During my training to become a bereavement doula, one of my classmates encountered a dilemma. She was called to the hospital to comfort a family that had just lost a baby and to present them with a care package. She longed to go, especially since there wasn't anyone else available to step up and do it. But there was one big problem: She was pregnant and showing.
Would the sight of her growing belly be a fresh source of pain for the mother? Was it better to have someone - even a pregnant mother - rather than no one? Would it be enough to tell them that she had also lost a baby before this pregnancy?
She posed her question to the group and wondered if she could just wear a huge sweatshirt to cover up the evidence of her own baby.
Maybe they won't notice.
At that point, the moderator stepped in and gave her an important reminder:
You have a right to your joy. There should be no shame or regret for your pregnancy, your baby or your journey and you should not take on those feelings in order to protect others. Being sensitive to other women is important but does not require that you sacrifice your joy and the appropriate and positive bonding that you should have with your own child. If you go, make sure to spend some focused time with your baby afterward, rubbing your belly and singing.
The question still remained and I'm not sure what the woman finally decided to do, but the lesson learned was huge. We do not need to feel guilty about our joy simply because others suffer. Our time will come. Everyone suffers. And our present joy is our refreshment and consolation. A gift from God for the present moment. It is a grace to prepare you to carry your own crosses and grow in courage to support others.
So how do we come together with our sisters, in our various stages of grief and joy, as a community of love, acceptance and gentleness? I wrote about that very thing over at
this week, and specifically, about how this affects our internet communities.
Won't you stop on by and share your thoughts and suggestions?