Supporting the Bereaved

She stands at the foot of my bed and stares.

I see her there. She is pulling on her scrub top and avoiding my eyes. I feel her anxiety radiate and fill the room. She is young, so young or perhaps I am old and wise after the last week. She hides behind my chart, I wonder what she is seeing. Fetal demise? HELLP syndrome? Subcapsular hematoma? Nervously she shuffles and half smiles at me before unintelligibly saying she is “going to be right back.”

Sure, I think. Just don’t bring back the nurse that cries.

The one that clung my shoulders and sobbed, saying she has three babies and she cannot IMAGINE losing one. Must be nice. I have one, I lost one. Why does she get three? She sobbed and buried her head into my neck saying how lucky I am to be alive. If this is what lucky feels like, I sure do not want to be unlucky. I patted her back and told her it was okay. Me! Telling her it would be okay. In retrospect that may have been the stupidest thing anyone has said ever in the history of life itself.

It isn’t okay. I am not okay. Me comforting her is not okay.

All the rules seem smashed to smithereens now. Up is down, left is right, wrong is now my existence and I see the panic in the eyes of those around me trying to help me having no idea how. Babies aren’t supposed to die. I am the pariah, the freak, the outsider officially evicted from the living baby club and they have no idea what to do with me.

I wish someone could help me. I wish someone knew what to say to help take away this pain. I wish I weren’t so alone.

This is an actual journal entry I wrote after coming home after my daughter Ava died. After my liver bruised and ruptured, my life imploded into trauma and upheaval. I had a wonderful support system often whom knew the exact right thing to say and how to support me. I also fell victim to many whom did not. “Supporting the Bereaved Through Infant Loss and Trauma” is a workshop for birth workers designed by a loss Mama and trained counselor. Learn how to support families from the perspective of a patient. Gain effective strategies to help ease this heavy time and to end the cycle of trauma. Learn what to say, what not to say, and how to assist honouring their loss through memorials.