Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"How do you cope?" – A mile in my shoes

I've never filled one of these out before, but something about this one just drew me in. Maybe it's how personal the questions are.

Lately when I look around at all the tough situations people are in – abusive relationships, deaths in the family, special needs, financial woes – I think that if we all put our problems into a pile in the middle of the room and got to choose whichever ones we wanted to go home with, we'd all take our own problems back again. No one's problems are "easier" or "less significant" than anyone else's. And no one would judge anyone else if we'd walked a mile in each other's shoes.

Here's what Rebecca of Here Come the Girls posted about her "A Mile in My Shoes" Carnival:

"I often wonder how people cope with the difficulties they are presented with.  Or rather how I would cope in those situations. When I think about the single mums and dads, the people who have lost a parent, the children with an unexpected medical diagnosis or emotional and behavioural problems, I often think I wouldn’t be able to do it, without really thinking about what it is. It’s very hard to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and think what it must really be like. Yet that is what blogging does so brilliantly. You get to look into other people homes and into their hearts. It’s the perfect opportunity to share some stories, hopefully in a positive way. People are amazing. It’s incredible what we can cope with and I want to be able to celebrate that."

Here are my answers to Rebecca's questions:

1. What is it about your life which has made someone ask how do you cope?

I have lost four pregnancies; three early miscarriages and a stillbirth.

2. What is the best thing about the situation?

I think the best thing is the perspective it's given me on life. I really appreciate what I have and I even appreciate what I've been through because I recognize that it's brought me to where I am and made me who I am today.

3. What is the hardest thing?

The hardest thing is people not getting it. They think that losing a pregnancy is not the same as losing a baby. Well, they were all my babies and I loved them and they all died. Don't judge me for being sad about that. They also think I should just "get over it" and "be thankful for what I have." 
Here's what I have to say about that.

4. What gets you through the day?

Hope. Before I had kids all I could do was hope that one day I would. Now my kids ARE my hope for the future. I get up in the morning because of my kids and every night when I go to sleep, I know I will get up again tomorrow because of them.
When you lose hope, you lose all reason to live.

5. What would you change if you could?

I don't think I would change the fact that babies die. I know I wouldn't change the fact that mine did.

I think what I would change is the amount of information and support that women have available to them. And I am working to change that. When a woman loses a child, she doesn't have the time or the presence of mind to research all the things she needs to know. She doesn't think of the fact that if she doesn't hold him now, she will never have the opportunity again and she may always regret it. It doesn't occur to her to take a picture so that when the memory fades, she will always have something to look at to recall what her baby looked like. She doesn't realize that she should name him now because it's her only "official" opportunity. She has no way of knowing that there will be no grave for her to visit if she doesn't speak up now and interfere with the hospital's SOP. And when she gets home, she feels utterly alone because she doesn't know who to talk to or anyone who can possibly understand what it feels like or where to even begin the healing process.

6. What piece of advice would you give to someone finding themselves in your situation?

Let go of the "why." You will never be able to accept the situation and move on if you keep asking why this happened to you, why this happened to your baby.

I have come to the conclusion that there is a reason, and it must be a good reason, that things happen the way they do. Whatever that reason is, it is bigger than me and bigger than anything I can comprehend. I choose to let go and just accept the fact that that I may never understand. Knowing that there is a reason is enough for me; I don't have to know what that reason is.

(The "A Mile In My Shoes" Carnival will be published on July 23rd and there will be a link to it here so you can find all the other entries.)


  1. That is such a brave and heartfelt post. I hope it wasn't too difficult to write and perhaps helped in someway. I'm hoping that people are talking about miscarriages and stillbirths more. It seemed like something which was never discussed in the past, almost like a guilty secret and I can't see how that's a good thing. I know talking and writing about it isn't going to change a thing but if it can make others understand or you feel better, even just a little bit, then that has to be a good thing.

    Anyway I think it's amazing and I hope other people who are or have been in the same situation get to read it.

  2. Thanks, Rebecca. It really does help to write about it. I have started a support group and am working on starting an organization to provide information and support both in and out of hospital because it is so severely lacking.

    I definitely have learned a lot and grown a lot from each of my losses and I recognize the fact that it took all four of them to get me to the point where I felt I had to take this initiative.

    It is clearly an important subject to so many people. I linked to a post on my other blog, which got 3 times as many likes and 10 times as many comments as any other post.

  3. Breaks my heart to read about your experiences. No woman has to go through this.

  4. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your comment.

  5. I didn't know you had had a stillbirth although I knew you had had miscarriages. When I had a late miscarriage I didn't realize how common it is. I think my experience with this was different from yours - I sort of shut down all emotion on the subject.

    A stillbirth must be one of the cruelest tricks of nature. I'm so sorry you had to go through it. I'm glad you wrote about it as it gives me even more understandong of who you are. Hugs xxx.

  6. Thanks.
    I have not read all your old posts about TTC. I want to go back and read your story.