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Rebuilding friendships after babyloss..

(12 Posts)
hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 09:54:40

Just looking for some advice really..

We had a premature baby a few years ago who did not make it, and lost touch with friends. Some did not keep in touch with us, other friendships had to be let go as they had children of a similar age and it was too hard to be around them.

I rebuilt my life, rebuilt my social network. Life got good again - and then we were lucky enough to have another baby recently who is with us and OK

Hubby contacted all our friends including those we'd lost touch with. One set want us to go visit and have given us some dates. I am really upset by how this couple behaved; the girl gave me a hard time for not visiting her children and when I explained the depth of my sadness and why, she did not reply for several months, and rather than saying this was because she felt awkward and did not know what to say (which is what I suspect), blamed it on me for not visiting.

DH thinks if we don't go then we lose the chance of making it up with them. I don't feel ready as baby is still only weeks old, has not been to visit anyone yet, I'm still struggling with BF on demand, and as there is no routine yet, we may get there and he might need feeding and I just don't feel comfortable doing that in someone's house who I am not close to. We could invite them over but they have several kids and it might be a bit much in our tiny flat; we have hardly had any visitors yet as I have just been trying to rest up as much as poss, our first visitors this weekend ended up needing a lot of waiting on.. so I am in no hurry to have people come see the child, it's not like he will remember it at this age!

Any advice? People were so cruel to us after we lost her.. but I found my new circle - and really I would just like to stick with those people. But we do have mutual friends in common so might bump into them at things.. which is hubbys reason for smoothing it over.

MmeLindt Tue 25-Aug-09 10:00:40

I am so sorry for your loss. And that your "friends" added to your grief, rather than lessened it.

As to the visit, are they far away from you? Could you meet in a cafe close to your home perhaps?

I would tell them that you are still not quite in a routine yet and you would prefer to wait a bit until visiting.

Don't invite people around unless you know that you will feel better once they have gone, not that you will be exhausted.

hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 10:22:50

I haven't invited anyone round myself.. but DH's friends asked him if they could come and he feels we lost so many friends that the few that remained "true" we need to hang on to rather than put off. There aren't any more scheduled though in the coming weeks thank goodness.
She repeatedly asked us round in the last few years and then got annoyed at me "making excuses" (her words); so I am worried that she would interpret me saying we aren't in a routine as another "excuse". They are about a 25min drive from us.
Cafe near to us is a DEFINITE possibility.. thanks for the suggestion -or maybe a park so there is room for their LOs to play. I could say that we aren't up for visiting as not in a routine but give them the option of meeting nearer us in case we need to rush home (so this is not interpreted as making an excuse) OR postpone it for a bit longer.

Thank you, that's a really good solution!

In general have people found that in the long run, once some time has passed, it is best to smooth things over with people who let them down at the actual time of their bereavement?

MmeLindt Tue 25-Aug-09 11:51:47

The park idea is great, maybe you could suggest a picnic. Get your DH to raid M&S for yummy picnic stuff so you don't have any work.

I don't have any personal experience with this kind of behaviour of a friend after a bereavement but it would make me wonder about the worth of friendship with this woman.

In the moment when you really needed her - even for her just to understand that you had to keep your distance for your own sanity - she was not there for you.

If your friends are not there for you when you need them, what is the point in keeping in touch?

You and your DH are very forgiving. Perhaps you need to make this peace offering so that you can come to terms with the conflict that you had with your friends. If she does not value that, then she is not worth the bother.

NanaNina Tue 25-Aug-09 19:30:16

Dear Hairband - first of all congratulations on the birth of your baby. I'm sure you're right that this friend felt awkward about the loss of your first baby and rather than admit that, is blaming you.

This all sounds like an ordeal you could do without right now, both emotionally and physically. I would be very tempted to put them off until your baby is a little older and you are feeling stronger. There is always the danger that such an insensitive person will be offensive again and that is the last thing you need now.

IF you really do decide to go ahead, I agree with a time limited meeting in the local cafe/park and make this clear as she may think that they can all descend on you after the cafe/park. good luck

hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 20:51:43

I don't think that she will be offensive again. But I do just feel a sense of dread at going.. having to keep the appearance of being sane, when I feel anything but on no sleep and with baby acting random.. I could do it(as I learned to keep the "mask" on) but would rather save my energy.
In a few weeks when got used to everything a bit more will be easier. But how can I say this without it being interpreted as an "excuse"? We are talking years now.. nearly 4 since last meet.. so adding more delay is rude.

