That's how I was left after bumping into an acquaintance today who told me she had lost a baby a few years ago and then asked how far along I'd been with George. She then said that of course my loss wasn't as bad as hers because she carried her baby longer than me and her baby was officially stillborn and it'll be easier for me to get over it. Yes, she really did say "officially" and "get over it". I've heard some insensitive remarks since George was lost and born but this one quite entirely takes the biscuit and indeed, the biscuit tin. I wonder if she feels better about her loss by negating mine? Didn't she realise that she was also negating George's sweet short loved life? How dare she.
And excuse me but I didn't realise there was a grief competition? Please tell me there isn't; that this person was terribly misguided or ignorant or just plain stupid.
Tell me there aren't grades of grief dependent on fetal age or weeks in the womb or breaths after birth? Tell me there isn't a scale of loss? Tell me there isn't more merit to your grief because your baby was older than mine? Tell me there isn't more merit to my grief because my baby was older than the baby of another? Because if any of this is true then I fear for our humanity.
If you don't mind I'd like to tell you what I think: The loss of any wanted, loved and longed for baby, and even if it is just the loss of the hope of the dream of a baby, is utterly devastating. Utterly. For example, If you've been hoping for years for a baby and your infertility treatment fails yet again then isn't that great loss worth marking? If your baby never breathes or lives for a few minutes or thrives for a few months, or lives for 5 years, does that make one grief greater than another? It's certainly going to be different I'll agree to that, but somehow better or bigger or harder or worse or more worthy of sympathy? I honestly don't think so. Tell me if I'm wrong.
I find that I am slowly becoming a stronger person because of losing George and because of this all-new-me this woman's remarks haven't dug in too deep. Oh they've scratched the surface alright but this anger won't last longer than it takes to type this post. It isn't worth my time or effort: I'm too busy healing. If I'd have met her sooner after George's birth I don't know how I would have reacted but I know what I have lost and I know that my grief is a relevant as the grief that anyone with a lost baby is feeling.
Unfortunately at the time I was left utterly speechless ('aint that just the way?!) and didn't get the chance to respond, but to this woman with the coldest most selfish heart I have ever had the misfortune to encounter I would have liked to have said, "I am so sorry for your loss" but also, (and forgive me for using such language but sometimes it's absolutely appropriate) "fuck you."
And now I'm going to take a nice relaxing warm bath and wash this day off and be done with it.