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Read Letter

The Loss Of A Baby

My dear Jil, I commiserate with you on the loss of your baby boy. The loss of a child is not easy. It breaks human will. There’s a correspondent ache without pain. You’re numb, just numb, feel nothing. It’s a tough thing. Losing a child can be so tough on a marriage. There’s all that guilt and anger…emotional unavailability… These are raw emotions. Grieving requires a channel. It must be ousted. It’s why it’s good to cry. It’s a catharsis of the soul. The bile is emptied out as we inconsolably vent our pain. Grieving for a lost child can be tough on marriage. The frustration of reaching out for that which is no more can cause one to lash out at those proximate.
Unfortunately, those proximate to us are our loved ones, the ones sent to comfort us. And so we punish them for their love in our grief.

No one can know the pain of a mother at the loss of a child. No one. The gestationary period in the womb produces an eternal attachment between mother and child. The child feeds off the substances of his mother, substances material and immaterial. And so the bond of a mother to her child is very strong. The child came to be in the womb of the mother. Life begins in the womb. It’s why a mother can have so much control over her child. She got to know him first. He tasted life from her. It explains why grown men defer to their mother. Your mum is your mum till you die
Yes, teenagers sometimes fight with their mum, especially if the mum is deemed too strict. But time evens things out. The child acquires understanding as he grows old in life. And so I have a philosophical understanding of where you’re coming from. But all I can do is condole you at such a terrible loss. May the God of all comfort comfort you. Some pains are so deep the depths cannot be plumbed. It is at this time that you and your husband must say together in unity. You must not allow this grief to tear you apart. You must be united in sorrow. It’s as tough on him as it is on you. Only the dimensions differ.

When a man is at a loss as to what he could have done to prevent the loss of his child he experiences a dejected feeling of impotence. I’m trying to explain to you how men feel in these circumstances. The loss of a first born is particularly tough! A responsible man will somehow feel he has failed his family for his inability to prevent the loss. He knows he doesn’t have the power of prevention yet he takes on the moral burden. And then there’s you. When he sees you cry and mourn it’s a heavy pain for him. He cannot bear to see you like that because of the kind of woman you’ve been to him. You’ve been a supportive wife. And so there’s the pain from the loss of the child, the pain of seeing you cry, and then the pain from his inability to prevent the loss of the child. Triple pain.

The way men think, responsible men that is – they see themselves in a contractual obligation to their wife. The terms include provision and protection for the family. The man sees it as his duty to provide for his family and to protect his family from danger and bodily harm… His reasoning being that the wife takes care of administrative spheres of their life while he takes care of provision and protection. This is a traditional view of marriage. And so at the loss of your child he feels he has failed you in his duty as your husband. This devastates his sense of manhood. And so he’s as confused as you are, can’t explain what happened, doesn’t know what to do. So he blames himself for not being able to prevent the pain you’re going through. He’s going through his own sorrow. But he can’t openly express it because he has to be strong for you.

If you can muster the strength to ameliorate his sense of impotence and sense of shame, do that for him. It’s going to be tough. He’s going through a lot, asking questions. He’s retracing steps, asking himself could he have done better, could he have prevented the loss… Those are questions of the heart. Which means both of you have to comfort each other, he perhaps more than you. You’re the one who carried the baby for nine months in the womb, you knew the baby better than him. All the sensation of the baby being alive in the womb were felt by you… the kicks, the churching, the turning, the hand punching out, bulging your stomach… You were the child’s playfield, his first football field. It was in you he swam without drowning… You were nurturer and protector. You were his life source.

Don’t let this sorrow destroy your marriage. Let it bring you and your husband together. Be united in grief. Don’t blame each other. What is the use? All the blame in the world will not bring the child back. This apart from the unfairness of it all. No matter our determinations life has overriding veto. No matter our dreams life still has a say. And sometimes its sayings are unpalatable, sometimes disagreeable. It’s always clearer in hindsight. And there’s no point asking the question, why you. You won’t get an answer to that. If you do, you have a wrong answer. There are things in life which cannot be understood however much we seek understanding. There are things which will never make sense in life. Life is not logical, we just seek to make sense of it.

When things like this happen, we can only voyage into the realm of religion to find answers. But even in religion the answers can be difficult. And please don’t imagine God is punishing you with the loss of your child over some egregious stuff. God is not abominable. If God were to take our children as punishment for our transgressions, there’ll be no children left on earth. Back away from such thought alleys. You won’t find answers there. Don’t blame yourself or your husband. Sometimes in life, we have to accept things for what they are. We need to do that when our quest for understanding is unfruitful. You shouldn’t turn your brain inside out seeking answers to certain questions in life. Some things just are.

I will suggest after the initial grieving period you and your husband go away. Spend the time to renew deep commitment to each other, not so much in word but by just being there for each other. You cannot afford two losses – the loss of your child and the loss of your marriage. That will be double jeopardy. Your marriage is stressed. Both of you go away and refresh each other. It will take some time to fully recuperate. There will be flashes of remembrance – things that remind you of your late son… phrases, phases, places and faces. May God give you another child, and may the new bundle of joy more than make up for your loss.

Don’t attempt to do anything. What you cannot handle don’t force yourself to do. If you can’t take a condolence call so be it. Those who love you will understand. You need all the strength you can muster… Inner strength, physical strength… You need to eat too. May not be easy but put something down. In time, you’ll gain back your strength. In time, the colour will return to your life. In time, you’ll be able to smile again. May you never experience sorrow again. May your heart be healed, the pain bled out. May your marriage be stronger.

Feel free to write me if just to ventilate. Your husband should write me too. Tell him I said strong men cry. He must avoid breaking down and the best way to avoid that is to ventilate his grief. Grief should not be incubated. Use music. Music soothes the soul, can help lull you to sleep. Some classical music do that. You need sleep. Your soul needs repair. If it gets too tough call your doctor. His professional judgment will determine if you need sedative. You’ve been through excruciating pain. It’s going to be tough for the next few days. But the pain will dissipate. You will resume life. My condolences once more.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Grief

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