8week miscarriage isn't quite the same as delivering a full-term stillborn?

(299 Posts)
Lira Wed 12-Sep-12 10:53:23

I'm really sorry for the upsetting nature of this post but i am heartbroken. Tomorrow is the third anniversary/birthday of my stillborn son who was born full term. I have phoned round my friends to ask if they are free to mark the occassion like we do every year. We go for lunch or something. We talk about him.

My friends have been quite evasive about it this year and finally one called this morning saying she thinks i should let it go. I can't keep letting this haunt me forever. She had a miscarriage at eight weeks a few years ago and i don't see her organising anniversary lunches etc. Her words.

I'm so sorry if this sounds cruel, but to me - yes, they are two horrible situations but not quite the same. Delivering a full term baby, and holding him, getting a photo of him etc is not on the same level as a eight week miscarriage. Just as i think someone losing a child - for example a baby to cot death - is again far worse than delivering a still born.

I understand that everyone has different emotional boundaries. So for some people, a miscarriage at 4 weeks could feel the same as someone losing a child to cot death.

Basically, i jusst feel quite embarrassed now and isolated. I want to celebrate Ethan's life no matter how short it was. But i've been made to feel it's insignificant. Am i being unreasonable thinking both of our children's deaths are terrible, but not quite on the same level?

AmberLeaf Wed 12-Sep-12 11:10:28

Sorry for your loss.

Is she usually a good friend?

While I agree that its a callous thing to say to you, is it possible that she feels that she isn't allowed to grieve for her lost baby in the way that you understandably are and is struggling with that?

Lots of people view early miscarriage as something one should just 'get over' and yes its different to losing a child at term but loss is loss.

Im not excusing her at all but grief is complex and despite what she said maybe she is still grieving for her loss too?

I have experienced early miscarriage and a later one too, In discussions ive got the impression from some people that my early ones didnt 'count' and I found it a bit hurtful [not suggesting you are implying that BTW]

I am sorry for your loss.

I mean this is the nicest possible way, but bearing in mind that your friend has also lost a baby, or a pregnancy as some would say, I dont think you can be competitive about whose loss was worse. Maybe your friend thought you were a little insensitive to try rope her in for a celebration of your babys short life, bearing in mind that she never got to hold hers, she might not feel up to celebrating what in her mind might be death rather than life.

I think you should apologize to your friend and let her deal with her loss in her own way, and find a way to mourn your own baby more privately.

EverlongYouAreGoldAndOrange Wed 12-Sep-12 11:11:49

But at full term you hold your baby, you name them, you know their sex, you dress them and take photo's, you bury them sad you've carried them and felt them move.

It is different imo.

I understand that everyone has different emotional boundaries. So for some people, a miscarriage at 4 weeks could feel the same as someone losing a child to cot death.

Then that person was already had serious mental health problems. A late period and the death of a living child cannot be compared in the same sentence. Aaaaah.

WhatYouLookingAt Wed 12-Sep-12 11:13:01

Your friend is a moron.

But there isn't a level. Everyone feels differently and none of us can say whats worse and whats worth more. It's not fair.

Treats Wed 12-Sep-12 11:13:29

I understand you. I lost my full-term son at six hours old last year and am now pregnant again. I am very anxious about this pregnancy and it actually gets worse as I go on. I keep saying to DH - "If I'm going to lose this one, I want to lose it soon, so I don't have to go all the way to the end again". For me, an early miscarriage would definitely be 'better' than a stillbirth or another neonatal death.

OTOH your friend must also have felt very raw about her miscarriage - it would be unkind to downplay what she went through just because your experience was 'worse'. I'm not sure that she means to equate your experiences, but perhaps she feels that because she's been able to put it behind her and move on, that perhaps you should too? Even though it's more to move on from ifyswim?

I completely get you that you want to celebrate and commemorate your little boy, but perhaps that doesn't need to involve your friends. My DH and I will mark our DS's first birthday in a few months, but it will just be something private between the two of us.

LoopyLoopsOlympicHoops Wed 12-Sep-12 11:13:39

Good gracious, your friend was awful.

