Wednesday, 24 February 2010

When talking to a parent whose baby has died...

There really aren't that many do's and don't's when talking to a bereaved parent. Yes, I know it's like walking on eggshells and you don't really have a clue what to say to them, but that's okay, they don't expect you to. To be honest there isn't really much to say and statements like "I can't imagine what you must be going through" are fine. Yes they will have heard it all before but it doesn't dilute your sentiments.

There is however one mah-hassive don't. Without question the stupidest possible thing to say to a parent who has lost a baby is "you can always try again/have another". Rach and I have been fortunate enough to have heard that one only once, but talking to other parents it does seem to be a recurring theme in what people say. For those of you who haven't quite fathomed how monumentally god-awful that is to say to someone, I will try to explain. First of all, a child dying is not the same as loosing a mobile phone, or failing your driving test, you can't just get another one or try it again. Children are not interchangeable. Rach and I could spend our remaining years breeding like good catholic bunnies, but no matter how many dozens of offspring we could end up with, there will always be a huge Emma shaped hole in our lives which will not get filled. We don't want a replacement baby, we want Emma, and the pain of not having her will not go away even if we are fortunate to be parents again. That's not to say we would love another child less, we just won't miss Emma any less.

Here's the big reason why it's such a stupid thing to say. A parent loosing a child is the worst kind of loss there is. I'm basing that statement based on my experience of losing loved ones and conversations I have had with people who have lost loved ones. And yet, if you were to loose a family member or friend, no one would dream of suggesting you get a replacement! If you were consoling some one who lost a parent how likely would you be to say "Well you can always find another role model figure to look up to and love"?. If a friend's spouse had died would you say "You can always get married again". No, of course not. Why not? Because it's insensetive and it's stupid. So if loosing a child is worse than any of these things... I think you get where I'm going with this.

1 comment:

  1. hello my name is rebekha. i lost my beautiful baby girl in december 2009 and i found your blog address on the sands website on facebook i hope you dont mind me following you..? x i have today read through some of your blogs and have decided to write my own blog of how loseing maddison has affected me life.x i am soo soo saddened to hear of the loss of your little girl and as loseing a baby myself i now how you are feeling. i am here if you would like to talk and if its ok with you will be following your journey i wish you and your family all the love in the world and will be thinking of you along with the many other angel parents i have met in the last 21 weeks xx lots of love and kisses maddisons mummy xx<3 xxx