Monday, July 3, 2017
Being immersed in the world that I am, stories of loss either come to my attention or are brought to my attention. After I read these, I peruse comments. I am oftentimes brokenhearted for the parents that are sure to one day see these terrible things that are written about them. I've seen the horrible comments that people have made placing all the blame for my daughter on me. The things that have been said, I can assure you, are not things that I haven't dwelled upon or felt since that day.
As a human being that wears these shoes, I can assure you that your criticism has a negative impact upon me, even if I don't know you. I have blamed myself since the day she passed away. I wonder if I could have done this or that different. Looking back, I know I could have done something different. I wonder what kind of mother that I am even though those around me tell me that I'm a good mom. It seems that the moms that stay calm and speak in matter-of-fact tones are criticized for not falling apart or freaking out. Let me assure you that those times come, even if you don't feel it when it happens. This is shock, the body and brain go into protection mode. I remember feeling such disbelief that this was happening, I couldn't wrap my brain around it. It's normal for a person going through a trauma to just shut down. Losing your child is one of the worst traumas you can endure.
When a mother chooses to share her story with you, or anyone for that matter, she's sharing her vulnerable heart with you. As a human being, you should feel almost obligated to do what you can to not injure that heart further. Look at it as an open wound. If someone you knew had an open wound that was trying to heal, would you help bandage it to protect it and help it heal or would you injure it further and prevent healing?
Though some of us have chosen to speak out, it's vital to remember that some women can't whether it's due to the emotional/mental aspect or due to the social aspect. I cannot stress how difficult that it is to stand up and say that your child's death was preventable and that you accept responsibility for the choice you made. That was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. I live with this realization every day and I wouldn't wish it upon any other mother. For some, they cannot speak up because their "support network" would turn on them causing them to lose people they value. Though some prefer that mothers share to help prevent deaths, many cannot fathom what is at stake should they choose to go this route. Of course, if they decide to, they can find support with mothers like myself and the friends I have. This should never be expected of them though. We should accept their decision in how they choose to approach the topic.
The ways in which moms are treated directly correlates to the silence that occurs after a death. Sadly, this is the example that other mothers see as well, so nobody will want to say anything about their child's death. If the death was preventable, this means there will be less women wanting to share or make a difference. How can babies be saved when the mothers are blamed and shamed into silence? They can't and won't.
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