AIBU to have made a donation to SANDS and set a "in memoriam site?"

(22 Posts)
lifeistooshort Fri 28-Oct-11 15:26:36

Long story will try to keep it short. My cousin who was 6months pregnant was told at her scan that her baby had a heart defect and wouldn't survive. She was pushed to terminate (she is in France). She lost her baby a month ago. My mum broke then news to me that my cousin would have to terminate and said that "it was for the best as the baby would not have survived more than a few days and they would give him a little injection and that would be it". I was really upset to hear her talk like that of a little baby and completely disregarding my cousin's pain or her feeling or the fact that she would be loosing her baby.

Anyway fast forward a month or so and my cousin has been heartbroken. I have not seen her as I am not in France but have tried to call her several times. When she told me taht she didn't feel up for talking I have left her along for say a week to 10 days. I have tried to be sensitive about it and to show that I love her without making a nuisance of myself. I am the only person from the whole family who has tried to contact my cousin. Absolutely no one has phone,written or anything

Anyway I am moving and had a lot of children and baby stuff to sell or give. I decided to give them away and if people asked me if they could pay me to says they could give me a small contribution for SANDS.

Today I have made a donation to SANDS with a view to supporting families who are in a situation similar to my cousin as there is nothing like SANDS in france. I thought I would also set up a little "in memoriam" site for the baby. I put a picture of a shooting star and also the song twinkle twinkle and sent the link to some members of my family (without asking for a donation) saying that if they wanted to put a message or a song or something the could.

I have now been completely flamed in an email by my mum saying that I was making a show of death and that basically my cousin should just forget about it and move on and not think of her baby anymore and basically telling me off because I brought the subject of the baby back up.

So to those who have experienced similar tragedies as my cousin, did I do the wrong thing? Should we just all ignore her and forget that baby forever. I replied to my mum that I didn't see how making a donation to a charity and trying to show love and support to my cousin was making a "show" and also told her that I doubted that parents could ever forget their lost child.

Sorry if long but am really really upset about all of this and even more at the though that perhaps I did the wrong thing towards my cousin

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lifeistooshort Fri 28-Oct-11 15:37:45

anyone?

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PigeonPie Fri 28-Oct-11 15:42:55

I would have been very touched if someone had done that for me.

I don't believe that death of any sort, but particularly a child, should be swept under the carpet. You can never forget and shouldn't. That baby will always be a part of your cousin.

What a lovely thing to do for such a tragedy.

lifeistooshort Fri 28-Oct-11 15:47:33

Thank you Pigeon. And so sorry for your loss.

That is what I thought too. I also get the feeling that the "older generation" seems to think that my cousin should "snap out of it" and move on before she is ready. She only has had a month or so. Also I don't think she has had any opportunity to talk about her baby yet and I feel it is a bit too soon to shut the subject permanently as presumably at some point she will want to talk about it. It is a bit like the elephant in the room "pretend it never happened" perhaps because it makes other people uncomfortable. If I were in my cousin's shoes I would be so so upset to be shut out (my youngest is 14 months so I guess I find it easier for me to imagine what it must feel like).

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PigeonPie Fri 28-Oct-11 15:56:52

She will need lots of time, a listening ear and some understanding of what she's been through. She might not want to talk now, but drop her a line just saying that you'll listen and it might be the lifeline she needs.

I had a fantastically supportive family and DH and it still took me six months to start to get myself remotely together and my DTs weren't that far along. That was seven years ago now and there are still days when I'm brought up a little short, not as many now, but it still happens - despite having an extremely busy life with two DSs.

Give your cousin the Sands details I'm sure they will be able to help by phone or email even if it isn't in person.

CombineArvester Fri 28-Oct-11 16:11:11

Honestly? You have to let your cousin take the lead on this. It is up to her to set up a memoriam site for the baby, not you. Fine to do it if she has asked you but if she has not, imho it is overstepping the mark. In doing this it could be seen that you are seeking attention for yourself.

Is your cousin French? If she is English speaking you could put her in touch with ARC (antenatal results and choices). Also be there for her and call her, mention the baby etc. but I don't think turning her loss into a conflict with your family is in any way helpful.

