I feel like a common thing for people to say to parents expecting a baby is "just wait" or "get ready for...". I understand it, but I also wonder if those people just forget that these parents obviously feel ready for those things, otherwise they probably wouldn't have tried to get pregnant in the first place. Since getting pregnant for the fourth time in two years, it seems that we are no exception to receiving these warnings. Tell us to get ready or be prepared for certain things, like we haven't been prepared for them for the two and a half years we've been trying for a baby. We know that babies mean less sleep. We know they mean taking care of someone besides ourselves. That's something we have wanted. That's why we decided to have a family. We were ready to add new members to our team, and to take all the good and hard that comes with that decision.
So, as a loss parent, you reassure people that you are indeed ready for it. That this is what you've wanted for a long time, and it's ridiculously overdue. You say you are prepared. And what do they say back? "Nothing can prepare you for parenthood." It's a load of garbage, and they are lucky they don't understand.
"You'll never get a good night's sleep again."
But have you ever lost sleep because your baby died? Have you ever spent countless hours lying awake at night wishing you could hear your baby cry?
"Just when you get ready to lay down and close your eyes for two seconds, the baby will wake up."
Just when we were about to fall asleep from being emotionally and physically exhausted, our minds flash back to those hours in the hospital, making it impossible to sleep.
"That baby is just going to want to be held all time! Your arms will be so tired!"
Better than having my arms physically ache from having no child to hold. Our brains tell us to pick up the baby, even when there is no baby to pick up.
"Breastfeeding is the worst. It's so painful. Just wait until your milk comes in."
Been there, done that. At least you were able to feed your baby or pump to relieve some of the pressure. Us loss moms have to cope by wearing sports bras and ice packs.
"Babies are time and energy consuming!"
So is grief. I'll let you guess which one I'd rather have.
I'm not denying that being a parent is hard work, because it most definitely is. But when people tell us that we won't understand until we've been through it, I like to just give a silent prayer of thanks that they don't understand what the exhaustion on our side is like. Because yes, they are tired, and they haven't showered in days, and their house is a mess. But in the middle of all those hard things, they get to see their baby. They get to hold and bond with their baby, watch he or she discover the world. They get that new baby smell, and get to hear how cute their baby is.
And while the rest of us are tired, we only get to hear "I'm sorry". We alone are the only ones who know how cute our baby was. We have to grasp at anything we can to hold onto that bond that we had to establish in such a short amount of time.
I am prepared in knowing that parenthood is going to be something unlike anything I've ever experienced before. There will be things I didn't see coming, and some things that will be harder than I imagined them to be. But I am also prepared in knowing that if I can get through sleepless nights, weeks, and months without my baby, I am more than capable of doing it with him here.