Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being Real

Warning: Rambling Ahead :)

I get the comment often that people appreciate that I am "real". Over the last year+ I have learned a lot about myself and the kind of person that I want to be. I struggle between being "too real" and sounding like Debbie Downer, but I also don't want to give a picture of grief that isn't realistic. I don't think it's fair to others to pretend like everything gets better overnight. I would be doing a disservice to other grieving moms if I said everything was fine. One of the things that I like about this blog is that I feel like I can share freely what I'm going through. I hope that it brings some awareness and gives a little glimpse into what it's like to be a parent without our child.

And really, why can't we all just be real? Why do we have to pretend like our lives are completely perfect and that we have it all together? I don't know anyone whose life is perfect, although it may seem that way sometimes. If we need support and help, we should be able to say so without being judged. We all struggle and none of us are perfect parents or spouses. I have been hearing so much about "mommy wars" lately and it bothers me. I wish we could all just acknowledge our weaknesses (and strengths!), ask for support, and help each other out. Parenting is hard enough without having to worry about being judged or being put down for asking for help.

I just want Cohen to be Cohen. I don't want to have to answer why he isn't walking or why he is still taking 2 naps a day. It's so easy to jump to the idea that a parent must be doing something wrong if their child isn't how we think they should be. Once I became a parent, I realized I didn't know as much about parenting as I thought I did, in fact sometimes I feel like I know very little. We are all the perfect parents before we have kids. Sometimes we (myself included) are so quick to place judgment when we truly don't know anything about a situation. What if that kid screaming through the grocery store has a sensory disorder, or doesn't feel good, or mom has been sick for the last week and had to get out to the grocery store because the cupboards were empty even though it was close to nap time. Maybe think about giving a little extra grace, saving your glares, and just giving a smile. Maybe that's just what that parent needs, a little "I've been there" understanding. Can't we all just play nice in the sandbox and be real and supportive of each other?

Anyway, this has just been on my mind a lot lately and I fully include myself in all of the above, I am by no means perfect. End rant/ramble. Thoughts?


  1. I appreciate your thoughts and the fact that you are real! I appreciate that you say what's on your mind and remind us all to have a little more compassion in our daily lives! Thanks!

  2. I love that you use your blog to express yourself and your feelings. That's not always easy to do.

    Veronica still takes two naps and I LOVE it. It's the only time I have to get anything done!

  3. I feel so similarly to you. My road is so similar to yours (loss of a twin from TTTS) and I am rapidly coming up on my little one's first birthday, and the anniversary of the loss of her sister. Tomorrow is actually one year since we were diagnosed with TTTS and quite honestly, I'm a wreck. I've been writing my post for tomorrow, and I think some people might be scared for me, but that is not my intent. I'm not in a "scary" place, but sometimes we just have to express our grief. And I don't feel like I can do that in most conversations, except between me and my keyboard.
    One thing I have noticed a lot lately, especially in the TTTS community, is the constant comparison. Seems like everyone is trying to prove how much harder, how much scarier, how much worse their story is/was than everyone elses. I don't get that... there is no comparison between loss! So I know what you mean... why can't we all just agree it sucks, and help each other the best we can?
    Hope you're having a good day... I'll be here to support you if you just need someone to play in the sand with!

    1. Hi Alexa,
      I totally agree with you about this competition even between preemie parents/TTTS parents. I actually had a paragraph written about it,but wasn't sure I was ready to "go there" :) And I struggle with it myself. When I hear about someone who has a 32 weeker or a 34 weeker and they talk about their 10 day NICU stay, it makes me want to roll my eyes. But I am constantly having to remind myself that to them, this is probably the hardest thing they've ever gone through, they can't relate to my 130 day NICU stay because they haven't been there. And I think just like you said, there is no comparison between loss. Each situation is different and we can't possibly fully understand, but we CAN be there for each other and support each other.

      I'm so sorry for the loss of your Kathryn, and please let me know if there is anything I can help you with. We just went through our "one year ago's" not too long ago and they are so hard, but I promise you will get through it.

    2. Alexa, praying for you as the 1 year marker comes up. I am at 7 months from losing my son, totally different situation, but I think one thing I've noticed is that many people a) need to explain why their situation was the worst, or b) justify why your loss wasn't really all that horrible. I theorize that they do that to make it palatable (sp?)for themselves. I've done it myself. I've thought, "So and so's loss was probably not as painful because I remember them saying they were expecting it...." or something stupid like that. Little did I know that losing your child, as you say so beautifully, SUCKS, and there isn't any way around that. It hurts like we've never imagined, and it keeps hurting and it revisits, and it tinges all the experiences we will have in the future.

    3. Thank you... I will pray for you too!

  4. I stood in my girls' new (to us) private school today feeling dowdy and harried compared to other attractive, capable mums standing around.... and then my 4 year old (who was, for a change, wearing all the correct articles of clothing) started to whip me in the rear with a t-shirt while I was conversing with a couple of these mothers, explaining to them that we had homeschooled for a few years. I decided I give up. I highly value being 'real' and am so thankful to God that he gave me kids who are real, but sometimes I wish we could be less real when out in public :D I also don't want people's sympathy, but I DO wish they knew that my child died because it is such a huge part of who I am. I try to give other people as much grace as possible knowing that they're probably as dysfunctional as I am.

  5. This is so spot on. It can be all to easy to be quick to judge but there can be any number of reasons a parent may make certain choices or handle things in a certain way. Thanks for linking up to The Sunday Parenting Partry.