Guts over fear

Guts over fear

I think in some respects I thought hoped bringing Margs into the world would heal me. I mean, why wouldn’t it? We tried to bring a living child into this world for years before we were blessed to finally meet her. Her birth should have repaired those millions of broken pieces of my heart. But, it simply didn’t.

I often tell people who are facing a fresh loss that they’ll adapt somehow and find a “new normal”. That “new normal” is different for everyone but once you get to that place, it’s essentially existing in a space of acceptance and continued living by simply putting one tiny foot in front of the other. My new normal does not mean I’m always okay ( I doubt I ever will be) nor does it mean I’ll ever understand what has happened. But, I have accepted that I’m powerless to change my past and that however tragic- this is what the universe decided to hand me.

shattered

Parenting after loss is hard. I’m so incredibly grateful to have been blessed with the opportunity to even be facing these issues and I know all too well that there are loss-mommas out there who are still fighting to meet their rainbow and get the opportunity to step foot into my reality. But nonetheless, parenting a rainbow is far more difficult than I ever imagined because some days it tests me in ways I never thought possible.

“Is this your first?” asked a fellow play group mom.

“What an incredibly loaded question” I thought to myself “what do I tell her – do I tell her the truth?” and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. That all too familiar feeling – flushed face, heart pounding out of my chest, forehead beading with sweat despite feeling freezing cold. I was having a panic attack.

You see, being put in a situation where I either have to tell the story or have to lie makes me uncomfortable. There’s no grey area here folks; my options are limited to truth or lie. No in-between exists when faced with these types of questions.

rainbow

I could have told her that Margs was my first. I could have saved that woman the burden of being forced to face the enormity of my grief. I could have kept it all to myself and pretended it never happened sparing myself the emotional energy required to broach the topic again. But, I decided to be honest regardless of how difficult it was to do so.

“No, Margs is my only living child” I replied.

Such a simple response made me realize that all those times I’ve lied (and yes, I’ve lied far more times than I’d like to admit) were fueled by the fear that my story would inconvenience and burden others. I’d lie and then agonize over denying the existence of my 5 other babies which forced me into a guilt cycle that was difficult to shake.

The truth might be uncomfortable to hear. It might very well be scary to some. It might not be the response a curious individual was expecting but, it’s my reality and the reality of an astounding number of women who for a plenitude of reasons lie just like I did.

candles

It took guts to face my fear of telling the story to a stranger. In that moment something finally clicked – my journey to motherhood albeit atypical and stained by heartache is a story worth telling. This precious baby girl that I get the honor and privilege to tuck into bed each night is my miracle – she is my rainbow after a very long and dark storm. Her earthly presence is cherished in ways that words will never adequately express but regardless, her presence does not heal the heartache and void created by her heavenly siblings.

I opted to make a vow that day – a vow to tell the story honestly anytime I’m faced with those types of questions. For the first time, I faced my fear head on and proudly came out on the other side.

I’m a proud loss mum and this is my story to tell.

QOD

Loss mommas, have you lied? Why or why not?

Friends, would you want to know the truth?

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45 Comments

  1. April 3, 2017 / 7:40 am

    Good that you can honestly open up about.

    Yes, life is full with tragedies and “inconveniences” (although, this is not that category), but I rather have the truth whenever possible. Many would want to live in clouds and rainbows and can’t easily accept life’s darkness, so they feel inconvenienced when they are told about. I accepted long ago, and understand, this makes me able to talk about very sensitive subjects, awful things with others, without any bad, weird, doubtful response, just open to them. People need to talk in depths and stop being shallow and/or fearing.

    • April 3, 2017 / 8:22 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this Robert. I’m so glad to hear that you value hearing the truth. It really validates why I feel like honesty is the best solution even though it might make some people uncomfortable.

  2. April 3, 2017 / 7:44 am

    For clarifying, when i said this is not that category, I meant, not an inconvenience nor should be to listen to or talk about.

    • April 3, 2017 / 8:22 am

      I understood! I call them bumps in the road!

  3. April 3, 2017 / 8:11 am

    I have a similar struggle but mine is I will never have any more. When people ask ‘will you have another one?’ I often lie and say we don’t want any more, it’s like I feel ashamed when I shouldn’t do. I have started slowly telling people but only some and I still feel nervous putting people in that situation so they don’t know how to react.

