Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to Console

For those of you that do not know me; I am a very independent person. I like to do things for myself - including taking charge of my emotional self. This most likely stems from being an emotional teenager and wearing my emotions on my face - I would cry in front of others and show anger and any other emotion I was having. As I have grown older I think I have strengthened my emotional qualities. Personally I think the 3 years I worked in the hotel business toughened me up completely - people can be rude and nasty for no reason and all and then take all their frustrations out on you; a perfect stranger. I do not think it is a horrible thing to cry or be angry in front of others - it's just not my choice. My best and most comfortable expression is happiness and having a smile on my face. In fact when I start to feel sad I have two songs that I sing in my head "You're never fully dressed without a smile" - from the musical Annie or the "Put a smile on your face" by Vitamin C.

I enjoy sharing about Hudson when I want to talk about him; sometimes I don't mind when others ask questions. This whole situation has left me to believe that I am not a person that can be consoled. I am in charge of my own emotions and there is not anything that can be said to make me feel better. I will feel better when the time is right for me. Words and sharings from others can bring comfort and show that there are those that care about you - which is wonderful! It warms my soul to know how many people there are praying for me and my family. I never knew what an amazing support system we had out there. Of course I knew our family and close friends have always been there for us, but beyond that John, Hudson, and I have been truly blessed.
The greatest feeling of "consolement" I have felt is by reading what others who have been in my EXACT situation have written. There are so many things that can happen during pregnancy - miscarriages, things going wrong with the baby, but none of those can compare to not knowing ANYTHING. There is no closure to knowing that you did everything perfect while pregnant; you ate the right foods, drank the right drinks, remained active, took vitamins, etc. and still you lose your baby with no scientific findings why. I am not by any means saying that my experience is harder than those that had lost their babies to other reasons, I am only stating that the feelings for all the situations are different.
I read on one blog where a woman wrote what she thought would be the best way to console a woman who has lost her baby and I will include her posting on my blogroll for you to read, but I wanted to add or make a few changes with my own opinion. If you are reading this you are either a friend of mine, someone who has lost a baby, or someone wanting to console a friend/family member who lost their baby. Hopefully my tips, as well as the post in the blogroll, will help you in what you are looking for. Most of mine are additions to the post, but I wanted to get my thoughts out too =)
1. Don't expect answers to phone calls, e-mails, or any type of correspondence. There are good and bad days. She may not want to talk to anyone at the time or she may be lonely and need a friend to lean on. Either way do not give up on your friend - keep calling and e-mailing letting her know that she is loved and you are thinking about her.
2. Acknowledge that she is a mother. She just gave birth - she is and always will be a mother. There might not be a baby there to hold or take care of, but she has a child. I have a fear that when I say, "Yes, I am a mother" those that have children will think "well, she's really not a mother - she has no child". The fact is I have had to do one of the hardest things as a mother - bury my child. So, remember her on Mother's Day and remember the child's birthday.
3. This one is tricky - some may feel like your friend will not want to be included on the happiness of all that is going on in your life. I on the other hand WANT to know when happy events are going on in my friends' lives. I know that some of my friends and family members are trying to get pregnant and I would feel even worse if I was not included in knowing what was going on. I would not want anyone to feel the need to tip-toe around me. When you do tell them the news just remember that as much as she is happy for you your news will make her think of her own little one and the loss of her child.
4. Baby showers - this one could be difficult and there are so many ways it to approach it. The week after we delivered Hudson I was supposed to have my own baby shower. On my mirror was an invitation to another friend's baby shower for the following week. I went to the friend's shower - the present? A gift card. I could not bear to be in the baby sections for more than five minutes seeing things John and I had registered for. Please respect that your friend might only be able to give you a gift card even if they are the type of person that loves to buy gifts and wrap them. I am the type of person that LOVES the whole presentation of gift giving. Christmas is my favorite time when I can wrap presents with elaborate bows and gift tags. Make sure to include your friend on the guest list - feel free to call her ahead of time and let her know you will be having a shower thrown in your honor and let her know that you understand either way if she decides to attend or not.
5. Don't worry about having the "right" thing to say. There isn't a person in the world that can have the right thing to say to someone - even if they have been there before. Every person on this earth has their own way of thinking, dealing with emotions, and thoughts. Just be there for her - a small "I'm thinking of you" message is perfect. It lets her know she isn't forgotten and it also makes you feel like you haven't said something you think will offend her.
6. If you are pregnant do not complain about your pregnancy to her. Hearing things like "I am just so ready to get this baby out" are not pleasant. I had to hear that from someone less than a month after Hudson was born and I all I could think was, "wow, I would do anything to have my baby back inside of me".

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scrapbooks and Savoring Memories

Throughout our entire pregnancy I kept a scrapbook - I scrapbook for everything. I had dreams of telling Hudson, "This is what mommy looked like while you were growing in her belly" and fun things like that. The first pages were filled with the three pregnancy tests I took and followed by belly pictures and ultrasounds. I sent out monthly e-mail updates to friends and family including the progressing belly growth and added those e-mails as well as responses to the book - coordinating with the month they were from or when ultrasounds were taken. Within the book I had pages where I had already set up the pages to add the future pictures we would take - the arrival of Hudson, a page for his first guests to sign, a page titled "from hospital to home". There was a page labeled for each month - January thru March to track his last three months inside of my belly and then April through December for pictures of Hudson. I had a section ready for his "firsts" many pages ready to be filled out.
Some of the pages will never be completely finished and those I took out, but the rest I left. I added pictures of Hudson's arrival and pictures of our family holding him for the first time - to say hello and goodbye. Hudson deserved that - we loved him beginning July 20, 2008 at 6:30 PM when I took that first pregnancy test and we will still love him for the rest of our lives. We even finished what we were able to of Hudson's baby book. So much will remain blank, but we wanted to remember all about Hudson; everything needed to be recorded so that nothing would be forgotten. We laid out Hudson's books and all of our friends and family were delighted at being able to see our little one as he progressed those 30 weeks. Some friends were even inspired to finish their own scrapbooks they had started over a year ago =)
The hospital took many copies of Hudson's little foot prints and we have those in his book as well as on a "Memory" certificate the hospital made for him. The certificate includes a small piece of his thick beautiful hair - we knew he would have a head full of hair! John and I framed the blue certificate in a white frame with a white matte and then added his monogramming (wooded letters John spray painted black) at the bottom of the glass on the frame. To hold the frame we bought a black wooden stand. My sister bought us a plaster kit for hand-prints; the nurses made Hudson's hand-print and added the plaster so we will always have a little hand molded for us to have. Eventually we will have a shadow box made to display the hand as well as the handmade (my mother crocheted) blanket we kept. We opted not have leave the blanket with Hudson and decided to keep it because it had his sweet smell lingering. The smell of Hudson was the best smell we have ever experienced. John and I did, however, give Hudson a new blanket because all babies need a blanket - especially since it is winter and cold.
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