As we approach Emma's six month birthday I am at a point where I am able to look back and reflect a little. I am also able to see that others' interactions with and approaches to my grief have changed. In light of that, here are some things I want you to know:
1. I want you to acknowledge my baby. She was real and is my child. I want the opportunity to speak about my child like you do yours. If I'm having a bad day and don't want to talk about something I'll let you know.
2. I will never be my "old self" again. If you're waiting for that to happen you are going to be waiting a long time. I will welcome joy, hope, and light into my life again, but I will always be a new version of myself.
3. It's okay that I am still mourning my baby's death. There is nothing wrong with me. My baby died and I am sad.
4. I want you to give me the opportunity to say no. Don't exclude me from things because you think I'm not up to it, or because every single time before I've said no. Parenting a baby that has died is a lonely and isolated place, and if you don't include me I feel worse.
5. Everything in my life has been redefined. My marriage, friends, family, self-image, faith, values, priorities, career, and goals. Be patient with me while I figure things out.
6. I still need to know you care. As time goes on and I seem more "okay" on the outside, there is still a gaping hole on the inside. I don't want to feel like you have forgotten.
7. The death of your baby is a profound, life altering loss. There is nothing like it and no way to understand it unless you have lived it. Its okay for you to say that you don't know what to say or do, but that you are there for me in any way I need.
I hope that this list helps to validate you as a grieving parent, or gives you insight as the friend or family member of a grieving parent.
Peace and Light,