There are no magic words. No one tried and true method of how to cope with loss. The loss of a baby is more than the loss of an adult. They both sting, hurt and make you angry, but from personal experience I see loss of a baby (early or late) is harder. With an older person you have memories, even if you only had a year with that person you have them to hold and cherish. You can look back and smile and refeel the warm happy times (grant it this takes time to get to but you have it to get it to). With the loss of a baby you don't have that as much. You might have the happy moment of finding out your pregnant, maybe the happy time of feeling them kick. But your actually memories of them may never consist of more than that, cause their time in being alive maybe didn't even happen for you. For me I had two weeks. Two weeks of time, but that time was spent in worry, fear, and just plain stressed. My baby girl was alive because of tubes and wires and to be honest barely alive. There was a the one happy moment of hearing her cry and the rest looms like a huge cloud blocking out that tiny sliver of sunshine. My miscarriage isn't any better. We had already been through stress with other things, other kinds of heart ache and uneasiness, so to learn the baby we had wanted to much wasn't even given a chance from the start...well lets just say coping doesn't come easy with that.
So where do you start? I feel now 6 years from Kaitlin and 2 from Sage that I am in a better place. A more stable ground under my feet. It hasn't been easy and I'm sure I will still struggle from time to time, but right now I want to share with you HOW I got here.
Coping is something that happens from the moment your loss happens. If your eating and drinking, trying to live, your coping. You do have to find your way back to being a functioning persons...reality. The pain of losing a baby hurts and cuts us deeply, but we are still living and thats important to continue to do. So at first we learn how to take an hour at time. Then maybe it's a day, a week a month. We might set an internal goal of not crying for an hour. Maybe it's something we have to do... like committing to making it through an 8 hour shift at work. For me I remember trying to figure out how to grocery shop. I was supposed to go back to normal. Meet with friends, grocery shop, cook and clean (I was a stay at home wife). I pushed back the tears to go sledding, I talked myself into going to the grocery store, I forced myself off the couch to vacuum the floor. Looking back I'm not sure if it was helpful, but it is how it was. Through it all I dealt, I cried, and I was depressed. But my perspective on things started to change back then...and it's the seed that was planted then that created what is now. I don't think it has to be planted back then however, it can happen now. Wherever you are in your grief, let these words be a seed. A seed of hope that someday you will climb from the darkest days, moments and time and find a light that will help you release your grief.
This is how the seed was planted with in me: I laughed. I felt horrible guilt for it. My baby just died, why am I laughing? Why am I not in bed crying? But if I were to die would I want that of the people who loved me? Would I want them crying and depressed for days/weeks/months on end. No I wouldn't. Kaitlin was my little girl, I knew she wouldn't want that either. She would want me to laugh, to smile and enjoy life. Miss her...YES Love her...YES Cry...Sure but LIVE too. So I laughed watching my friends slide down the hill and wipe out at the bottom. I learned how to smile at those with big round pregnant bellies. Everyday removing myself from sitting and sulking got a small bit easier. It wasn't an instant switch. I still had many dark days, many guilty moments, but I did plant that seed then and there of brighter days ahead.
For full disclosure, let me say I had tried to commit suicide when I was younger for stupid boy problems. I woke from it and learned that I was being very short sighted and that I wasn't thinking about those that DID love me. So during my dark days after loosing Kaitlin I had to remind myself of that experience. Sure it would be easier if I had just died, leaving the pain behind me. But what about my husband, the future children we had hoped to have, the friends and family that surround us. Everyone has someone and if you leave you leave that someone with no longer having you, but also no longer having your baby either because chances are they wanted you to have that child too. So in reading this, it's your promise you're going to live. Because through YOUR life you will give your angel life.
This might be where my views differ from the vast majority of the world, but here we go. I call my babies my angels but I do no believe in a heaven and a hell, or a God. I believe in energies and spirits. I think that when we pass we become a spirit/energy that lingers to be with those who loved us. Your baby had only you and their father and YOU knew them in a way only a mother could. You held them in your womb, felt them and/or the pregnancy giving them life. You have a connection, a bond, that no one else can have so your angel has the strongest connection with you. So their spirit is going to attach themselves to you, and some cases maybe even only you. So their little spirit lives WITH you. They get to see and feel things through you. I believe they are always there during the happy times and catch our tears during the saddest. They love and protect us when they can, but they also rely on us. Our babies didn't get to feel the sun, smile at a happy thought, smell a rose... but they can through us. So at some point after loosing Kaitlin this thought was planted in my head, the seed. It stuck there and blossomed into my way to cope. I feel my angels here with me, they calm me when I need it, they guide, and the love and in return I live for them.
Maybe your don't believe in spirits. Do you believe in memory? Because even if you don't believe in the energy that surrounds us, you can atleast agree that YOU are one of the few people on this earth who KNOW who your angel is. As we grow we weave ourselves with others through just our day to day interactions...your baby didn't have that chance, so their life relays on YOUR memory. I promise you, you will never forget them. I'm 6 years away from Kaitlin's NICU stay, and honestly I still remember cupping my hand over her little head. I remember sitting beside her and watching her move, I can still hear the beeps and whirs of the machines. Two years away from Sage and I remember laying on the bed in pain during those last few moments of her “birth”. The memory will not disappear, it is apart of you.
Food for thought. Our sweet little beings are obviously little humans, who would and might (as spirits) grow to have thoughts and such of their own. How do you think your angel might react if you decided to toss in the towel yourself. I think Kaitlin and Sage would have been disappointed. I think they would have sulked and held resentment towards me.