As I said before, having a blog gives me the ability to step on my virtual soapbox, so here I go . . .
I know I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it a million times more if I have to: we still miss Cale. We still grieve for him, we are still sad that he is not here with us and will never forget the pain of losing him. We had a son. He's not here with us anymore, but he was at one point (well, nine months to be exact) and he was and always will be part of our lives. I say all this because Miles and I have both been encountered with situations/people lately that have made us realize that many people just do not understand.
And I pray that people never have to understand it the way do. But I also wish that people would stop assuming that having another baby will take away the pain of losing Cale. It doesn't. Nothing can. Having another baby adds happiness to our lives, and it adds something wonderful that we are thankful for, and so excited for, but it does not mean that we are not entitled to still be sad about the baby who is not with us.
Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we are going to be in a dark place the rest of our lives and that we won't be able to "move on" and be happy. We can, and we have, and we will continue to do so. But "moving on" doesn't mean forgetting and it certainly doesn't mean replacing. When I first went back to work someone came by to see how I was and proceeded to tell me that it'd be ok and we'd have other kids. Great. Thanks. I know this. But it doesn't change the fact that we still miss the one who isn't here.
I think maybe people just assume that because he was never here with us alive (outside the womb) that it shouldn't or wouldn't hurt as much to lose him. Logically, I can kind of understand why people would think that. I would never compare what we've been through to what someone who has lost a child to SIDs or cancer, or a car accident. But part of what we grieve for is not just what we lost, but the life that Cale never got to have. For what should have been.
I also think that people just don't really understand stillbirth. It's not really talked about much, and as a result, people just assume it's like a miscarriage. It's not. I'm not going to say that a miscarriage wouldn't be hard and that it isn't painful for those who have to go through it. But you can't compare them. I went into labor. My baby died. I still delivered that baby. I held him. I kissed him. I had to say goodbye to him. I did everything all new moms do, expect I didn't get to take my baby home with me. So just as I would never compare my loss to someone who has experienced the loss of an older child, I don't like it when Cale's death is compared to a miscarriage (and it has been in case you are wondering why I felt the need to include this).
My need to preach all of this isn't just about people not understanding when it comes to what happened to Cale, but also when it comes to having another baby.
At work, someone recently asked me if I knew what I was having. I said that we were having another boy and the response caught me off guard - "oh, that's so great because you already have all that stuff!" I just smiled and said "yeah," but I was a little off-put by it and it took me a second to sort it out. Yes, I won't deny the fact that it is convenient that we already have everything a baby would need, especially for a boy, but I wouldn't say that it's great that we are having a boy simply out of a convenience factor. I guess I wouldn't say that to someone who has a living child and is about to have another. Having another child, boy or girl, is "great" regardless and having "all that stuff" is merely convenient.
Sometimes I've found that when I'm sad, if I express that to people, they point out how happy I will be to have another baby (this actually just happened to Miles). I don't disagree with that at all. I think I will be ecstatically happy, I know that having this baby will fill my heart with joy and will make me love Cale even more (it already has), but can we not still be sad? Can we not still miss him?
We do have an optimistic outlook on the future though. Sometimes it's harder to be optimistic than others, but when I envision our life many, many years from now I do genuinely think it will be a happy one filled with more up's than down's and a whole lot of love. Cale's siblings will never get to know him. They won't grow up with him, he won't be part of their day-to-day lives, but he still will be a part of our family. I believe he will be the reason we'll have the family that we will hopefully have in just a short time here.
I thought it was very fitting that tonight I stumbled upon this quote posted by another Angel Mom, "We aren't looking for someone to tell us everything is okay; we simply need someone to understand our pain." And like I said before, I get it - lots of people fortunately will never truly understand (and that's a good thing - I hate that so many do understand are in this same boat), but what I want people to understand is that it's ok for us to miss our boy. And when we do, please let us.