Discussions

What NOT to say to a grieving Mother

As a bereaved mother I never thought I would belong to this club. A club of women, that despite their endearing love & support for each other, had to go through immense sadness and pain to join. This “club” nobody wants to really belong to, and those that aren’t in it hope to stay as far away from it as possible. Some people shy away from our club because they do not understand our pain or they may feel uncomfortable. Unaware of what to say to us members, or how to comfort us through our grief. Some try to use comforting words but instead drive the knife into us even deeper. I’ve noticed an immense amount of blog posts/social media posts lately regarding things people have said to a bereaved mother in hopes that it would cause comfort when in fact it just causes more pain.

“You can try again”

“It was meant to be”

“God has a plan”

“They are in a better place now”

“Everything happens for a reason”

and etc.

These words are spoken in hope that somehow we will be comforted by them, but instead they sting. No matter how long it’s been since the loss it still hurts to hear these things. We understand that most of the time these comments are not made to cause more pain or to be vicious so we tend to bite our tongue when replying to people but inside in our heads we are screaming our answers:

“You can try again” – We just want our babies that we lost, regardless of future pregnancies we STILL want our little angels. Trying again doesn’t stop our grief or make things better. In fact in some ways it makes us feel worse. There are those that struggle with infertility and trying again means thousands of dollars.  And those that can try, each month we get a negative test we feel more defeated, more empty.

“It was meant to be” – I never wanted to be told that the pain I was going through was just “in the cards”. Especially as grieving mothers we are fighting with ourselves daily to understand why it all happened in the first place, and the majority of the time we are blaming ourselves for what took place. When we are told something was meant to be it makes it seem like the pain we feel is not relevant because it was bound to happen anyways.

“God has a plan” – Not everyone believes in God and not everyone finds comfort in believing that his plan was to take our babies away from us so that we could suffer for some time until a lesson has been learned. True, some Mother’s may find comfort later on from this, but it’s usually because they chose to seek it out themselves.

“They are in a better place now” – What place is better then in our arms and being loved by their families? Plus not everyone believes in a “better place”.

“Everything happens for a reason” – This one is a lot like “It was meant to be”. When we hear these words we don’t think “Oh well in that case I’m fine”. We may find out later on through our grief that what we went through has made us stronger or we learned a great deal from our pain but hearing that our children had to die for a reason doesn’t sit well. Because no matter what that reason could be, we would have given it up just to have our babies with us.

My reason in writing this is to not seem bitter or to make anyone that has used these phrases feel stupid, but just to try and raise some awareness around what not to say to someone when they feel like their heart has been ripped because they have lost their child. We usually don’t need any fancy sentiments and a “I’m so sorry for your loss” usually works most of the time. Truthfully though, sometimes we don’t want to hear anything but just knowing that you care and love us is all that matters to us.

To my fellow loss moms: what are some of the things that have been said to you??

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11 thoughts on “What NOT to say to a grieving Mother

  1. Yup! All of those have been said. I’ve also heard that if we have a second we will appreciate that baby so much. Sorry jerk, I appreciated Cora already. She didn’t die for me to appreciate anything more. to be fair I get annoyed really easily if it’s not someone in the club saying it 😂

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    1. Ah yes I forgot about “your next child you’ll appreciate more” one! I hate when things sound like a justification as to why our children died, because no matter what anyone says I’m not going to be like “yeah you are right I feel better thanks”. And I’m with you there it’s not easy hearing much of anything from anyone that isn’t a loss parent!

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  2. Omg, the “you can have another” (and every variation, “You’re young enough”, etc.) drives me INSANE.

    I always want to ask the person who says that if they tell parents who have multiple living children (and no losses) that they must love the youngest more because that kid is the “newest”. NO. That’s not how love for your child works!

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    1. Some people act like losing a child is somehow like a pet passing away that we can just get another and replace the one we lost. I love that analogy with multiple living children! And since when does having another baby claim to be the cure all for grieving the one we lost? It’s so weird that anyone would even think that.

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    1. I cannot believe some of the things people have said to you and I’m so sorry you’ve had to hear them. It just blows my mind some of the stuff that comes out of people. No you are not being overly sensitive, some people just suck.

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  3. I have 2 that have stuck with me recently. The first being, well, you are pregnant again so you should go to x, y, z (insert baby shower, gender reveal, diaper party, etc.) Because, of course, being pregnant again fixes everything, right? The other is a variation on it was meant to be. I had a therapist tell me that God’s plan from conception for Quinn was for her to die. I mean, I’m not sure anyone should be spewing that at a bereaved mother, much less someone who is paying you.

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    1. It bothers me that people think that being pregnant again makes all our grief go away and somehow easier to see or hear about others babies. I am blown away that a therapist said that to you and I’m hoping you dropped them!

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  4. I nodded my head the entire time. I’ve lost babies, adopted twice, have two IVF babies, and a terminally ill daughter. Grieving is a real and intense process. Infertility is something that leaves lasting scars for years to come. Many hugs from this mama who was in those trenches.

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