February 10, 2011

Stepping On My Virtual Soapbox

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.


  1. I think this was beautifully written! People "try" to understand my pain and make it all better but they really have NO IDEA what I am going through! People can give me a hug but please don't tell me it will get better with time...because they have no idea!
    Memories of our boys (and I hold many with Ben) will never be lost because they will be held close to our hearts!
    I love your soap box session! You are AMAZING and I am encouraged by you even if our situations are different!

  2. Preach it, sister! Cale's baby brother will definitely bring lots of joy your way, but there will still be the pain of missing your sweet angel, Cale. He will always be a huge part of your family. I do wish people would remember that before they make comments of what they *think* are comforting/encouraging/acceptable.

    I recently had someone tell me that from the sound of my blog, I'm emotionally doing "great." She said it sounds like this new pregnancy took away all the pain from Liv's passing. I ended that conversation soon afterwards, as I realized that I could never get her to understand that the pain of our losses doesn't simply fade away with the onset of new hope...it's just intertwined.

    Thinking about you, Miles, Cale, and that new little baby boy! :)

  3. Caroline,

    Never stop writing. Never ever. I know that our situations are painfully too close for comfort, but I am so very thankful that you are capable of expressing our pain in such an eloquent way. I have never quite had such luck with expressing my feelings and I appreciate ever so much reading your blog, as I feel justified that someone actually does understand what I have gone through.

    I love you dearly and I am grateful everyday to be so lucky to know you.

    Take care,


  4. Hi Caroline,
    This is Laurens Mom. Lauren sends me your link so I can follow along in your journey. People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. You and Miles came back into Lauren and Gregs life for a reason that will extend into a season and a lifetime.
    Reading your blogs is like looking into a mirror image of Laurens heart. As a Mother we wish we could take away all of the pain that you both have endured but we cant. Your spirit has helped to pull her through some very dark hours and Johnathan and Cale will live on forever in our hearts and minds. When a person asks if I have grandchildren I proudly say YES - his name was Johnathan and he was BEAUTIFUL. Unfortunately he could not stay with us long. He has impacted my life in so many positive ways that continue to have a ripple effect in other peoples lives. I walk slower, breathe deeper and love intensely.

  5. Unfortunately, I am one that completely understands. I agree with everything that you've said and I wish people didn't think like that. Of course Cale will still be missed and sometimes I wonder if he and other babies will be missed even more once their little brothers and sisters are here. Especially for people like you who didn't get to experience caring for and loving a newborn baby because they were the firstborn. I hope that's not the case.

    You know what other hurt I'm having now that is such a disappointment? Even other Angel Moms who have not yet become pregnant again don't seem to understand that nothing really changes once you find out you're pregnant. You're just not trying to conceive anymore. To be misunderstood by other grieving mothers really hurts too.

  6. This is such a beautiful post, Caroline. So profound. You are exactly right, our new hope in no way takes away the pain of the angels that we have lost. I feel that it even intensifies it some as the memories come back. People just think that we should be all better now but as we know, "all better" isn't possible. We are changed. We will feel true happiness again and live a full life but we will always be missing those precious babies that we had so many hopes and dreams for. Lots of love.. <3