I’ve written about people in our life that have reached out in support after we lost the twins, especially those that realized this isn’t an experience we’re likely to “get over” quickly. I try to focus on the supportive ones as opposed to those who said nothing or made (usually unintentionally) hurtful comments. But there are two that I have trouble getting over.

One is a former colleague who got pregnant via IUI after a long time of trying – and then had bleeding and preterm contractions starting when she was 4 months along. She spent most of her pregnancy on bedrest and I know she was terrified of losing her baby, but eventually she did bring home her son at full term. She never responded to our announcement email. A little later I found out that she’s on maternity leave again. And I couldn’t help but wonder, “I lived your nightmare. Is it too much to ask to just reach out, say that you’re sorry, something? Anything?”.

The other is the one of my many cousins I’d say I am closest to. She had trouble getting pregnant with her first, but got lucky just before looking into treatments, after more than two years of trying. She, too, never responded. She’s the daughter of these wonderful people and I simply cannot imagine that she doesn’t think of us, feel for us.

Then this week I got a facebook message from another relative on yet another continent. If she could come and visit, and that she hoped everything was great. While I’ve been off facebook since the girls died, because I cannot quite figure out what to say, and I’m not willing to go back without saying anything, there was a theoretical possibility that she didn’t know. But she had known I was pregnant and due last February, and her brother had sent me some very kind texts. So when I finally answered, I wrote that we’re still very sad about losing our daughters, but that we’re hoping to bring home a living baby later this year. And then she answered almost immediately, how sorry she still is for our loss, that she’d been through an early loss herself but just didn’t know what to say.

And now I feel comforted and upset at the same time. Comforted that she, and likely the others too, didn’t forget our loss. I know that it’s hard to find something to say. But, if you contact me for some other reason, why not start by acknowledging that things are likely not as we dreamed* they would be?

* I’ve probably said this before, but given everything that happened last year, being where we are now is pretty much a dream situation. But it still is a dream with a lot of scary potential. Even “it’s complicated” doesn’t quite do it justice.


8 thoughts on “silence

  1. I would like to start some public service announcements about etiquette and grief. Common, people! Get your head out of your own asses and get with the program! This isn’t about YOU and YOU not knowing about what to say- it’s about supporting the OTHER person.

    I’ll get off my high horse now.

    I deep down believe that these people will experience loss themselves one day and say a) boy I was a jerk (btw I think I’m in that camp) or b) they’ll be so alone and even more devastated with their own losses bc they don’t know what good support feels like to even seek it out or c) they will be supported and go on with their lives, remaining completely absorbed in themselves.

    I think supporting someone is a learned skill that people get better with as they practice more.

    It’s a reminder to me that If I ever get kids of my own I don’t want to shield them from every bad thing. I want them to learn how to cope with life’s disappointments and help other people through theirs too.

    Eek. I ended up back on the horse. Time to sign off.

  2. Hugs, I have several friends who have been the same way. After quitting Facebook no one bothered to keep tabs on me so happily I dropped off the face of the earth. What I realise now is how hurtful it is for them not to have reached out. I managed without them when I needed them mist though so I’ll find it difficult to ever let them back in again. In sorry you’re going through the same thing. xx

  3. I feel that etiquette was, in fact, invented to deal with difficult situations by providing a set of socially-appropriate things to say. “I’m so sorry for your loss; how awful”, for example.

    But- and this is not to excuse this behavior in any way – I think people make excuses to themselves, or they don’t know how to deal with their feelings (or both). People look away from the deaths of children because they can’t think of anything more tragic. I’ve seen people pretend losses and stillbirths didn’t happen as a kind of magical thinking: if they deny it, it can’t happen to them or to their loved ones.

  4. It’s hard when the people in our circles or real life world don’t acknowledge or step up as we need and want them to. I understand they don’t know what to say, but sometimes that doesn’t make me feel any better either. I wish they understood what it is we need from them to feel supported.

  5. Seems like there are a lot of these feelings going around lately. I try to think back and wonder how I, before my infertility days, might have felt or reacted upon hearing that someone suffered a loss like this. Unfortunately I think culturally we aren’t taught to deal with it like other forms of loss and hence we clam up. I am least glad that I know better now, and could offer that support in real life if needed, as well as to my friends online.

  6. Oh silence. It’s so horrible, and while all the things said above are true, and I’ve said before how completely I suck at this stuff in real life, these people have failed you, and you have every right to be saddened (or whatever you feel). Maybe some day you can repair the damage to the relationships you care about. If it’s any comfort, these people are all probably feeling terrible guilty and pathetic for not being able to find a way to support you! But why would that be any comfort…

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