Friday, April 19, 2013

Those that know. And those that don't.

I said it often in those first few days after Ree died. I said that I wished we could all wear signs around our necks when we went out into public that proclaimed our recent loss and explaining why we needed them to be gentle with us. To not rush us in the checkout line or jostle us in the aisles. We needed people around us to be gentle and to be aware and mindful and truthfully, this kind of wish was never going to be granted. I wanted a sign that told people to proceed with caution. To be gentle. It was ok with me if we all wore our own signs. The man that wore one that would say "Divorced after 34 years of marriage". The teenager who would write "recent cancer diagnosis". The middle aged woman who would write about her husband's recent infidelity. I wanted to take all of these people who didn't know about our recent loss, and move them to a category of those that do know. Those that do know seem to act differently. Although sometimes this isn't always a good thing.

Those that know sometimes extend us compassion. More compassion than normal. More patience or understanding. Or they gift us with their time and sit with us. Those that don't know are often more abrasive and completely unaware that there are people around them that hurt. They seem to bump into others in the world with little regard to the bruises they leave behind.

Those that know the loss of a child themselves are a special category of people. They know things, things that I don't have to explain to other people. They just know. And sometimes I need to avoid these people because I don't want to think anymore today about what this all feels like and how I'm going to cope today. I admit that sometimes I don't want to read their blogs or their Facebook posts because I need distance from all of their grief too. They know, and sometimes I need to be around those that don't,.

Those that don't are a tricky category. They don't get it and they don't know, and those people are a welcome relief on the days when I don't want to be the "mom who lost her baby". When I can blend in to the crowd at Target and I don't have to answer "How I'm doing today" for the 50th time to a person who really doesn't know me all that well. Sometimes I think those that know want to be a voyeur. They want to witness and watch our pain because it fascinates them. They either haven't been through anything like this or they just want to crane their necks in curiosity like lookie-lou's who need to slow down traffic to get a glimpse of the traffic accident. They barely know me but they send messages often asking for updates but rarely offer much in the way of support. They just want to KNOW. They don't want to pull up a chair and talk.

Those that do know and want to talk, they are rare. They fit into the inner circle of people. Truthfully I don't have much energy to update people who aren't in the inner circle because I just can't answer again today why I'm feeling the way I do when they aren't going to provide respite.

I'm convinced that our therapist doesn't know shit about grief or bereavement. She seems to have experienced her own losses in life. Maybe it's the fact that she's almost 60 so she expects me to look at the world through the same lens, the lens that says that we all make it through these things. I'm not sure. I just know she's rushing me. It's been 6.5 weeks. I'm not in the place she seems to want me to be and instead I just want her to be ok sitting with my sadness. Instead, she seems to want me to wrap my head around all the "gains" that come with losses, as if I'm in a place to see what I'll gain from all this. I already told her that nothing I gain at this point will outweigh the loss of a child until I am actually a mother. I am not ok making it to the end of my life and the only gain I experienced was more empathy for others or the ability to help my clients. That's not enough of a gain for me.

She also doesn't seem to know how to talk to those that experience infertility. She's already asked me to have patience. To relax since stressing will hurt the process. We got pregnant with Ree at quite literally the most stressful time in our entire marriage during the adoption process. She's told us to take time and not try to get pregnant for a year or two. We don't have time to take off, and certainly not a year or two. She asked today if I thought that maybe this is the universe trying to tell me that we don't need to be parents. Or that Ree shouldn't have existed given all of the genetic issues facing us in our families with mental health issues on both sides. She outright asked if I could accept that maybe we shouldn't be parents. Or maybe Ree wasn't meant to be brought into this world. Perhaps this is true. But it's not the right timing to approach this line of thinking with me, and it certainly didn't help my stage of grief. Or guilt. It certainly doesn't help me to press forward if I'm telling you that the one thing that will help outweigh the grief is to become a parent, and you pose the idea that maybe I'm never meant to be one. I'm not proclaiming the impossible here, like plans to become President.

