It Must be Easier that You Have Other Children

Dave and I were blessed with two living children before I miscarried our third. A few years later, we had another healthy baby.

So well intentioned people often end up minimizing our miscarriage, by reminding us we’re lucky to have living children. They’re right of course: we are very fortunate. But I have learned that it’s no easier for us than for parents who lose their first baby. I have several friends in either situation, and it seems to be just as tough either way.

In fact friends, who have lost their first baby, have empathized with Dave and I: that (unlike them) we couldn’t just take time off, try to sleep in, focus on ourselves, and cry whenever the grief hit us.

It was so hard to keep a brave face. And it took every ounce of energy I had to get up and be there for my children.

I seemed to be forever brushing tears off of my cheeks, hoping that my girls wouldn’t see them. Life went on: lunches had to be made, hundreds of innocent questions (4 year olds are so inquisitive!) had to be answered, etc. But I was often irritable and snappy. So then I was overcome with guilt about my behaviour, and wondering how my children could cope with that.

Our younger child got the whooping cough just 10 days after I miscarried and I nearly ‘lost it’. There were times when I was in ‘autopilot’ through the day until Dave came home. Then I could finally curl up in a ball on our bed, and be as sad as I felt.

Our grief is compounded by our desperation to be better parents to our living children, and by our guilt about being far less than perfect at the time. With such agonising grief, we struggle to deal with anything, and we feel so guilty for not being the parent our children deserve.

So if your friend or family member has lost a baby but is blessed with living children, please don’t tell them that it must be easier that they have other kids. It isn’t.

And if you’re a parent in this situation, please be gentle with yourself: I hope my article has shown you that the guilt, grief and desperation you feel are all normal. I also hope you believe me when I say that it will actually get better with time. It just doesn’t feel like it right now.


Comments (1)

Jessica
Said this on 26-02-09 At 02:28 am
After my first born daughter passed away, I had a friend come up to me and say " don't worry you can have more children". I have never been so angry in my life. It's not the point: I lost my baby! Anyway, you are right: just because I have my son doesn't make my losses any easier!
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