muddle78 Tue 25-Aug-09 21:21:27

hairband, my first son was stillborn. i learned who my friends were and whom my friends were not. my circle decreased significantly as a result but it is not about quantity with regard to friendship, it is about quality. my dads wife had my half brother about 2 months after my boy was buried. i still have not met him as it is too painful, he is now 5 (time changes after baby loss, i will not pressurize myself to get 'better' and see him before i am ready... there is no time limit to your grieving process). it is normal to avoid small babies/ pregnant people etc after a such loss. this friend sounds like an insensitive bitch to me. turn the tables, can you imagine being upset with her in a similar situation? what is important is you and your new baby.

i am pregnant again now and i plan to ban most people from visiting for the first month and then only select people will be welcome, people whom i a completely comfortable with. all others will be told that i am extremely paranoid about swine flu/ seasonal flu etc. perhaps this could be a good excuse/ reason for you too?

dumping rubbish friends is liberating and necessary sometimes wink

talking Tue 25-Aug-09 22:00:12

Congratulations on the birth of LO.

Do you want to "make up" with this friend?
I personally would not - she does not seem to be understanding your feelings when you had a difficult time in your life and I wonder how supportive she is now - although life events may have changed her and she may be more compassionate now.

Maybe meet up and see what happens.

I'm sorry you had such a bad time after your loss. If you had a c-section you can say that you are in pain - if she dismisses that then I wouldn't even bother seeing her! There are lots of other mums out there.

hairband Wed 26-Aug-09 10:19:26

Husband is insisting we go. We have lots of friends in common so will do it to keep the peace, but is acquantainceship not friendship now. I spent a lot of time coming to terms with not having her in my life and feel very anxious at the thought of having to go and visit them.. and I lost sleep last night during a night of disturbed sleep anyway! But my husband feels that if we don't go now then the friendship will never be repaired. It is sad as it is overshadowing my enjoyment of this newborn.. here I am stressing about it when I should be enjoying him as much as poss, it's hard enough to cope as it is.
My husband does not understand how hurt I was by the lack of support and thinks I should forget about it - but the friendship he had with them was different to the close friendship me and her had.

So many people were off with us. That is what I don't understand and hurts to this day. Maybe people cover up their awkwardness at death with "getting annoyed" - justify their silence because they don't know what to say by blaming you for not getting in contact but it still bloody hurts. I don't know how I can come to terms with it.

talking Wed 26-Aug-09 12:35:28

I don't know what to say, apart from saying to DH, you go and say I'm too tired to go.

I didn't stand my ground enough with DH when LO was born and he wanted people to see her. I regret that to this day - please do what YOU want to do and don't let anyone push you around, especially when you have to adjust to motherhood. It's tough enough, without additional pressure to be sociable with people you don't want to see.

LilMissPerimenopause Wed 26-Aug-09 15:49:18

Dear Hairband,

I was so sorry to read about your experience with your friend, as it is so similar to my own. My own DS died during labour several years ago. I know that some "friends" found it awkward dealing with my grief, but the real friends were supportive and put their awkwardness aside. However, there were also quite a few friends who dealt with my grief by being offhand or unpleasant (ie, saying "oh aren't you over it yet" - less than a year later)or playing down the whole thing as if it wasn't really important or as bad as I thought because he was only a baby (the words of a now former friend). I stopped seeing them and don't regret it.

If you want to try again at friendship with this woman, then this should be your decision alone. My brother behaved horribly after my DS died so we did not speak for years. We are now back in touch but our relationship is not the same as I have the feeling that if I ever really needed him he would not be there. However I made the decision that I would rather have him in my life so have tried to put those feelings to one side (it also makes it much easier for the rest of the family).

If I were you I would agree to meet her when you feel up to it and see how things go. You have just had a baby (congrats btw) and frankly have enough on your plate without added worry over all this too.

hairband Wed 26-Aug-09 18:56:25

I've tried to talk to him. He said he would go on his own with the baby but then realised that I would need to be there for the baby to be fed.
I tried to explain how I felt - that her LOs are too similar an age, it's too much of a reminder, that there was so much hurt caused by how the friendship died.. but now that he is OK about things as have our happy miracle, he just expects me to be ok too and acts frustrated and uncommunicative that I am not.
That hurts. But I guess it is the male v female way of grief that is different.
I will do it, to keep the peace in the social circle, for example if we are invited to a mutual friends' party, but am not interested in reviving the friendship because there is not a friendship there to be revived. We were left out of their annual party after the loss, that previously we had always been invited to, with all our mutual friends there.
An an acquaintainceship between us as couples and if he wants to spend time with them then he can. I will keep some expressed milk around on that day so if need be he can go up with that. End of.
Have talked myself out of going now - see I keep going round in circles.It just means revisiting a very painful time in my life as it means relooking at how and why our friendship broke down and I had come to terms with the loss of this particular friendship.
I just cannot understand how you could take offence at someone who had lost their baby not visiting yours.

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