    • April 3, 2017 / 8:21 am

      It’s so so hard isn’t it? Do you feel like you’re somehow forcing people to “deal” with your situation when you tell them? I feel that way often and for the longest time I felt ashamed because it was a burden ya know?

      I get asked this often too. My answer hovers between “nope, we’re one and done” to “well technically we’d like another but not sure if it’s possible”.

      • April 3, 2017 / 10:04 am

        So hard! Yes I feel like I’m putting them in a difficult place when it’s easier to just lie. I meet a lot of new people at work and I never tell the full story, I don’t like to see people with how they react and sometimes feel sorry for me. I don’t want that so it’s a really tough one.

        • April 3, 2017 / 10:12 am

          That pity look right?

          • April 3, 2017 / 12:30 pm

            That’s the one! I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not but I don’t know a single person in the same situation and sometimes I just wish I did to know how they deal with it.

  4. April 3, 2017 / 8:33 am

    I am often torn between what to tell people when asked questions like this. If I feel strong that day, I will tell them about Evalyn. I too felt guilty that I would somehow burden that person with my own troubles. . . But then I think ‘how easy it is for someone to pressume the answer will be a happy one.” I think that if they are not prepared for my answer, then they shouldn’t have asked in the first place. If someone asks a question, they should prepare themselves for any response. And we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about burdening others.People so freely talk about their living children, it should only be right that we have the same freedom to talk about the children we have lost. xxx

    • April 3, 2017 / 9:36 am

      I was hoping you’d chime in <3 I thought a lot about you while I was writing this.

      You're absolutely right – we're not burdening others by telling the truth.

      I sincerly hope you are met with nothing but love and support when you talk about your sweet Evalyn <3

  5. April 3, 2017 / 8:48 am

    I tell the truth by saying, the only child i have to hold. I always thought it would stop questions if it made someone uncomfortable. 90% of the time the follow up is, are you going to have more? Which angers me because it feels like an insensitive response to what I have provided. My answer to that is, it was a long broken road to get M here with us, we are just thankful we have her.

    • April 3, 2017 / 9:34 am

      This is so hard to deal with. Doesn’t it feel like somehow having more is thought to somehow replace the lost child? That’s how I perceive it anyway which is another conversation altogether.

      You’re word choice is so beautiful, simple and on point. So much love coming your way lady, I’m so sorry for your loss.

      • April 3, 2017 / 10:39 am

        I’m sorry for yours. We know dozens of babies wouldn’t replace our loss. Just like mothers that have a second (third, fourth…) children to hold know that their heart grows bigger you don’t run out of love.

        Thank you for opening up these topics for us!

        • April 3, 2017 / 11:41 am

          thank YOU for reading <3

  6. April 3, 2017 / 9:21 am

    I would always rather hear the truth. It is a hardship that you went through and through those experiences you have become the person you are today. I agree that with a simple statement like you said if someone feels uncomfortable or inconvenienced (which they shouldn’t) they can choose not to pursue any details.

    I think the main question should be what will be the most helpful to you. Will sharing your story, even through a simple response, allow you to be free of the guilt cycle? Or will it open up the wounds and cause you to regress in you stages of grief? Everyone is at a different point in their story.

    • April 3, 2017 / 9:33 am

      Thank you so much. It’s so nice to hear that you’d rather hear the truth.

      I think part of the issue (for me anyway) is assuming that the person I’m communicating with will feel uncomfortable. Sure, there have been situations where my story was received with insensitive comments – but, more often than not a simple statement gets the message across and I’m met with nothing but support and love.

      • April 3, 2017 / 9:36 am

        All you should ever be met with is support and love. It is sad that there are people that don’t understand that. I have been blessed to never face that particular battle but I have friends and family going through it on a day to day basis. I can’t imagine being anything but supportive to their needs at each stage.

        • April 3, 2017 / 9:38 am

          I don’t necessarily feel that it’s ever done with ill intention ya know?

          There was once a woman who told me that “at least I have Margs which sould help me feel whole again”. Those words weren’t met with malice (I hope not anyway) but from my perspective it sort of felt like she was implying that having a rainbow somehow heals the void left by losing the others. I opted not to continue with that conversation because I didn’t have the emotional energy that day but it does happen.

          • April 3, 2017 / 9:39 am

            That is true. Sometimes things slip. Hopefully she realized later on how it could be perceived and will remember for the next time.

