Jump to content

Should you let a dead baby go? (Outsider's Perspective)


Recommended Posts

Okay, so I'm no parent. I'm a teenager. And really I have no right to have an opinion on this. But I don't really know where else to go. This is something I find frustrating from an outsider's perspective.


My ex girlfriend is still a close friend of mine. She told me about a dead brother of hers and at first I found the story tragic, but gradually I became more and more irritated with how often her and her mother would mention this child. At first I thought he died at an older age, but it turns out he died a few days after his birth. Now I understand it must be awful to lose a child, but this is where my concern comes in.


This girl has literally had this dead brother of hers rubbed in her face. She never knew him. She was born a year after him and I'm convinced her parents may not have even had her if it wasn't for him dying. And the thing is I just can't be bothered listening to my friend anymore when she starts talking about some heartfelt tribute to someone she never knew when I have watched people lose their children at older ages. Let me just give a few examples of why I find it particularly weird:


First of all, when it was the brother's birthday my friend (gf at the time) had rung me up on Skype. She then looked sad and said "I'm a bit sad today." I asked her why and she said "Because it would've been his birthday." I got annoyed but didn't show it because I have lost two grandparents. Two people I knew and grew up with. And here she was being sentimental mere days after my grandfather's death day, and I didn't make a fuss. And if I did I would keep it with my family only. And besides, I could understand if her mother got upset but not her.


As a child this girl grew up in a lodge of some sort for people who abused drugs and stuff. From what I've seen of it they had a lovely garden and apparently there was a little garden dedicated to the dead baby. It's a lovely idea but personally for me I think for the mother to pretty much tell this girl so early on in life that she had a dead sibling was a bit daunting and unfair. And the lodge was an awful place with some very nasty people who damaged stuff like that garden, and now when they go back to check upon the place they get hurt when seeing that the dead baby's tribute garden is abandoned and ruined.


I've been told that the mother hates flowers. She can't stand being given them. The reason is because they remind her of her dead baby. So if she receives them for her birthday or for a celebration she'd get upset. Apparently when my friend was only five years old she came home with a daisy chain and her mother burst out crying and told her the entire story of her dead brother. Again, I personally think it's just unfair to do that to a kid. If my mother had told me that I had a dead brother (which I believed I did have for a while and it turns out that my mother did have a pregnancy loss a year before I was born which I somehow predicted as a small child, and that alone was enough to disturb me at the age of nine) I would just feel guilty for existing or really upset. As I said in the brackets I asked my mum when I was young about having a dead brother and she said "no" but a few weeks later she confessed that she did have a miscarriage. She only went into detail in recent years now that I'm almost an adult.


The mother will also tell everyone she meets about her dead child. The day she first met my mother she was asked about how many children she had. She said "Six. One in heaven." My mum legit had no idea how to respond to that. She didn't know the woman and she smiled and said it so proudly. And once I was at a fair and she told the story to a bloke running a medieval stall. I don't think it's really a great thing to talk about when you first meet someone...


And now my friend's older brother has just had a baby son. His middle name is the name of the dead baby. That's okay - I knew a girl whose middle name was the name of her dead twin and she was fully aware of that. But now my friend's mother (the great auntie? I'm not sure) and my friend (auntie) have started to call the baby a nickname based on his middle name. I was told that today and I did kinda get a little bit narky with her which she didn't appreciate. I'm sorry but it's enough that my friend has had all of this thrown at her, does that little boy really deserve to have more thrown at him? When he grows up he'll be told that his middle name comes from one of the children who died in the family. It's lovely but I don't think it will mean as much to him as it my friend and her mother hope it would. And knowing the girl's mother she will tell him about the dead baby the moment he learns to speak.


So... I just wanna know if I'm being a ? Should I politely tell my friend to not tell me anymore heartfelt stories about this dead baby because it just makes me uncomfortable? And also, should you let a dead baby go after eighteen years? There are people I know who have chaos in their lives where they lose their adult children to brain tumours and stuff. Also whenever I tell my friend about my mother feeling upset over the loss of her parents she gets all grumpy and laughs and starts getting sarcastic, acting like a "triggered tumblr user". I mean, she's hardly one to talk when her mother cries at the sight of a ing daisy chain. (Pardon my language but I'm really riled up at the hypocrisy).


