’m sorry. I know you’ve forgiven me. I know you love me. I know you understand that my intentions were good and I just fell into the societal norm of discomfort. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I just knew that you were hurt and I did not understand even the lick of the waves on the sand of the ocean of the depth of your devastation and loss.
I still don’t. That story is always different. But I do understand what it is to be a parent. I understand what it is to be a pregnant woman. I understand what it is to fear for the safety and comfort of your child every damn day.
I love you. I love you and I honour you and I respect you. Your children matter to me. The ones I can hug and the ones I can’t. They matter to me and I love and respect them. I always have, I just didn’t know how to express that. I’ve learned that, as with so many things, honesty is the best policy.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is also, coincidentally, the month when I started studying to become a bereavement doula. These stories are important to me. The lives of the families who face these stories are important to me. You need support. You need shoulders to cry on, arms to lean into, chests to sob against. You need ears to moan, scream, cry, whisper, or be silent into. You need space to be held and silence to be comfortable. You need for the names of your children to be spoken with love and joy and admiration. You need to be recognized as parents, now and forever. You need someone to know. You need someone to hear you and to see you, all of you.
You need exactly what you need.
I love you. I love your family. I love your children. I love your love. I love that, while it hurts you to hear or read, you forgive us our platitude blunders because you know that we’re trying, we just haven’t quite made it to where we ought to be yet. I love what you accept and what you don’t. I love where you put your passion. I love you when you’re strong and I love you when you’re at the end of your rope on your very worst day. I love your beautiful, joyful, optimistic days, and I love your dark, dreary, soul-crushing days. I love you. Straight up.
Thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your story. Thank you for trusting me with the names of the children you lost. Thank you for sharing their pictures and their stories. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and their lives. Thank you for your humble, beautiful, gentle patience and understanding. We’re learning together. Thank you for letting me learn from you and with you – about life and love.
*Dr. Zucker is outstanding. Visit her shop (here: http://shop.drjessicazucker.com/). Buy the things. All of them. (I have.)