The older generation do not necessarily want to sweep things under the carpet, they may feel that referring to the baby will upset your cousin more. Of course nothing could upset your cousin more, and ignoring the issue would be as upsetting. But they (your mother) may in their minds be trying to help the bereaved person.

Also bear in mind your cousin may also have issues with guilt surrounding the termination that make this more complex than a 'normal' stillbirth and you may not be the best person to help her with this.

cat64 Fri 28-Oct-11 16:19:20

Message withdrawn

lifeistooshort Fri 28-Oct-11 16:58:55

Thanks pigeon for your good advice and for sharing your experience. It can't be easy and dealing with the loss of two children must be completely heartbreaking. I have been trying to do what you suggest. Just call her and leave her a message or emailing her to say I am here to talk if you want to. And I try every week or so.She recently told me she was going on holiday and she would feel ready when she is back. I will be ready when she is. She is so dear to me I don't want her to have to go through all of this on her own or to be avoided by people just because they don't know what to say. I don't want to be one of these people. I think that if she can leave through that situation and come through the over side then I can hear whatever she has to say regardless as to how hard it would be. I want her to feel that her little baby's life is acknowledged because as you say it has changed her forever...

Thank you Combine for your comments too. I certainly wasnt' trying toiget attention to myself. I was just trying to show her by making the donation that her little baby had left a positive mark. It seemed a shame not to make it in his memory when he prompted it. My cousin is French and not english speaking. I am also not turning her loss into a family conflict. I am just upset that my mother who can't even be bothered to offer any support to my cousin flames me in my clumsy attempt to show some. My parents are overseas so won't see my cousin etc.. And I am not trying to be the substitute to professional help. I am just trying to remind her that she is loved and that people are there for her if she needs them.

I just wish I could jump in a train and give her a big hug but I can't at the moment.

And cat64 that's the thing: no contacts have been made, no cards sent, nothing which is why I thought if I set up the page perhaps people would put some words of encouragement, something. I have also sent an email to my cousin with all the details passwords etc of the site so she can do what she want with it or even forget about it is that is what she wants. It is not my site, it is hers really, just like an epostcard with a song.

I wish I hadn't now, but that the problem you are doomed if you do and doomed if you don't.

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lifeistooshort Fri 28-Oct-11 17:03:34

oh and I only send the invitation to the site to my mum, my sister and my brother because I know they didn't even send a card. It isn't like I have send it to the whole world either

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chipmonkey Fri 28-Oct-11 20:22:11

lifeistooshort, I think your Mum is wrong. Your cousin will never, ever forget about it, although she does have to "move on" in a sense because life does go on and those of us who have lost babies are pulled along with it whether we like it or not!
A donation to SANDS is lovely but agree with others about the site, I think had someone done that for me, I would have been a bit put out. But that does depend on your cousin and your relationship with her.

lifeistooshort Fri 28-Oct-11 20:46:13

Thanks Chipmonkey. I wish I hadn't done the site now. I saw it more like an electronic postcard/memory book. I didn't think it could offend. I hope she realises I had the best intentions in mind.

I just think it is quite sad that everybody seems to have decided for her that she shouldn't talk about her baby or think about it and move on. I agree she will have to move on eventually but it is so soon and it must be so lonely the place she is in at the moment.

.....and I am so sorry for all of you who have lost your precious babies. I can't think of anything worse happening to someone. Thank you for answering my thread.

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QueenoftheVerse Fri 28-Oct-11 23:41:40

I think you've done a wonderful thing. I would have been touched if someone had done that for me and I don't think you're trying to push your way in as a substitute anyting.

In my whole family (extended I mean - aunts, uncles, cousins etc.) there was only 1 aunt who acknowledged I lost my DD. Only 1. That 1 aunt sending me a bunch of flowers with a lovely note attached meant more to me than I can say. I feel closer to her now than I do to anyone else in my whole family.

Almost all of the rest of the family (which is huge) have just swept it under the carpet and pretended it never happened, which to me is heartbreaking.

There's not a day goes by I don't think of my DD and wish she was wish us. I wish the rest of my family would feel the same way.

I'm quite moved you've done this.

lifeistooshort Sat 29-Oct-11 13:37:47

Thank you so much for your lovely post Queenoftheverse it means a lot to me as I have been so upset about this all. I fear that my cousin is exactly in the same situation as your. When I first mentioned I was going to call her everybody was like "what you can't even think about it, are you mad etc..". I still did. I didn't manage to speak to her but she has had my emails and my voicemails telling her I am here if she wants to listen and telling her I love her and I am thinking of her. She emailed me and she was really touched that I had tried to contact her.