So should you move on from losing a baby? Would you force your child to know about a dead baby early on? If you had another kid to look after would you really cling on to a baby who only lived for a few days at maximum?


You guys already know my thoughts. And I'm expecting some people reading this may have lost a baby. If you have I am truly sorry and I hope I have not offended you. It's just that I have come from an outside perspective where I've literally watched some poor girl sit there having this dead brother thrown in her face and it's almost like her mother has forgotten about her youngest child. She's brainwashed by this sorrow which she shouldn't even be feeling. That baby died about nineteen or twenty years ago now. I'm not saying someone should forget about a dead baby, but I do think it is important to consider those around you especially if you have other children. I'm honestly tired of seeing this baby's name everywhere and I feel awful that my sympathy has just been drained from me so that I feel nothing now. I'm tired of having to awkwardly stand around the family and act like I'm awfully sorry for a baby that died nearly two decades ago. Again I have no place to talk about how someone should feel, but I really needed to get this frustration out.

Link to comment

It does sound like one big dysfunctional family. I think the girl's parents have drummed this about her brother into her head. I would say the last chance to save your friendship is to sit down and talk to her about how mentioning the dead brother makes you feel and tell her each time she starts talking about him, you're going to remind her she talking about him again and then walk away or not talk to her. You've got to condition her not to do it. No need to fight or argue. If you can't get her to change, then you've got to leave.

Link to comment

Everyone deals with grief differently. And grief over a lost child, no matter how young, is real, authentic grief. When my mother had two miscarriages in a row, she went into a period of depression for several years that I remember pretty clearly, even though I was 6 - 9 at the time. To this day, she frequently is in low spirits or subdued on their "birthdays," just as she is on the anniversaries of her dad or brother's deaths. We have woven remembrances of family members that have passed away into our Christmas tree tradition and it is part of the "family story" that gets retold every year, which means that my youngest siblings were told about the ones that had died long, long, long before they could even understand what those words meant.


That doesn't mean she doesn't love her other children, whether born before or after, or that she prioritized her loss over us. It means she experienced a deep pain and loss, went through a period of grief that included some unhealthy aspects, and came through to a "healthy" grief that she will probably bear the rest of her life. I don't think we ever really "let go" or "get over" the loss of loved ones; we just find healthy ways to move on and reconcile that moving on with our love and loss.


The issue you have, I think, is not really about grief over a lost child. It's about you and your friend playing the "who's grief is worse" game and neither of you respecting each other. Basically, you sound resentful over your friend being grieved over a brother she never got the chance to know when she should be empathetic towards your grief of losing grandparents you had a relationship with, and meanwhile your friend is dismissive of you and you mom's grief over a "natural" (in terms of the cycle of life) loss of parents/grandparents, while not appreciating her family's "unnatural" loss of a child (families expect to have to one day say goodbye to the older members, but do not expect to have to lose the younger ones). Yes, it sounds like maybe the mom has unfairly pushed some of her grief onto her daughter. But it's not your job to judge whether either mother or daughter has "the right" to feel as they do about the baby. On the flip side, you don't need friends in your life that are going to snipe and snark over your family's grief either. Basically, either you guys need to have a serious conversation about supporting each other emotionally, even if you don't understand what the other person is going through, or agree that you will not talk about your loss and grief anymore, or you guys should just let the friendship go. Because it sounds like both of you have enough crap in your life without taking potshots at each other for not having the worse tragedy.

Link to comment

As a mother who lost a baby and held his dead body in her hand I would never appreciate someone telling me how to grieve. I have lost all my grandparents now including a grandmother who died in my arms when I was 13. I can tell you losing my son was horrific. I was SEVERELY depressed for 5 years. My son has been gone 10 years now and yes we still mention him. I still consider him my child whether he's here or not . Just because he died doesn't mean he didn't exist . I also had 3 other miscarriages but they were very early. My son was a second trimester miscarriage. And I won't ever forget him .

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...