Sitting here alone in the dark, while baby Jack sleeps in his car seat in the next room (hey, never wake a happily sleeping baby!), I was thinking about a couple good friends who are going through a very rough time right now. We heard this morning that their baby isn't going to make it. The pregnancy was more than 20 weeks along, but there was an issue with the kidneys, and the lungs will not develop.
It got hubby and I thinking back to 2009. "What's the right thing to say to him or her?" he asked me. I know he was thinking about how broken we were after losing two pregnancies that year. Unfortunately, there is no 'one size fits all' response to a loss. When I lost the first baby at around ten weeks, I messaged the people who knew on Facebook and told them that we'd lost the baby, and I didn't want to talk about it. Thank goodness for the internet, where I can announce the loss and end all discussion of it.
The second baby we lost that year was a very private loss. I was only around five weeks pregnant, so hardly anyone knew there was a loss at all. In some ways that made it easier, but it some ways it was even worse to not be able to mourn that baby we'd never have.
As hard as it is immediately following a loss, I remember much more vividly the hopeless feeling that follows, if you're still trying to conceive again. And I remember feeling like I was cheating the beautiful son I have now of the happy pregnancy I had with his sister. When I was finally pregnant for the fourth time, with the second child I'd have, I had a really hard time believing it was real. I resented the things I had to do to take care of myself, because I kept expecting the pregnancy to end at any moment, without a baby in my arms.
But this may be nothing like the feelings our friends are having now. The answer I gave to my husband was to ask his friend if he wanted to talk about it, or avoid it, or if there was anything we could do or deal with for them to help. I've always thought the golden rule shouldn't be to treat others as you want to be treated, but instead to treat them as they want to be treated. Such a deep, personal loss is very complicated to deal with, and no two people will come through it changed in the same way.
My thoughts and prayers are with our friends tonight. I wish no one ever had to go through such a tragedy.