Thursday, June 10, 2010

At least...

Dear Stevie,
I think it's human nature to want to try to make things better, to somehow "fix" what is broken, whenever things go wrong. This being said, sometimes I wish people didn't have this instinct. I wish more people could just say, "what happened to Stevie just sucks," and leave it at that. I can't tell you how many statements I've heard that start with "at least."
  • At least you're young. Because it's harder and harder to deal with your child dying the older you get? I'm pretty sure it sucks whether you're 19 or 24 or 39 or 45.
  • At least you know you can get pregnant. Well this was one hell of a way to figure that one out.
  • At least you can have more kids. This is not a given, actually. If I've learned anything during the last month, it's that there are no guarantees in life, especially given my awesome luck.
  • At least you still have Andy. True. But is it really so much to ask to have my husband and our first child?
  • At least [insert other really horrible tragedy here] didn't happen to you. Yes, I guess I should be happy that I didn't lose my baby and have the rest of my family die in an earthquake the same day, or lose my baby on top of having cancer, or lose more than one baby. But knowing that other people have gone through worse things than I have doesn't make me feel any better about my own tragedy.
  • At least you didn't gain that much weight and already have your old body back. I would do anything to have some stretch marks and extra flab if it meant I could have my baby here with me.
  • At least none of your close friends are pregnant or have babies. This is true, and I am actually really thankful that I'm not surrounded by what I don't have, but since none of my best friends have ever been pregnant before, I'm not sure they can really understand the enormity of my loss; until you've been pregnant and bonded with your unborn child, you can't possibly understand how it feels to have that child die inside of you.
  • At least she died before she was born. I would have literally died to see her open her eyes, or smile, or hold onto my finger, even just once.
  • At least you got to take a whole month of off work. My four-week leave has been no "vacation," I can promise you that. I should have had a whole 12 weeks off with my new daughter, not a month off to physically recover from delivering a dead baby. What I would give to have been at work, pregnant, the last four weeks.
While all these "at leasts" might be true, they are of little comfort to me right now. Nothing but incredibly lame consolation prizes.

I'm sorry I'm so negative today, Stevie. I guess I'm just in one of those moods. I must be in the midst of my "anger" stage of grief (stage 3 out of 7 I think? I best go consult my stack of pregnancy loss books to find out!) As a little kid, I was always great at expressing my anger, but hated admitting when I was sad. I remember this one time when a couple of my neighborhood friends really hurt my feelings by not inviting me to a sleepover they were planning or something. I was crying to my mom and I just kept repeating, "I'm just so mad!" My mom said something like, "You're not mad, you're sad."

Mommy's sad, Baby. Really, really sad.

I love you so much little girl.

Mom

13 comments:

Kerri said...

Kristin,

It's okay to be mad. It's okay to be sad. You don't have to qualify those feelings. You are hurting.

If I could be there to give you a hug on this hard day, I would.

Kerri

Kelley and Chris said...

I read your blog everyday, and everyday I find that your are writing MY thoughts down. This "at least" post is EXACTLY the way I feel. I've lost my baby weight, but I'd gladly put it back on (plus some) to have my little boy. Love your pictures too by the way.

Maggie said...

Oh wow, I think my favorite one is the work one. Seriously?! Someone kept telling me they were "jealous" of me being off when I was off work. Oh yeah, this "vacation" is outstanding! You have every right to feel angry and negative, especially when you hear comments like that. Hugs to you & hoping some more positive comments come your way!

Danae said...

People just flat out stink sometimes and don't think before they open their mouths. I've heard MANY of those phrases over the last 6 weeks and they make me angry every single time.

Violet1122 said...

The one I hate the most is "At least you know you can get pregnant"

Pregnancy isn't the goal - it's having a baby!! One you can cuddle in your arms and lovingly raise.

Ughhh

I sincerely hope you don't hear these kinds of comments often. And don't feel bad about feeling mad or sad! It is what it is. Your emotions are completely natural. You've got a big group of us gals who understand how you feel and support you!

Emily said...

I've been very lucky that no one has actually said these things to my face (yet). But can I imagine how sucky it is hear it. I'm getting stuck on the 'at least you can have more children' one...because who knows at this point? It's what I want more than anything in the world (unless someone figures out how to bring back Aidan)...but I haven't got what I've wanted yet during this whole reproducing thing, so whose to say that trend won't continue.

The Griegers said...

You are NOT negative. Sometimes people just say crappy things because they don't know what else to say. Unfortunately it hurts us deeply. I'm so sorry that people in your life are trying to fix things but I do feel your pain.

Amanda said...

It really does suck to have so many well meaning people say things like this. They have no idea how contradictory it is. I got a lot of this with having a disabled child, and the worst was "At least he's alive." Let it all out, because venting is GOOD! And I'm fairly certain Stevie understands that Mama is more than a little peeved right now.

Curls O Fred said...

I hear ya. I feel like i'm negative all the time about other people's comments, so that's why I was making a stab at positivity today on my blog. Ultimately though, some people, no matter their experience, have no idea how to say something comforting and end up saying one or more of the things you listed above. ugh. Thinking of you and little Stevie ((hugs))

Lucid Anne said...

The one that really resonates to me is the "at least you have (husband)".. seriously? Yes, my husband is amazing, he's my soul mate but... I want my baby too. Like almost everyone else in the world gets to.

Tracey said...

So very sorry to learn of Stevie's death. I wish this pain could somehow stop, and that babies and their families did not have to experience this.

It never fails to amaze me at how similar experiences are on this journey...'at least' has become my most cringe-inducing sentence starter - you know its just not going to end well....

Thoughts are with you and little Stevie Joy.

Erin said...

I hear you, Kristin.

The most hurtful thing that was said to me was, "At least you're young; you have plenty of time to have other kids. At least it happened so early in your pregnancy." Yeah, because I didn't really want THIS baby. I just wanted the theoretical knowledge that I can someday have children, hypothetically. And, of course, until you hear its heartbeat or name it or know its gender or make it to so many weeks, it doesn't hurt to lose your baby, right? (This was, incidentally, said to me by the same person who tried to comfort me when my parents got divorced by saying, "At least they didn't get divorced until you were old enough to take care of yourself" [which, in case you were wondering, is apparently the age of 12, because that's how old I was when my mom took off]).

I think people are almost afraid to encourage you to see your situation so negatively, because that doesn't seem like it's a good way to help someone "feel better." But it's not always about "feeling better." Sometimes it's about validating someone's pain and allowing them the space to grieve and withdraw and be mad at the world and be mad at God and just "exist" for a while.

I'm glad that you have this space to vent...let it all out, girl!

My thoughts and prayers are with you now and always.

Cassie said...

You deserved to see her open her eyes and hold your finger...just once.

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