    • April 4, 2017 / 2:06 pm

      This is such an intimate and private matter. I don’t think of it as a black lie, but I just don’t believe the person has really even thought about what they are asking in many cases. Even when I do tell the whole truth, I don’t think they really wanted that much information. I am careful in my asking others because of my own journey. I love the answer “my only living child” I will use it in the future, but not because I want to explain further. Why do they feel entitled to ask, do you think? Is it just making conversation, or being polite? Why do they expect a person who has suffered to be so open and transparent, especially if they are complete strangers to us? I don’t mean to be ugly or negative, I just have fielded quite a few inappropriate questions and comments in my challenging road to motherhood.

      • April 4, 2017 / 2:13 pm

        That is true. I think until you have personally gone thorough it you don’t think about everything that could lie underneath the question. I think it has just become a common place question like “how are you?” Where people don’t often expect and open honest answer

      • April 4, 2017 / 2:47 pm

        This is interesting! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.

        I’m of the mindset that when people ask the question they do so because it’s so socially acceptable and common. I don’t for one minute think anyone asks that questions anticipating this type of response. I’d also be curious to know if loss moms ask these types of questions – my gut tells me no but I may very well be speaking for myself when I say that I NEVER question people about their situation with regards to children.

        All this to say, if there was less of a taboo around talking about it perhaps this type of answer would become more common thus discouraging people from asking in the first place.

      • April 5, 2017 / 9:28 am

        I do not question people about their situations in regards to their children, either. I think we are much more sensitive than the non-loss mothers/women/people. At least I am. I linger on the questions far too long. I am slowly choosing to let them go, and just enjoy my blessings as they are! I hope we all can do that! Have a wonderful day!

  7. April 3, 2017 / 9:28 am

    This is beautiful and poignant and true. Since I have four earthly children it can be easier to acknowledge their presence rather than “burden others” with the fact that I lost a child. Sometimes I’ll say that I have one in heaven, that I lost a baby before my “fourth” (technically 5th)… but I usually say these things to people I think would take them well, or if I’m in the mood to share.

    Immediately following my miscarriage, I was intensely aware of making it okay – less awkward – for others. And there are those who seem to think losing a tiny baby shouldn’t be a big deal, easier to get over. The reality of others’ opinions and expectations made it that much harder for me. Even now, there are only a select few who will bring it up, and even fewer who will speak the name of my lost child.

    I have tried to make a point of sharing even small bits of my experience when I see a window of opportunity; I think it’s important for others going through the same thing. It shouldn’t be deep, dark, secret, shameful.

    • April 3, 2017 / 9:32 am

      First off, I’m so sorry for your loss.

      So much of this is true. I think their is some level of perceived shame in sharing the story which maybe stems from the fact that child loss is still very much taboo in our society.

      I suppose my hope is that loss-mums share and tell their stories without that fear. Our babies are part of our story and it’s just so important that we share it with the world.

  8. April 3, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    For me it depends on who is asking. I try to acknowledge Ava whenever possible, but I don’t go into detail.

    • April 3, 2017 / 2:08 pm

      Is there a situation where you’d not share? It so what would that be?

  9. April 3, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    My answer to that would be ‘she’s my only child.’ And leave it at that. Many people don’t realise that you’ve not actually answered the question when you phrase it in a certain way. I would be reticent to tell the truth to be honest. I have that same feeling when I have to tell people that my parents are dead. Most don’t notice it when I refer to them in past tense as I still mention my mum in passing and I vague answer if they ask me whether they are getting itchy to marry me off (I’m 28) so I just say ‘no, not yet’ and leave it there, but if I’m with them long enough they will find out. Of course it makes them uncomfortable and it pisses me off to an extent because it sets the tone and I can’t shake it off. I’d imagine it might do for you too to answer that question

    • April 3, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Creepy internet guys headed your way. I noticed in your post about Mother’s Day ❤️

      I think this is a very interesting and valid point of view. If you don’t mind me asking not telling people about your parents is a decision you make to avoid telling the story (I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be) or because like me you’re afraid of somehow telling someone something they aren’t necessarily prepared to hear?

      • April 3, 2017 / 4:48 pm

        Also the response ‘you’re so lucky!’ when I say ‘no I don’t have parental pressure’ or something like that. They don’t realise what it means but I shouldn’t expect them to. As annoyed as I can get, I do have to remember to be patient with other people

        • April 3, 2017 / 6:50 pm

          Wow, yeah – I’m not sure how I’d handle that comment to be honest. I’m just so sorry.

