Things people don’t understand about child loss and grief (Archives)

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Things people don’t understand about child loss and grief

Original Statement: Still Grieving? Still dead. Still a parent. Rewritten statement: Always grieving. Always dead. ALWAYS a parent.

Still/Always

STILL grieving? Yes, I am still grieving.⁠⁠ I am still grieving, because the work of grief is never done.⁠ ⁠I am still grieving, because I put into my grief what I cannot put into life with my son.⁠ ⁠I am still grieving, because he is STILL, and will always, be dead.⁠..

Often when I share about my deceased child, people rush to give advice or hugs. I don't always need that, though.  Often, all I really need is for you to listen. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Often all I need is for you to listen

Often, when I share about my deceased child, that’s all I’m looking for: An ear. A person to open their heart to experience. Someone to take a moment in their day to read and acknowledge, without trying to analyze me.

19 March 2021 – Where I Live Now

I was tagged in a post the other day. An expectant parent had unexpectedly lost her child, and a mutual friend wanted to connect us. But then I was reading through the other comments on the post, and I found one that said, “someday this won’t hurt so bad,” and to be honest, I wanted to scream.

18 March 2021 – What I Wish You Knew

There’s something about the echoing emptiness, waking up in the morning and he’s not there. How I wish you had come in then, crawled into bed with me and just held me. How I wish you had shown me it was okay to fall apart…And then how I wish you had left again.

Notes for the Support Team - Children. Aren't. Replaceable. Please consider the impact of your words before you talk about things like subsequent children or adoption. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Children Aren’t Replaceable

Children are not replaceable. I know you probably don’t think they are…⁠
(DO you?)⁠⁠
I know you probably don’t think you can grab one baby out of a parent’s arms and then give them a different one with no consequence.⁠ (You DON’T think that, right?)⁠
But this is what we are sometimes hearing.⁠⁠

Heavy waves on a sunny day on the shores of North Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)

Scripts for Bereaved Parents

When I was new in my grief, there were a number of situations where people said or did something and I wanted to respond, but I just didn’t have the words. Now that I am further out, I have put together a set of potential scripts to use in these situations.

Thankfulness is not a cure for grief

It is common in loss circles to talk about finding thankfulness in the life we have left. There are so many things wrong with this sentiment. The biggest problem is that it assumes the bereaved can’t be thankful and grieving at the same time. The other main problem is the unspoken assumption that thankfulness is a “cure” for grief.⁠ It isn’t.

Screenshot of Scary Mommy Article "Sharing Pictures Of My Stillborn Son Is Not 'Gross'" with a photo of Adrian and Miranda in the background.

The First Real Byline—Published in Scary Mommy

Two big influencers lost children this year. In the wake of heavy criticism of their public grief, I wrote this piece in defense of sharing photos and talking about our beloved deceased children. Today, that story was published in Scary Mommy.

Blue dawnflowers at St Katharines’s Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

Why I Didn’t “Just Adopt”

Before I was pregnant for the first time, I looked at adoption from foster care. There are so many unwanted children, I reasoned, and I could be a means of giving them a home. Sometimes I marvel today at that simplistic attitude. Because adoption, even from foster care, isn’t simple.

Bench on the shore of South Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Re-Evaluation & New Priorities after the Death of a Child

I look back on that time now, and it’s like I’m looking at a different person. That old Miranda lived in a different world, where everything felt like it was possible. And even though it has been almost 3 years since then, I think a lot of people don’t understand I’m not that person anymore.

Matthiola flowers on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

26 Sep 2018 – Dear Grace

You are turning one next week, and I feel jealous. You are turning one, and my son won’t be here to send you a sloppy scribbled birthday card. You are turning one, and I am aching, and I realize that I miss your mother. I miss her, but I’m still not ready to be friends.

Miranda on the California coast (Synch Media)

21 Jun 2018 – The After

After he died, after that scream, I shattered. It wasn’t that time flowed differently. It was a completely different life.

Sunset on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

2 Jun 2018 – Peace

This year has been hard for me, but it’s been a clean kind of hard. Most people understand grief is a thing. Most people understand pain surrounding death. I don’t think most people understand what happens afterwards.

Sunset over the Pacific 1 - Feature

26 Feb 2018 – Nuclear Bomb Part 2

I call it a nuclear bomb. It’s a conversation ender. You meet someone, you’re making good small talk, and then they ask about your family. I will never deny my son. He is a permanent part of me. And so it happens — I tell them, “Yes, I have a child. He died shortly before he was born.” And everything stops. It’s no longer a casual conversation.

Sunset over the California desert, with highway signs in the distance (Miranda Hernandez)

1 Feb 2018 – Photos

In the black-and-white photos, he looks like he’s sleeping. Photos are difficult; they don’t tell the whole story.

Cherry blossoms in Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

Dear Pregnant Woman in My Office

Dear pregnant woman in my office – people are starting to get excited. They threw you a baby shower, and things are starting to feel very familiar. I wish I could explain why I’ve started to dislike you. I wish there were some logic beyond jealously and pain. 

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