Other people's feelings suck.

Friday, 9 June 2017

I'm never sure what to do about other people's feelings. Sometimes I want to be considerate, but most of the time (now) I realise that taking care of and protecting myself is much more important. After my losses I have come to be far less tolerant of things, and that has mostly come in the form of being less tolerant of other people and their attitudes.



(me. all the time now.)

I understand feeling sad, and feeling jealous and bitter. I have had my fair share of sad. I have had my fair share of jealousy and bitterness, too. But, damn! There's nothing more irritating than having to deal with your own emotions while also having to tiptoe around other people's too. Expending emotional energy for others when I'm having trouble keeping on top of my own problems? Nope. Not gonna happen.


One. We, as those that have suffered losses, have enough to deal with without having to be fearful about posting updates on new pregnancies and our own happinesses for fear of making other people upset. We're allowed to be happy, too.

I have found some people don't like that. Why actively begrudge someone for being happy? Sure, we are jealous when others are pregnant and we are not, because we want so much to be nurturing life of some kind within ourselves and our arms, but that doesn't mean that we are bitter about it. Just after both my losses I stopped talking to certain people, out of sadness. Their happiness at conceiving or having their children, while I was glad for them, was difficult for me to process. I would never have wished what I had been through on another person, but it was hard. It came under the umbrella of why me, and what did I do wrong? I quietly unfollowed people that I couldn't deal with if I didn't know them, and if I did I messaged them and explained why I would be unfollowing them and that it was nothing to do with them. That was my burden to carry, not theirs, and so I dealt with it, I did not expect them to.

When a close friend of mine told me she was pregnant just as I miscarried I was upset, obviously, I'm human, but I was happy for her. I was happy because I knew how happy she was.

Two. There are the so ungrateful people.

Why should I not complain about being achy and tired in pregnancy just because someone else is having trouble conceiving? They will think at least you are pregnant, naturally, and I used to think the same, but I'd not point it out to them. Pregnancy can suck sometimes. When people complained about their children and babies in the aftermath of Ezra's death, I thought at least you have them, but I also realised that children can be monsters, and babies can be tiring. Parenting is tiring. So why begrudge somebody for complaining, for being tired? What does that add to your life?

Nothing.

More importantly, why vague post on social media about it like they're not going to see it? You're just being a real asshole.

Three. There's the other people, the people who don't understand loss and so on. The people who don't quite like talking about losses – and this isn't just amongst normal people, this is beyond widespread. For example, the BBC have refused to show the movie Stillborn, Still Loved on television under the excuse, first, that "nobody would want to see that". Too graphic, despite everything else that's on television these days, a true showing of grief and of a baby that has died is too much. This is a classic example of shoving something under the carpet in order to protect the feelings of those whose feelings haven't even been hurt rather than showing solidarity with those that are hurting. (You can actively try to convince them otherwise here.)


I have found that this taking care of others comes in a multitude of forms, one saying "when" when we really mean "if". If you have lost a pregnancy or a baby we know that nothing is guaranteed. We want to say "if all goes well" because we know that it might not, a pregnancy is no guarantee of a baby, and a birth is no guarantee. A lot of people say that they'll only stop worrying when they're holding their baby in their arms but we know even this doesn't mean anything. More often than not we just don't, we say "when". Sure, we buy the clothes, we dream, but I don't think we ever truly believe.

We compromise when we shouldn't have to. All of this, I have realised, is a very difficult thing for people to understand. When you've suffered a loss people don't understand grief and they don't understand that your primary concern is you and not them. They want it to be them, sort of. They want you to be okay and some people will refuse to deal with the fact that you're not, that grief doesn't just go away with time. It's not often that people take care of themselves before others (put your oxygen mask on before helping others). We've become very conscious of trying not to hurt anyone, even when their actions and/or words hurt us, so we don't tell them they've hurt us for fear of hurting them. Stupid, right?

Most of all, what I have learned from these experiences, is to just deal with myself. I can't spend time trying to make other people feel better when they make so little effort with me. Fuck them. Some people think that's selfish, my grief is selfish, but their attitudes are even more selfish, and their attitudes are cruel. Fuck them for trying to make me feel that I'm not "getting better" in their time and on their watch, grief has no timeline, grieving for your child has no timeline. Fuck them for making us feel as if our emotions and our responses are uncalled for.

I've been called "dramatic", "stupid" and "bitchy" by my own family in response to the way I've acted, or the things I've said (that were so, so far from those thing). I've done things to try and make them feel better when they have done nothing for me, and I'd not be surprised if those reading that have had a loss can relate. How many times have you regulated your language to avoid hurting someone's feelings? How many times have you said "no" in response to "do you have any children?" just because you don't want someone else to feel awkward, and then later felt like you'd betrayed the memory of your child just for the stupid sake of someone else?

People acting like this makes us feel like we're not normal for thinking things and feeling a certain way. For example, I sometimes think that I'd give all this up, everything I have right now, to have Ezra back. Now, how many people are going to think that I thus don't deserve to have this baby? Loads probably, but fuck you. What do you know? When this baby is born I like to think that that will change, but I'm certain that at times I'll still think that. I'm going to long for the idealised version of my baby. I'm going to long for Ezra, who slept peacefully, and easily, every night, woke up twice, and didn't fuss for the most part, when this baby is screaming at me for a reason I can't figure out. And that's fine.

I'm going to look at her and I'm going to see the place where my son should be, and I'll think I shouldn't have a five month old, my son should be turning two, and that's fine, too. Perfectly normal.

Because, you know what? At the end of the day, all of this is tough. It's all difficult. Pregnancy is tough, and pregnancy after loss is even tougher. Having a newborn is tough, but having a newborn after you've held yours after they've passed away is even tougher. Having a baby is tough, having a baby when you're so careful about how you think and what you do is even tougher. Why let someone else make it even harder for you?

I can pretty much guarantee that even if another loss parent judges you for any of this it's because they've thought it themselves. They're projecting because they can't face those things in themselves. And they're just being dickheads. And if anyone who hasn't suffered a loss judges you, tell them to go sit and spin.

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