I don't think I'm going back to her. Why are there so many awful therapists out there? She falls in the category of "Those that don't".


  1. holy fucking hell. I want to punch your therapist. this is by far not the time to even be considering this shit. How the fuck can she think that is appropriate, less than two months after you lost Ree? Did she not pay ANY attention to your history as you explained it to her? Do any kind of research to make sure she knew what the fuck she was dealing with before she made her asinine suggestions?

    I hope you know that I am always here. I am always wondering how you are doing, truly. I'm thinking of you always, looking for rainbows for Ree. I don't want to bug you because I know right now, you are using all your energy for things like breathing, living, and just getting through the day to day, but know I am always always always here for you.

    Much love to you guys.

  2. I wouldn't ever go to that "therapist" again. I am so sorry that you had to deal with that. You are in my prayers.

  3. I would not go back to her EVER. Who the hell does she think she is?

    It sounds trite, but hang in there. I can't promise that it will get better, but I have tremendous hope that it will.

  4. Wow I cannot believe she would say those things to you! That's so awful of her. I would definitely not go back.

  5. Her words anger me! I'm so sorry you had to hear them. They are not true and very mean. I wish I could take them out of her mouth so you never had to hear them! Regardless of which category I fall into, please know that I think about you and pray for you often. I probably don't have the right words so often don't speak but hope that you know I care. Love, hugs, and prayers!

  6. I was so going to write about wanting to punch your therapist in the face and saw the first reply! Guess I am not alone!
    That is horrible. Not just horrible but CRUEL and untrue.
    So a "friend" of mine is pregnant- she smokes, drinks pretty much soda all day and no water, screams at her current children, this is her 4th child and 4th dad, has tons of mental health issues and physical ones as well... She is supposed to have babies and be a mother? And get pregnant easily? And pass her genes on because the universe is obviously telling us this by her ease to get pregnant? And because he kids turn out fine?
    I don't think so... I think your therapist's line of thought is completely screwed up and I would love to debate this woman and knock some sense into her.
    Also it bothers me greatly that a professional states to be able to council on bereavement when obviously that is NOT the case. Does she even have the training to do so? Specifically on grief I wonder?

    Anyway, sorry.,,, Not sure I even helped but that makes me so angry you would be treated in such a way.

  7. The insane part is that she's a PhD and a supervisor to other therapists!

    She also said when we told her that Ree probably lost oxygen slowly that it's good we lost her so we didn't have to deal with brain damage forever.

    She excuses her harshness for having grown up in another culture

  8. The things she told you actually makes me really, really angry. When Ree passed, one of my thoughts was that I hoped this didn't make you and Clint think that you weren't meant to be parents. Because I absolutely 100% do not believe that. I don't buy it and I never will.

    Have you ever read "Why bad things happen to good people?" I kind of subscribe to that. I don't think there was a "reason" why Ree had to die. I don't think it has anything to do with what kind of parents you would have been to her, or what she would have been like genetically. Just my personal feelings.

    I'm sorry she is trying to push you through the grief process. I know very little about therapy, but she doesn't sound like a good therapist. :(

  9. This upsets me on so many levels... Having been through something similar with the loss of my precious baby Joshua, I can't imagine how I would react if someone said this to me today, and it's been over a year since I've lost him. First and foremost, you ARE a mom! How dare she say you may never be parents, because you and Clint are parents to a precious little girl!!! Your arms may be empty on this earth, but she will ALWAYS be in your heart, and you will ALWAYS be her mama. That precious angel is resting in her God's arms right now, waiting for her mama and daddy to join her. In Samuel 12:23, King David's infant son dies. He says, "I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me." You will go to Rhiannon one day!!!
    That precious little girl was meant to be exactly as she was. Do you realize how many lives she has touched? In her shorttime on this earth, she touched more peoples' hearts than some do in years! She continues to every day!
    It was extremely hard for me after Joshua died when I wondered if I would ever hold another baby in my arms. No one can answer that question, and I struggled every day wondering what God's will for me was. I could not bear to think that I may never have another baby- the mere thought took me to a whole new level of grieving. I HAD to hold onto that hope. How DARE she try to take that hope away from you?? Hope carries us through this world! Hope helps us to know that we will be reunited with our babies one day. Hope helps us to know that God will somehow use this terrible loss for good!
    I feel strongly that you need to find a different therapist. I also want to recommend the book, "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith. It helped me tremendously.
    Sometimes there's nothing to say. You lost your baby girl, your arms are empty, and it just sucks. Praying for you to feel God's comfort and strength.
    AOT, Kristi Morris Oznick