My DTD1 was stillborn 3 years ago and it still really hurts. It is very important to me that none of my friends brush it under the carpet. Horrific as miscarriage is, it is nothing like stillbirth. Stillbirth has more in common with neonatal death. If your lovely little boy had lived for a while, do you think your 'friend' would feel the same? I doubt it.

Put quite simply, your friend is a knob. If it were me, I'd tell her, but you may feel differently. Be reassured that many other people aren't like that, and would gladly help you remember your precious child.

BeeBee12 Wed 12-Sep-12 11:14:06

I have had 2 miscarriages and dont think it would be 10% of what losing a full term baby would be.

SomersetONeil Wed 12-Sep-12 11:14:52

Lira - I really don't think you need to apologise to your friend for wanting to commemorate your son. I hope that suggestion didn't upset you too much.

Nancy66 Wed 12-Sep-12 11:15:14

OP - so sorry to hear about Ethan.

I totally agree with you. I think your friend was very insensitive and i say that as someone who has suffered three miscarriages

EverlongYouAreGoldAndOrange Wed 12-Sep-12 11:16:08

I agree Somerset definately no need to apologise.

frasersmummy Wed 12-Sep-12 11:16:53

Lira my 1st little boy was stillborn 8.5 years ago.. there's not a day goes past that I dont still think of him and ofr course I mark his birthday ..he's part of the family

but other people really dont get it.. they dont understand what it feels like to have a child that you held once and never again
And to be honest I am glad they dont understand because I wouldnt want them to feel the same pain as I do

I understand you are hurt by your friends attitudes I would be too but for them its an event that causes you pain and sorrow and they dont want to keep helping you relive the pain
Its really really hard and makes you feel really alone doesnt it
I dont think you are being unreasonable but then your friends arent either .. they dont want you to be sad(of course how could you not be )
I am afraid its just another step along the life long road of being a bereaved parent

dinky .. why should the thread be moved??? I am fed up with this ..everytime a bereaved mum strays off the the bereaved topic its like we are told to get back where we belong

DuelingFanjo Wed 12-Sep-12 11:16:57

everyone is different. Personally I wouldn't be expecting my friends to mark the anniversaries but I do think she's wrong to expect you to just let it go.
I am sorry for your loss.

Your friend was wrong to say what she did.

She could have just been honest and stated that they were not comfortable with carrying on marking the day that you gave birth to Ethan.

As others have said, it isn't worth dwelling on her words and doubting that you are wrong in any way to mark your loss in a more personal way, from now on.

They might find meeting up with you is sparking a mourning/sadness or fear that they don't want to think about and that is their right, it just could have been expressed in a kinder way.

Brandnewbrighttomorrow Wed 12-Sep-12 11:17:40

I had an early miscarriage, I don't think it is the same as losing a full term baby either - although I imagine I might feel differently if I hadn't then gone on to have subsequent successful pregnancies. I don't really think of my miscarriage as the loss of a child, simply a pregnancy that wasn't meant to be.

I can't imagine how awful it must be to lose a baby though, you have my sympathy and a big hug.

Do mark the day, but maybe with your partner / family rather than friends. They do have the right to choose whether they want to participate - although your friend was clearly insensitive.

exexpat Wed 12-Sep-12 11:17:42

I have had a first-trimester miscarriage, and I have friends who have had stillborn babies, and I agree that for me personally, the loss is in no way comparable. But I know that everyone's experience is different, so some people may be devastated by an early miscarriage.

I think the problem is expecting your friends to feel the same as you and commemorate the date with you. I think perhaps it is something more to do with your partner and family, rather than friends?

I lost my husband six years ago, and would only expect close family members (and perhaps a few close friends who also knew him - none of your friends can be said to have 'known' your baby) to remember the date in any way.

onceortwice Wed 12-Sep-12 11:17:48

But, maybe it is time for a change.

3 years ago, I had a 1YO and a newborn. Now I have two children in school. Times change.

My DH should have 5 children. He doesn't. He has 4. One of his children died at 4months. That was around 15 years ago now and it's never mentioned. Obviously, DH still remembers, visits the grave, but it's not actively mentioned.

Maybe you could change what you do / how you remember? Could you volunteer for a chaity? Could you sponsor a disadvantaged child?

I am absolutely NOT trying to diminish your feelings of loss, but perhaps it's time to mark your amazing child in another way?

