It’s weird, and unpredictable, what happens to relationships after your baby dies. I’ve felt what I have found is common for BLM (baby loss moms). It’s been surprise, disappointment, and a stronger bond with those whom you never expected.
I have been disappointed by some who I thought I could count on, and surprised by a stronger bond that has been developed with others.
After your baby dies it affects EVERY single personal relationship you have. Family, friends, coworkers, dentist, PCP, all the way to the clerk at the grocery store to the person that cuts your hair, threads your eyebrows, or does your mani/pedi. Some people hurt you with what they perceive as kind words. I truly appreciate those who have taken the time to ask, or even look up, what to say.
I have found that the most comforting words are the most simple. “I’m sorry,” or even, “I don’t know what to say.” Even more surprising to me are the times that I have found that I have needed to comfort the other person, when they cry, or keep stumbling over what to say. I never imagined that I would need to comfort other people after my baby died. It is happening less now, as everyone else has moved on and I am stuck in the middle of this muddy quicksand, trying to trudge forward so that I am not sucked down whole. Now all I hear is, “You look great! Oh, you are really small again!” I manage a smile and keep moving, when all I really want is the newly postpartum body that I should have now.
My smiles still feel fake. I have heard months 4-6 are the hardest after your baby dies and I am just shy of 3 months. I have found myself scouring the internet for remembrance sites: baby names in the sand, on the sidewalk, on bricks, Molly Bears, in a church in New York. I have signed up for everything, and am looking for frames so that I can put them up all around the house. I am terrified that she will be forgotten, since everyone else already has forgotten her. I bring her up and people walk away, or make THAT face (BLM, you know the face I am talking about). So my plan is to put her name everyone so I know she mattered, and will be remembered.
The other night I was looking up how to post links for resources (all the Remembrance sites I found) for this blog, as well as looking for a new header and so on. I looked over at Alex, sitting on the side of the couch, quietly watching TV. Right then I knew, and understood. Statistics say 80% of couples break up after the death of a child, and in the beginning I wondered how that was possible. After all, they are the other half of your child, the other parent, the one person who loves your baby as much as you do. Alex has been a steady rock for me, and has always been open in his grieving for Emily. But as I sat here obsessing about my blog, and remembering her, I forgot about him and understood how grief can overwhelm a person, and shut the other out. I promptly closed my laptop and moved to snuggle with him and we watched the movie together.
Relationship are important, and need to be maintained. I am grateful for the ones I have that will last a lifetime.