Aren’t you Over it Yet? You Need to see a Shrink

My own mother suggested that I needed to see a shrink, and I was beginning to think I needed one too. I’d lost our full term baby boy 7 months before, and I guess Mom was tired of  “picking up the pieces”. She’d helped me a lot at that difficult time, minding my two year old, because I was too depressed to care for him.

Mom had never lost a baby herself, but she’d sure had it rough: born in London, she'd survived the Great Depression and then the Blitzkrieg attacks by the Germans a decade later. She was no stranger to fear and trauma.

No, Mom hadn’t had it easy at all. And then, years later, she found herself putting up with my depression.

What Mom didn’t understand – what she could not have understood – was that pregnancy and infant loss is the worst kind of grief, so it takes us so much longer to get over. A preacher once said, “The hardest thing in life is when your child dies. And if you never got to enjoy your baby’s life, it’s all the worse.” Mom simply didn’t know this.

And at the time, I really thought there was something wrong with me. I’d lost two grandparents by then. I’d lost my pet dog. I’d even lost a friend who died in a car accident. These were all terrible losses, but I hadn’t grieved for months and months on end. Not like with the twins. When I lost my babies, I felt like I was teetering on the windy edge of a huge, black abyss. I felt completely alone: like I was about to tip over into the vast, cold nothingness. It was awful.

What I would like to say to caring friends and family out there is: if you’ve never lost a baby, I don’t expect you to know how awful it feels. But please respect that it takes a surprisingly long time to get over. Like the preacher said, it’s ‘the hardest thing in life.’ It just is, so it just takes time.

Does a grieving parent really need to see a shrink? In most cases, I doubt it. No, more than anything, she needs time to heal, and compassion from her family and friends. Don’t expect her to get over it, overnight.

How can I try to explain this? Let’s see…Think of this comparison: Isn’t it peculiar that the whole world is allowed to mourn Princess Diana or Elvis – for years and years and years after their deaths -- yet they expect us to abandon our babies’ memories within a few short months? Sure we may have idolized famous people who had a big impact on our lives -- but we didn’t have close, personal relationships with them!! With a baby, on the other hand, there is no relationship as deeply personal; there is simply none so close. If the loss of the “King” or the Princess made such a great impact on you, imagine how huge the impact would be of losing your own baby. You’re right. It’s unfathomable.

I hope this article helps to explain why it takes us so long to heal.

Thank you very much for visiting this website. It’s good friends and kind family like you that the world needs more of.

Comments (2)

Said this on 03-06-09 At 04:11 am
Thank you. I had to have a D&E at 20wks 11 months ago and am still a wreck some days but, unless they've had it happen to them, no one seems to understand. And they certainly don't want to still see you upset about it or hear you talk about it. Some people just don't understand that we will NEVER be "over it."
Said this on 27-12-09 At 03:52 pm
Thank-you for helping all friends and family to have a glimpse of how terrible this loss is and how important patience and understanding and love are. As a Grandmother of a full term stillborn, it is hard to watch my daughter suffer this terrible loss, and miss my sweet little grandson every day as well.
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