I'm about tomorrow if you want to chat on here? x

SomersetONeil Wed 12-Sep-12 11:18:25

I think dinky just means that AIBU can be a bit forthright and harsh, and she doesn't want Lira to get a hard time. I think she was being nice.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 12-Sep-12 11:19:47

Im so sorry you lost your baby Ethan Lira. I hope you can celebrate his life in the way you want to.

You need to focus on the way you are feeling about your bereavement, and do your best not to compare it to other peoples pain. No, the two things aren't the same, but emotional pain is not measurable and someone else's 8 week loss can easily be just as painful. When you love your baby you love your baby, that doesn't matter if they are 8weeks into gestation or 8 weeks old. I suspect that there are parents who would be so overcome with grief at an 8 week miscarriage that they're our actually feel jealousy for someone who was able to hold and see thei baby, no matter how briefly. Grief isn't rational.

You can't really compare how much something hurts you to how much something else has hurt other people, it just doesn't work like that.

Of course you are not being silly celebrating Ethans brith! It was special, and every bit as important as every other birth. Your baby is worth celebrating, and no matter how much you move on, you will obviously never forget him. Let other people deal with their grief in their own way. I suspect your friends words were more about how she is feeling than about how she feels about you, or your baby, or the way you are dealing with things.

Actually quintessential shadows that's a really good point. Maybe the friend with the miscarriage felt she did not have permission to grieve because her friend had it so much worse?

Interesting. I didn't pick this up at first <strokes beard intelligently>

Maybe your friend feels her miscarriage at 8 weeks was just glossed over because you had obviously been through something much worse and now feels a bit resentful?

Rhubarb78 Wed 12-Sep-12 11:20:30

Sorry for your loss op. I have had the misfortune of a miscarriage and a stillbirth and they are worlds apart. However, the pain an individual feels can't be compared or said to be worse or not as bad as. I think that what your friend said was very insensitive and shows a lack of compassion and understanding though. It's a shame that they are unwilling to carry on supporting you in this for as long as you need to, I would be there for my friends if they wanted support for however long they need it. I agree with the others when they say to try and find a new way of remembering him without your friends but it is perfectly understandable for you to feel upset at having to do that. I bake a cake for my little boy with the right amount of candles on and have that with a cuppa before going to the cathedral and lighting a candle and then releasing a balloon from our garden. We also have an apple tree for him and the apples are ready the month he was born, one day we hope to have apple pie from this tree. Thinking of you op, anniversaries are hard x

janey1234 Wed 12-Sep-12 11:20:57

I'm so sorry for your loss.
I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks last year and it was horrendous, and I felt very alone and that I was constantly on the verge of 'not coping'. But I have a friend who had a stillborn, my ex's sister's baby was born 6 weeks early and died after two days, and another friend whose baby died after a week due to heart complications, and I know that no matter how awful what I went through was, it cannot compare to what they suffered.
You must do what's right for you, and your friends should understand.
Big hugs.
x

EverlongYouAreGoldAndOrange Wed 12-Sep-12 11:21:29

once I find your post a bit hurtful if I'm honest.

Why should the OP change? She wants to remember her baby with her friends like she has done previously.

She's never not going to want to do that fgs.

Badvoc Wed 12-Sep-12 11:21:33

I have had early mc.
And as awful as they were I agree with you.
I cannot comprehend how awful a stillbirth or neonatal death would be.
Your friends obv are not comfortable with your feelings of loss and grief.
That's sad but you can't change that.
Perhaps mark the day with your dh?
I will light a candle for Ethan at church on sunday x

missymoomoomee Wed 12-Sep-12 11:22:18

I don't like your 'ranking' system of grief tbh. According to your system my daughters death isn't as sad as my sons.

I am sorry your friends aren't being more supportive, to look at it from her pov though she may feel you are lucky to have got to see and hold your little boy, she will never have that with the child she lost, just as I was lucky that I got to meet my children before they died albeit for a short time and I know a lot of people would have loved that too.

Angelversaries are just shit, I dread them every year, I will light an extra candle for wee Ethan tomorrow, I hope the day is as gentle on you as it can be, whatever you decide to do xx

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