No timetable for grief
One of the hardest things to deal with when you have lost a baby is the reactions of other people, and the earlier your baby died, the fewer people, it seems, understand. They didn't see your baby, they didn't connect with him or her, they were not anticipating your child's birth from the moment you got a positive home pregnancy test. Their concern is for you (and, unfortunately, that usually means the mother more than the father). They want very much for you to not hurt anymore, for you to be healthy. And so they often "encourage" you to move on, to focus on the positive things in life, and to "get over it."
The effect of all this, however, is not to push you into a place where you feel better, but to make you feel that your loss has been minimized. After all, who would tell a grieving widow to cheer up because, after all, she has other family members who love her? Who would tell a man whose wife has just died not to be so sad because there are lots of other women out there? And so when similar comments are made to bereaved parents, we feel like our child's life is not as valuable as someone who lived longer.
Let me pause a moment to say that I truly believe that most comments like that are intended to help, and not hurt. But I think most people don't know what to say to someone who is grieving. Grief makes us uncomfortable - maybe because it brings us face to face with the whole idea of death and mortality. And so in our discomfort, we speak clumsily, trying to help, but not knowing how. (Think back to the last time you had to deal with someone else's grief - did you know what to say?)
In modern America, I fear we've lost much of the art of mourning with those who mourn, one of the key components of which is the recognition that grief has no timetable. Everyone grieves in their own way, and for their own season. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions as you travel this road:
Naomi's Circle News
Here you will find articles intended to help you in your journey. Some will be reviews of websites and books. Some will be devotionals, some general articles, and some will be guest bloggers. Feel free to comment and let us know if there is something you would like to see addressed here.
Week 1: Devotional
Week 2: General article about loss
Week 3: Testimony/guest blogger
Week 4: Website/book Review