Most of you that know me should know by now that I have a new niece! But having lost my daughter only four months ago, you can only imagine what others were thinking. Was I going to be emotionally all right around my sister’s baby? I wasn’t even sure.
“Lord, help me to know when I need to leave the room,” I would silently pray as my sister’s due date neared. I kept planning that maybe I shouldn’t go to the hospital or stay at their house when the baby was newly born. Maybe that would help me keep back the tears. Then, it happened. I stared at my phone screen as my sister texted me that her contractions were getting more painful. And all I wanted to do was jump up and down!
“We have to go see her this weekend, Sweetie. I just can’t wait.” I chattered to Kenny when we got home from work that day. Was it a bittersweet feeling? Not at all! I was overwhelmed with excitement at meeting my first niece. I’m not saying that I won’t get emotional in the future, but I loved seeing my sister’s little girl that weekend–without tears.
Many of you bereaved mothers will experience a similar obstacle one day. You will have just lost your beloved child, but someone else’s happy life will keep going cheerily on. How can you grieve your child and still enjoy a loved one’s happiness too?
Realize that you may get emotional, especially if your loss was recent. You don’t have to fight it. Think of safeguards to keep the room less awkward. Here are a few safeguards that I thought about:
- Go into another room quietly when you feel as if you may cry. When I say quietly, I mean be as subtle as possible. The last thing you want is for the new parents to feel sorry about their joy.
- Get plenty of rest so that tiredness will not factor into your emotions. Try not to pack your day with so many things that you don’t have time to rest. Think about your travel time too. If you arrive late at night when you’re exhausted and meet the baby then, you may be more likely to cry simply because you’re tired.
- Stay at a hotel or with a different family member when you visit the parents. Do this if you don’t think you will be emotionally stable at all. In fact, don’t be afraid to wait a few weeks or months to see the baby.
- Pray. If you trust in God, you should be praying about your time with the new baby. Only God can bring true happiness to your heart even through the pain.
- Finally, when you do see the baby, think about the joy that this new life will bring. Go ahead. Smile at those tiny nose twitches and wide-mouthed yawns. They are pretty cute, and you know it.
by Sarah George