Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Platitudes

Did you ever have someone say to you, in reference to however long you had your baby for, that it was "better you didn't have her longer?"

I know I am not even close to being alone.

In my case it was words offered from a doctor, who had indeed seen many babies die on his watch, and who had no children of his own.

He suggested that perhaps I should be grateful that my daughter hadn't lived for just a little while, that perhaps this might have been more difficult.

More difficult than never seeing her alive? Than never being able to feel life in her limbs, than never seeing her little blue eyes open on their own? More difficult than never having known the sound of her weak newborn cry? Could her having lived for a few hours have possibly made it seem worse than the thought that she never felt the kiss of a parent on her cheek, that she never felt warm arms holding her to warm skin, that she never heard our voices telling her we loved her?

This is the truth, folks. There is no "easier" way to lose a baby. It all sucks. It is all hard. Anything offered as a platitude, is salt in a wound. Please do not try to have a pissing contest with me, because anyone who has lost a baby, has already lost.

(And what would I have given to hold her living body for just one minute, let alone an hour? To let her hear my voice, to feel my gentle mother's touch?
My life, at the time.

Without a doubt, my life.)

9 comments:

Hope's Mama said...

Thankfully, in nine months, this one hasn't been uttered to me. But there have been many other stupid comments, and we've all heard them all before.
I'm with you Carol. I'd give anything for just one minute with her. To kiss her, hold her and tell her I love her. And for her to look me in the eyes and let me know, she knows.

Birdies Mama said...

Geezus WTF doctor said this to you? What the hell is wrong with that person? I mean seriously!

I am with you and Hope's MAma, how lucky we would have been to hold our girls with life in their bodies, to sing sweetly to them, to kiss them, to whisper I love you....and to nurse them to "sleep".

What I would not have given to be able to see her eyes open, even if only for a second.

sigh.

kris said...

Good Lord. Some people have no filter. What the hell was he thinking?! There's a reason our kindergarten teachers reminded us to think before we spoke!

charmedgirl said...

i'm gonna tell the truth here...i could think of nothing but this during my 5 days in the hospital. i'm sure someone may have also said it, but i can't remember exactly.

all i can remember is being thankful she didn't die after being born alive.

i don't know...less to lose? less to love? i just couldn't imagine being there with her alive and then losing her. it's certainly no contest, though...i don't think the week of pregnancy or loss after birth or whatever makes a loss more or less significant. i DO, however, think that people who never lost a baby should SHUT THE F UP.

Aimee said...

Is there a mother among us who wouldn't, at that moment, have given our lives for our baby? People around me are all so glad I didn't die (which I came so very close to doing) because I have so much to live for--and I do--I truly, truly do!--but at that moment. THAT moment, you know the one I'm talking about...I would have given it up for her. I miss her everyday.

Team Harris said...

I'm nearly speechless. But I can't say that I'm surprised. Having been in the medical profession for over ten years, I've seen plenty. As a nurse, I often see a difference between nurses who have children and nurses who don't. (Please, no tomatoes people... I realize that this is not an "all or nothing"... just a frequent observation I've made over the years.)

When it comes to dealing with laboring mothers and newborn infants, I OFTEN see a difference in the bedside manner between those who have been through the experience and those who haven't. I don't know how to fix this. I wish I had some answers. Unfortunately, for some people, they will just never "get it" until they walk in someone else's shoes. It's horrific.

Danny said...

As you know, I've been there. I find it hard to believe that any medical professional in that situation would use words like "grateful," "harder," or "easier." Intellectually I get what they're saying, sorta, but emotionally it's like pouring hydrochloric acid on a wound. The doctor that gave me the speech had never even touched my son, he was just a "chart guy" who clearly felt parents shouldn't bother with such odds. But for the most part, thankfully, I couldn't be happier with the level of care and compassion exhibited towards my son who died and my son who remains in the NICU.

niobe said...

People say such incredibly stupid and hurtful things.

I will confess, though, like Charmed Girl, after I lost the twins, I spent a lot of time comforting myself by saying "at least, I can be grateful that they didn't live longer, that I was spared having them linger for days or weeks and then having to let them go."

But there's a huge difference between what a grieving mother says to herself, inside her own mind, and what is appropriate or kind for others to say to her.

Charlotte's Mama said...

I am so absolutely in agreement that the difference between what we think for ourselves, and what others say to us, is infinite. I also did have the thought, many times, thank god she wasn't alive in some precarious position where life support would have to be turned off, at my order. But that's me thinking, not somebody else's words. Those two are not comparable.