On an unsuspecting day I received a message that read “our baby died.” My close friends were expecting and every other week I would message to ask if the baby had arrived. I was ready to ululate and send money for the new baby but this…this left me not knowing what to say or do because what do you say to a couple that has lost the one thing that was going to complete their union? This is their story.
Have you gone through the thrill and expectations of imagining what it will be like to go through sleepless nights and new experiences once your baby arrives? Do you have any idea what it feels like when you read the dates from the gynecologist telling you that in 2 weeks you’ll be a mom and dad then in the blink of an eye it slips through your fingers?
When you’re pregnant you get to go through a series of prayers, trusting in God and hoping that everything will go smoothly then things don’t go according to plan. The damage it has to your mind is irreparable. Almost everyone will come to you telling you it’s God’s will. How can it be when this entire time you had been looking up to and trusting God to bless you with a bouncy baby? I began to question if ever God existed.
My wife came up to me and said “I have been praying and fasting for this baby but God as the people are saying has taken him. Why should I keep praying?” I didn’t know what to say to ease her raw pain. We went to sleep as a formality because though the lights were off we were both awake. I switched on the light at around 2am and she was crying. I embraced her; we were both having a mental psychological breakdown. 2am is the time we were anticipating the baby will be giving us sleepless nights but it has turned out to be the time we are trying to comfort each other.
2 days after the incident our Pastor paid us a visit, offered some prayers, tried some counselling, read some scriptures about Job and urging us to trust in God. We felt let down; how do we get to trust in God again?
People kept coming to console us with what they thought was a solution; instead and it only added salt to a fresh wound.
What did we need?
- Someone to take time to just to listen to us unpack our thoughts.
- Allow us to cry not to have be told to “man up” or “you have to be strong for her” so who will be strong for me?
I tried to fight my thoughts through alcohol. Viceroy was not strong enough to numb the pain. I drank the whole bottle straight and it tasted like water. I went to sleep but again around 2am I was fresh out of sleep, no one to talk to, I allowed myself to cry, I was talking to myself, asking questions and answering myself.
I took some days off and my dad did the same to try and console me. He took me to my 90 year old grandmother. She gave me the opportunity to vent without giving me solutions. I guess that’s why they say the older you get the wiser you get. I felt better but I knew my wife was not.
She needed similar therapy, just someone to talk to. ‘Toxic’ people will always be there and they say whatever they say without thinking about the consequences. The one person suggested we sue the clinic for the loss of our child because it was their fault. I doubt that it ever crossed their mind that this wouldn’t bring our baby back.
I feel people in our African society need education on issues to do with depression and mental health. Most people don’t view these as health conditions so you find yourself with no solution and no one to talk to not and you’re left with no option but to run away run away from solutions that invoke negative energy.
I still get disturbed when I’m walking and see pictures of diapers or babies. My mind rushes back to the incident. The image I have right now is of my little boy wrapped around with a blue towel being handed over to me just to see how he looked. How am I going to get that image out of my head? What about my wife who carried our baby for 9 months and went through labour? Right now she’s lactating; what is she supposed to do with the milk? What are the thoughts I might never know that go through her mind?
I feel empty; hopeless and the next person who tells me about faith and praying is going to receive a punch in their face! The last visitor we had told us that we should quickly try for another baby because I might end up getting another woman pregnant. It left a very sour taste in my mouth. She insinuated that it’s my wife’s fault that our baby died.
One thing is certain. When your friends or family experience a loss sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all and simply offer your presence. Losing a child is a bitter pill to swallow.