          • April 4, 2017 / 6:38 pm

            Urgh I had that situation today. ‘Do your parents live here then?’ I said yes. ‘Oh that’s nice!’ The person in question has left her family back in Poland and she obviously misses them but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her, she was too nice

          • April 4, 2017 / 6:40 pm

            Aww lady, I’m so sorry <3 Thank you for coming here and sharing this with me.

          • April 5, 2017 / 6:31 am

            You’re giving me a space to rant 😛

  10. April 3, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    I think the first. Really it’s all about me. I care less about them and how they feel now while in the beginning I felt bad for them that they would be so uncomfortable. Now I care less. It’s about my mood and how it affects me. It doesn’t affect them at all if they are passing strangers or colleagues. They don’t have to deal with my moods or emotions on the subject. But I think in your case, it isn’t supposed to be that parents outlive their children. So while people don’t expect it from me as I am still young, they will accept it as normal to a degree compared to your story

    • April 3, 2017 / 6:49 pm

      This is absolutely fair. I’m sure the time will come when I just don’t want to upset myself by talking about it. Some days are better than others and our stregnth waivers ya know?

  11. April 4, 2017 / 7:46 am

    I agree, you should tell the truth. If it makes people uncomfortable, then that’s their issue!

    • April 4, 2017 / 7:52 am

      Thank you for reading!

  12. April 4, 2017 / 8:39 am

    Whoa. This post…I really can’t even put into words all of the things I thought reading this. I think it is extremely important for you to share your story and not feel like you have to lie. I think I would want someone to be honest with me and tell their story, but I can see where it could be too much too. If a person is just asking to make small talk, sharing the story can seem like a bit oversharing. If that person isn’t interested in your life, they aren’t going to be able to grasp the strong emotions that are attached to the situation. Unfortunately people ask about your kids just like how they ask “How’s it going?!” Which is usually a rhetorical question–they don’t care about the answer, they just feel like they have to say some sort of pleasantry to get through the day. When it comes to those people, explaining your loss is probably going to cause more harm than good. That person is going to be put off, and you are going to walk away more hurt because it’s going to be obvious that they really didn’t want to know. Now when it comes to someone who is genuinely asking, that person is going to be able to make a much more engaged connection. Unfortunately so many people out there just spout off questions to be “friendly” but they don’t realize how many different answers there could be. They want a simple yes or no, but everything isn’t packaged that way. Regardless of what others think, you should never have to lie. If you feel like telling your story, and that person doesn’t really care, maybe next time they should consider the question they asked. Everyone’s life isn’t “normal” how they see it. I’m glad you had the courage to say what you needed to say. It’s a tough subject and not something people can grasp if it hasn’t happened to them. Even as much as I feel for you, since it’s never happened to me, I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like for you. I wouldn’t even want to pretend to know that. Your journey is your own, and you are one strong woman for sharing it with all of us. Just always do what feels right for you. If a person can’t handle your story, that’s on them. You’ve had to live it, they can deal with hearing it. 🙂

  13. April 4, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    Don’t have words to put it, I too have a dark past, that I myself don’t want to talk about it myself.

    It’s takes loads and loads of courage, to write it. My prayers are with you to give you that strength courage and will to walk past from this stage of life. And enjoy Mergs every single day of yours to forget all what has happened which unfortunately you can’t remove.

    And I am sure Mergs is one gift of God for all the patience you showed.

    Children are blessings and I guess that’s why everyone who met anyone else doesn’t have obliged to ask to have it without giving up hope. Might be because of this they ask this question in complete ignorance as to what other might feel

  14. April 4, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    You were courageous, and it will inspire others (whether loss moms or not) to live their truth even more fully (and approach real connection with others) rather than sliding by on pleasantries and displays of politeness.

  15. April 5, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    My angel would have been 26 this year. She has 3 living brothers. When I’m asked how many children I have, I can honestly say I have 3 boys. Sometimes I say I had a girl, sometimes not. It depends on the day, the person, my mind at the moment, sometimes whether the sun is shining. But whatever the answer to that very difficult question is, at THAT time, it’s the right answer. It’s taken me 26 years to get to that point though.

    • April 5, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss.

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