One of the hardest things about being a bereaved baby loss parent has been the pregnancy announcements and how to deal with those.
Always the Bridesmaid
There was a scene in the 2011 movie Bridesmaids which best describes how I currently feel. Where Annie completely loses her cool at her best friend Lillian’s bridal shower. Annie squashes the giant cookie and practically had what can only be described as a mud fight with that chocolate fountain. She threw several f-bombs when she realised that Helen (another, far richer, far sexier bridesmaid) had stolen all her ideas and made it her own.
Annie eventually left that party in a total huff, upsetting Lillian and all her guests. She blamed Helen and even Lillian for the way she reacted. Everything just became a bowl of contention with Annie swimming right in the middle of it. Well, I’ve been feeling a lot like Annie lately.
Since I lost my daughter five years ago, I’ve dealt with pregnancy announcements in two ways. I either go extreme and keep away from the mother and child. One family member eventually showed up at my door and I had no place to hide. If it isn’t that, I tend to plaster on a brave face for everyone. I go along with everything. The showers, baby talk and such, only to lie cradled in my husband’s arms later crying my heart and soul.
I ask myself why me? Why did my baby die? Why people didn’t understand when I didn’t want to be a part of their celebrations. I tend to spend a few days like that, promising never to put myself through that again, and then, I go right back to being Annie. Getting involved in everything, hating it, but not having the guts to admit it.
Putting other people’s feelings before yours
Maybe it’s the fear of hurting their feelings, or having them accuse me of being selfish or jealous. Whatever it is, I sit in my sad hole alone, and I let the world bury me in. They toss in the mud, covering me and all I can do is lie in a fetal position until I’m buried alive.
Annie learned that she needed to come clean. It was destroying her friendship with Lillian and it was standing in her way of moving forward. Of course she was happy for her best friend. But that didn’t change the fact that she was sad too because of her own struggles. She should have been upfront from the onset that the whole wedding thing was difficult for her to deal with, after what she’d been through in her past relationship. Yes her friend knew these things but sometimes, people unintentionally forget.
The admission of sadness is what it all comes down to. Own the fact that you’re not okay. Admit that you miss your baby, that this is a trigger. It does not make you a bad person. On the contrary, it is pivotal to you finding any sense of peace. The truth is this, pregnancies will inevitably happen in your family. The world is full of families, procreating and growing.
I shared my feelings about my friends pregnancy announcement with some of my baby loss friends. It was evident that we’ve all had to deal with the pregnancies, the birth of live babies, the joy they feel not knowing how strong the stench of death is, or the weight of it in your arms, or the silence of it.
Take the mask and costume off
In truth, it does nobody any good to sit back and pretend that your heart doesn’t ache. I have decided not to wear the costume of a bitter bridesmaid anymore, and be real out of respect for my child and respect for my heart and soul.
I hope this post will encourage you to do the same.