Please Don’t Tell Me You Understand
No, no, you do not! And that’s okay. But, please, let me ask the following of you:
Please do not tell me you understand the heartache of loss, because you have a friend who lost a baby or lost their parent, or lost their sibling. Unless you have been there, you do not have the slightest clue. And those that have been through significant loss, know that no two losses are the same and they cannot be compared. What is the similar and what can be shared is the emotions associated with grief.
Do not tell me you understand the loss of my mom and my sister, because your mom died at the ripe old age of 90. Nope, it’s just not the same as having your mom die when she’s only 43 and you are only 14. You enjoyed 62 years of life with your mom. I enjoyed 14. 90 is not the same as 43 and 14 is not the same as 62!! Do not tell yourself it is. Do not pretend it is. And most importantly, do not tell me it is.
Do not tell me you understand the grief of miscarriage, unless you have had one.
Do not tell me you understand the roller-coaster ride that is recurrent pregnancy loss, unless you have had 3 or more consecutive miscarriages. You do not get it unless you have been there.
Do not tell me you understand fertility issues because your friend went through IVF to have children. Recurrent pregnancy loss is not the same as not being able to get pregnant. Although we may see the same types of doctors, they are most definitely not the same problem. Infertility and RPL have very different medical options and resulting physical experiences. The possible routes to children may be very different for each one of these terrible infertility issues. Do not pretend they are the same and most definitely don’t pretend you understand IVF or RPL if you have never had either.
Do not tell me you understand adoption. Do not tell me we should just adopt. Unless you have seriously looked into adoption, or have actually adopted a child, do not presume it is inexpensive or quick or an easy process or a simple decision. In fact it can be incredibly expensive, it can take years, and just making the decision to adopt is scary and overwhelming.
Do not tell me you understand the fear of being pregnant, unless you have had serious complications and lost your child. Our fears are not the same as “normal” pregnancy fears, like how to parent, how to raise a happy child, or if we will be good parents. We do not get to have these normal fears, because we are no longer fortunate enough to have a normal pregnancy. Our fears are literally a matter of life and death, every day of pregnancy feels like a game of Russian Roulette, milliseconds away from possible death, waiting to find out if our baby will live another day, or another week.
Please tell me, you cannot imagine my pain.
Tell me that you know this must be difficult for us.
Tell me that if I ever need to talk, you will listen without judgement.
Tell me that if I ever need a shoulder to cry on, you will be here for me.
Tell me it’s okay to take time to make our next decision, and that’s okay.
Tell me that you love us and will support us no matter what our future holds.
But, please, do not tell me that you understand because you don’t.