I think people not acknowledging the fact that she lost her baby is so cruel. It has changed her forever but somehow because her baby was born sleeping it is as if it never existed and she not entitled to the pain a mother would feel when she loose a child. I was trying to explain that to my husband yesterday. For her the baby was a baby, she carried him for six months, felt him move, had dreams I am sure.. So why is it that because he was born sleeping that her grieving isn't allowed or recognised.

Anyway I am going on and on. But thank you again. I am feeling a bit better thinking that perhaps she will realise that I had the best intentions. I saw it more as a gift to them and to show them that to the outside world their baby mattered tooo.

And I am so sorry for your loss too Quuenoftheverse. You are all so brave ladies. Thank you again to all of you who have posted.

If anything I guess next time I would either come and ask people for their opinion first or think things through a bit more.

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Northernlurker Sun 30-Oct-11 00:15:49

I think it is better to do something than nothing. It is better to mark the life of your cousin's child in some way than no way. What can possibly hurt more - being annoyed by a well meaning gesture or feeling like your child never existed? I know which I'd prefer.

Friends of ours lost their daughter at 20 weeks. Just over a year later mum was expecting again. I heard mutual friends saying 'wouldn't it be nice if x had a girl as she already has a boy'. I was stunned - X has two daughters (baby was a girl) not one. It was like the whole loss thing had never happened. Brushed out of history. If it were me that would hurt more than anything.

chipmonkey Sun 30-Oct-11 01:25:41

life I hope I didn't make you feel bad.sad I was relating my situation to your cousin's and I suppose I felt that in my own case I probably would have felt my own cousins would have overstepped the mark had they made a site. But I don't know my cousins all that well. If you and your cousin have always been close that could be very different.
I'm sure your cousin is very moved by the fact that you care so much particularly if other family members are acting as if nothing happened.

lifeistooshort Sun 30-Oct-11 20:49:51

Thanks chipmonkey and northerlurker my cousin has put me out of my misery because she sent me quite a long email today. She was incredibly touched about it (huge relief) and said she would probably use it when she feels up to it to put the mass music and the order of services from him funeral. We are quite close her an me, not so much now because we live quite far apart but when we were little she was closer to me than my own sister, she was my best friend, my sister at heart and even if we never see enough of each other, we have a special relationship. I even had to do the entertainment at her wedding because her own sisters didn't feel up to it and thought I knew her better than they do.

Any way I am glad she wasn't offended by the gesture and I am even gladder that she seemed to have come out of the black hole and on the grey cloud instead. She still has way to go but seems to have some good days now.

Thank you again to all for your comments, postive or not and for sharing your own experiences with me. I really do appreciate it.

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BleedyGhoulzombiez Sun 30-Oct-11 21:08:14

What a lovely cousin you are! smile

chipmonkey Tue 01-Nov-11 00:34:19

Ah, then you and your cousin are "soul-sisters" and of course you would know exactly what she would want! smile If she speaks English, would she like to join our Bereavement thread We have all lost children, some in pregnancy, some newborns and some older children. It's a club none of us ever wanted to join but we do help each other a lot.

lifeistooshort Tue 01-Nov-11 11:49:19

Thanks Chimpmonkey but I doubt she speaks English well enough to be able to follow the thread. And I suspect she must have been on forums quite a bit as in her last email she mentioned trying to stay away from forums for a bit and concentrating on the positive.

I hope she recovers at some point in the future, she used to be on of these person that just lights up the room when she comes in, althway bubbly and sparkly like a little ray of sunshine and the ability to make people feel better/more positive just by being there. It would be so sad if she lost that too...

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lifeistooshort Tue 01-Nov-11 11:50:01

oops terrible spelling today!

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onholidaywithbaby Tue 01-Nov-11 11:53:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lifeistooshort Wed 02-Nov-11 11:12:50

Thank you for your kind post onholidaywithbaby and sorry to hear about your loss. IMO loosing a baby at which ever stage or pregnancy or infancy is the worst thing that can happen to a mum.

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