Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Dead Baby Card

Life deals us cards.  For some it may be the cancer card.  For others it may be the handicapped card.  For me, the dead baby card.

Yup, I said it - I have a dead baby card.  A select few who know me have heard me reference this card - typically those who have heard about it fully understand me, and get the thoughts behind it.  Oh, and they appreciate sarcasm as well, even in the shittiest of times.

I should pause here and warn that this post may have crass language in it - please keep in mind that I am treating this blog as my journal, so I only minimally edit my thoughts for public consumption.

We don't get to choose our cards, and we cannot trade them in.  Once a cancer survivor, always a survivor.  Typically, if someone has a physical handicap they incorporate that into who they are.  After Ethan died, I will always be a mom of a baby who died.

So this card, it only serves certain functions.  I prefer to play my card as a keep absurd, hurtful, and douche-like comments about Ethan and my grief journey away from me.  I like to think that people will pause before opening their mouths to me, and refrain from idiotic comments.  After all, things are hard enough right now without people adding to that.

The dead baby card is not to be played for sympathy, that is an abuse of the card.  And remember, the reasoning behind my card being issued to me was horrendous - an event that I would trade my card in for at any moment if that were allowed.  So don't sit there, reading this, judging me please.  I don't wave my card around for the world to see as attention-seeking behavior.  I only place the card on the table if I feel judged about my grief or that Ethan's beautiful memory is being threatened.

Shortly after Ethan died, probably somewhere in June, I realized that I had this card.  That I would have it forever.  And I thought that it's use would at least grant me reprieve from the offensive remarks or judgments of the world for at least a year.  Sadly, I am reminded of late that this is not the case.

I am blessed to have an AMAZING support network of friends, family and church members who honor and respect Ethan's memory and my grief.  Many parents grieving their baby cannot say the same, sadly.  However, there have been occasions recently where it seems that some individuals think I should be further along in my grief by now.  You know, "it has been ... months now."  That one was offensive and insulting and just 5 months after Ethan's death.  Another was from a somewhat distanced friend (a nice person who clearly didn't get how to speak to me).  Here's a tip, when you start a conversation off with a "this is coming out of love" or something similar, what follows generally is not going to make the person feel any better.

Is there an expiration date on my dead baby card?  When the card is only played to protect myself and those that I love?  I sure hope not, goodness - please give me a year at least.

If you made it through this entry I hope you don't think I am the douche!


  1. Annie, I love you. You are one of the least douche-like people I know. Pam

  2. I agree with Pam. Also, there is no expiration date on the card. Protect yourself and the ones you love...damn right.

    1. thanks kathy! damn straight, you are a recovering evangelical!

  3. Annie- you said all of that in such a nice way : ) Boundaries are so important. Unfortunately there are those who perhaps lack emotional maturity or life expirience who will try to tell us about our grief, or our babies, instead of taking a step back and trying to understand. They may be well meaning, they may not be. Either way, a sound smack on the head with a rolled up newspaper will often shut them up : )

    Lots of love to you, Annie, and to Ethan too!

    1. Jen! always lovely to hear from you. i have been thinking of you and AdiaRose often lately. Yes, boundaries are healthy for everyone - though setting them can be uncomfortable at times. the "nice way" about this post is probably the part that i self-edited for public consumption. so much love to you & your sweet girl. Thanks for remembering Ethan with me.