This post comes from a selfish place. It is very important for me to have as much family as possible at the birth of our child, to meet him or her. This, at the outset, is not so much for me, as it is for them. I want them to hold and touch our child so that he or she becomes a tangible human being to them, rather than just a picture or "something that happened to Mandy". Somehow I feel that meeting the child will help them to understand my loss in some small way and I suppose I hope that understanding will minimize their future judgments or expectations. I don't believe anyone can experience the loss of a baby quite like the mother and father, but perhaps witnessing the excruciating pain of letting go will give them a small glimpse of the grief that will follow. That after watching such suffering they will be kinder in the future when they feel better, when the memory of that child has faded into the background for them. When they want me to be me again and I'm not.
So I come to this struggle when I find out that a close family member believes (although I am hearing this second hand) that it would be better to support us at the funeral. Honestly, it really doesn't matter to me who attends the funeral of our baby. I don't know if that sounds callous or ungrateful but that's how I feel. I remember Wyatt's funeral vividly and I recall nothing said that day that eased my pain or made me feel better. Instead, I remember silently suffering through platitude after platitude. "It's God's plan", "God has another angel", "You're young and will have other children" and on and on. Those only made me feel worse. It's not God's plan, how could a kind and merciful God strike my child down? God has plenty of angels, people who have lived long lives and he could not possibly have needed mine. While I am young , I am not guaranteed to have more children. Yes, I did have more children after Wyatt but I also had a miscarriage and had to seek fertility assistance to conceive my last two children. Now I'm losing another and due to the number of prior c-sections, I may be told that I cannot have anymore children. This time I anticipate painful comments about how I should be thankful for my girls and take comfort in them. Obviously I appreciate and love each and every one of my children, but they cannot replace the ones I have lost and I will forever grieve those children. Anyone who can say "But they already have three children" has not lost a child. So, the selfish part of me wants people at the birth, not the funeral. Funerals for babies are just so difficult, there are no memories to share, people can't tell you their favorite qualities of your loved one or even share a humorous memory. Just platitudes and tears. It's no fun.