One of my close friends just gave birth to her second child; a beautiful baby girl. Another one of my close friends is almost five months pregnant. There are countless people around me who have given birth over the last several months. Every time I’m on social media I see another pregnancy announcement. And another gender reveal. And to be honest? It still stings a little.
Wait, why does it sting?
It’s been nearly a year since we found out we were pregnant with our third baby. And four months since our baby was supposed to be born. We lost our baby in July of 2015 and here I am on the other side of it still hurting and mourning our loss.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to overcome has truly been to see past my own grief in order to be happy for my friends and family who are expecting and having babies. And I am so, so happy for them. I love that they are expanding their family and giving me more little people to love on and spoil.
However, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. It’s extremely difficult. I continually think, “Why do they get to keep their babies, but I didn’t?”. I’m sure one day I will stop asking this question, but for now, it continues to haunt my thoughts and damper my joy for others.
Supporting your pregnant friends after you’ve suffered a loss is trying on your heart and on your spirit. It will test you in ways you could’ve never imagined. You will feel jealousy, anger and happiness all at once. Of course you’re not angry with your friends, but angry over your own loss and situation.
It’s just like when people say you don’t know what it’s like having children until you’re in the midst of changing poopy diapers and up all hours of the night. You don’t fully understand the depths of this pain until you have lost a baby or a child.
Keeping these mixed emotions to yourself is not easy. At least not for me. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, so I have a hard time keeping my hardships and trials to myself. There have been some times where I’ve expressed to a friend that I’m just having a really hard day and can’t bear to hear about your bouts of morning sickness. While their complaints are valid and absolutely justified (I know – I’ve been there!), it’s just not always easy to hear it. I wish that I could be complaining about the same ailments.
First, ask your friends to give you grace.
I am sure you are beyond thrilled for their growing bellies. This is a tough situation to be in for both of you. It can be awkward and weird regardless of how close of friends you are. You don’t want to discount her excitement and she doesn’t want to dismiss your sadness. Giving each other grace in these moments will allow you both to get through some awkward conversations.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to voice your pain.
I am very open with my close friends about the emotional roller coaster ride I’ve been on these last 11 months. One day I’m fine. The very next day I am crying all day for what seems like no apparent reason, but I want my baby still. I yearn for that fuzzy newborn head to squirm around on my chest. Allow them to comfort you and mourn with you. They will. They will wrap you in love and kind words and hugs. You will get through this together.
And lastly, don’t shut yourself away from them.
Last fall, just a few months after my miscarriage, I hosted a baby sprinkle for a close family member. Easily, it was one of the toughest things for me to do. I was still raw and hurting. However, the loving part of me wanted to push my grief aside for just a moment to celebrate this new life. And isn’t that the hardest part? Pushing our own hurt away even just momentarily to celebrate someone else’s blessings? When it was all said it done I realized it was a part of my healing. Recognizing that your pregnant friends are not your enemy, they are not the ones who did this and they still deserve your love and excitement as they share in your grief and sadness.
These things are much easier said than done. I am almost a year post-loss and have to actively work every single day to not pull away from my pregnant friends. I remember to love on them and not always cringe when they talk about their aching back or swollen feet. Am I envious sometimes? Yes. But even through it I am learning to love their growing bellies as they will love mine again one day.