  10. Sounds like your therapist needs me to come over and resort to a little violence and screw her head back on straight. And her logic is faulty. There are a lot of people who should be parents who aren't and a lot of people who are that shouldn't. I think of you both often and keep Ree present in my mind.

  11. Wowzer, Lauren. I just want to hug you guys and drive down there and slap your therapist. As a therapist I obviously take up a personal offense on your behalf. Although I know I our griefs are different, I do know that after John and I left the church I tried 2 therapists, supposedly believers, who had no clue what it meant to be religiously abused, and no clue how to help us, and no clue how to relate to our grief. I'm so sorry that now, of all times, this happens. I would take that pain from you if I could.
    You guys were on my mind last night. I thought about texting, but didn't want to be intrusive. I saw today that you posted on FB that last night was a bad night. I guess that is why you guys were on my heart. We continue to pray for you. Now we will pray for healing from the secondary wounding from this therapist.

  12. This therapist needs to get a grip. She may have a PHD and May be a supervisor, but it sounds like she has clearly lost her compassion and sense. It is not unlike teachers who just need to retire, because they have lost that spark that helped them understand the kids and want to help them. In what universe is it every ok to ask a grieving parent those types of questions-especially in a counseling situation? :(

  13. The first therapist I went to (which was difficult being a therapist/social worker myself) was exactly as you described. I didn't go back.

  14. I'm glad you have decided not to go back. How awful! You do not deserve to be talked to like that. I do not at ALL believe things like this happen to people who aren't "meant" to be parents. There are tons of really really crappy parents out there, why should they be "meant" to be when a good person who desires nothing more than to be a good parent. My oldest brother is the best man I know, and would be such an amazing father. And he and his wife have never been able to conceive in 10 years. Ever. So why would they not be "meant"? Makes me so angry.

    Much love to you.

    Another response, I too wanted signs at first. I just wanted everyone to "know" because I have for years and years and years been very truthful to the "how are you," question. But I either had to lie, or I had to explain how I was, and neither option was a good one. But I also didn't want the unsolicited pity in people's eyes. I didn't want to be treated like I so fragile any passing wind would shatter me. I just wanted to be NORMAL, but normal was gone, and I hated it.

    Take your time in your grief. My Cora's 7th birthday is a week from today, and in my always hurts.

    I don't know if you are religious or not, but I love this quote (and the first part is true for anyone, religious or not):
    "First, please know that grief is the natural by-product of love. One cannot selflessly love another person and not grieve at his suffering or eventual death. The only way to avoid the grief would be to not experience the love; and it is love that gives life its richness and meaning. Hence, what a grieving parent can expect to receive from the Lord in response to earnest supplication may not necessarily be an elimination of grief so much as a sweet reassurance that, whatever his or her circumstances, one’s child is in the tender care of a loving Heavenly Father."
    ~Lance B. Wickman

  15. After my second miscarriage, the therapist I was seeing asked me how long I planned on grieving for? I will grieve my children the rest of my life. I hope it won't be as acutely as I am while I am still neck deep in it all, but I will never stop feeling the pull for them as long as I live. I didn't grieve for a second when I stopped going to see him, that's for sure.


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