Do you ever feel frustrated or resentful when you hear people complaining about their kids?
Like when your friend vents about how little sleep she’s getting with her newborn waking through the night, or when your sister-in-law gripes to you about her pregnancy symptoms… or your co-worker complains about how hard parenting is and jokes that she wants to just give her kids away ….
And then you have to just sit there and restrain yourself from flipping over the table and screaming “are you kidding me! You know what’s hard?! NOT parenting when you are supposed to be!!”
(because apparently that would be impolite.)
I think we’ve all been there.
I get a lot of emails from people asking for support and sharing what they are struggling with. Recently I got an email that really got me thinking. The writer told me that they have been trying to identify what kind of support they want from their friends as they navigate life after loss. They told me they have come to the conclusion that they don’t want anyone to feel sorry for them, they just want the people around them to be grateful for the blessings that they have in their life, to be appreciative that they get to parent their children and watch them grow up. That would actually help a lot to reduce some of the hurt and the social disconnection.
Yep. I totally relate to that. I think we all can.
But here’s the problem with that position: You are setting yourself up to get really pissed off. Often.
Here’s the thing: we do not have control over what other people feel, think or how they live their lives. We just don’t. While there is something truly kind-hearted and gracious about wanting others to be able to use our tragedy as a nudge to live their lives more fully and more happily, such an epiphany is fleeting a best.
One of the privileges of being the bystander to someone else’s devastation is that you don’t actually feel it. So you don’t have to get it. You don’t get how lucky you are. You don’t get how hard it is. So while it would be logical to assume that when someone is sitting across the table from a mother who has had to bury a child, or who never got the chance to even meet her baby, they would be overtaken by the urge to go home, drop to their knees, kiss the ground and thank the God of their choice for the sweet lottery luck that has given them to chance to parent their children – it just doesn’t. And so they keep chattering in the lunchroom about the horrible injustice of their stretched skin and restricted sleep cycles.
Because they don’t get it. Not fully. Not really. Even if they really try to, the fact is, they won’t ever truly grasp it.
Because going through the loss of a baby forces you to touch bottom in the depth of places within yourself that you had no idea previously existed. And it is really hard to explain what we find there to someone who hasn’t had to go to those places herself.
Ignorance is bliss, as they say.
So in this video, I’m sharing a few ideas to give you longer lasting relief as you cope with the blended and sometimes opposing realities of life as a grieving mom surrounded by an inevitably oblivious social circle.
Watch the video here:
And if you find this useful, then please share it and help break the silence and isolation surrounding baby loss.
Lots of Love,
April Boyd is a private practice therapist with clients across the globe, creator of the Baby Loss Survival Guide, and founder of the Love & Loss Project. When April is not doing the work she loves to do, you might find her on the top of a paddleboard or the side of mountain with her partner Martin and her six pound Yorkie. April is committed to turning the tragedy of her daughter’s life story into a love story by living her own life as brightly as possible and helping others to do the same. You can connect with her and get her free self-care kit at lovelossproject.com
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