The Truth On Why I Kept Quiet About My Loss Around Family

March 8, 2017

By Sanda Rathamone



Many probably wondered why I never spoke up about it at home. I simply walked passed everyone as if they weren't there. I felt that they pretended nothing happened and so I did the same. Little did I realize how disheartening it was having to hide my feelings and move on as quickly as they did. 
I was tremendously disappointed by how things had turned out after my loss.  My mother, who lives out-of-state, wasn't there for me, nor did she seem to be interested in my grief.

She rushed me a day after my delivery, discussing postpartum care and trying to shift my focus to my career, on the phone. She even sent a blessing to my son's spirit to go to a "rich family." I was shocked and embarrassed - how could anyone say such a thing?

What I wanted to talk about was my son and the devastating loss of his life and the life I was looking forward to. I also wanted her to fly down to visit me - now was the time that I needed her the most. I thought that since I had just told her the gender reveal of my son at the hospital and lost him the day after, would show her how incredibly and instantly tragic this was. Like I had just been hit by a car and sent into a coma.

I couldn't handle her insensitivity and decided to screen her calls. I didn't need her in this way. I have since stopped speaking with her and have been trying to heal childhood wounds.

This disappointment was among the first of many after the hospital. 

Elijah's Tree Memorial was a month and a half later from his passing. I invited both sides of the family, however, my side never made it. Why was it that I had to be understanding of their schedule?

My family couldn't make the exception for me. I understood that my younger brothers and sisters couldn't be there because they were tied to the decision of my mother. Fortunately, my husband's side of the family attended the memorial. Although, it didn't go exactly the way I had imagined, but appreciated the time they had set aside for our son. 

Yet, as everyone went back to their lives, it was as if that was the end, like there was nothing left for them to do.

Everyone continued to live their life, while I seemed to struggle even surviving a day. I felt as though everyone I walked by silenced themselves, like I had the cooties.

No one offered, "Hey, how are you doing."

"Are you okay?

"How are you feeling?"

No one offered comfort or hugs, unlike how they did at the hospital. Did I no longer deserve the same love they have shown me earlier? Maybe it was out of respect for my loss, or awkwardness, but it hurt me so much that no one had said anything about my son or asked me of my well-being. They might have asked my husband about me, still, it made no difference. 

A month or so after Elijah's Tree Memorial, my husband's sister announced her pregnancy. 

It was painful. It broke my heart. This was all too much. Why did she deserve her baby and not me? I asked why, why, why me? Why her? My world flipped even more upside down, sideways, all crazy and jumbled. Things didn't make any sense after that. Now, I felt that she and her pregnancy was more important than what I was going through.

It was as if everyone had started huddling together, celebrating her joy, while I was left out in the corner suffering my loss. I didn't feel included, so I further excluded them from my grief. I am pretty sure that many asked her of her well-being more than they have ever asked of mine.


At one point I was jealous, I wanted love and support. I wanted and needed family.


It turns out that they would have never given me anything, unless I had ask, which I believe was preposterous. If someone was hurting, especially if it was family, shouldn't love be freely offered and given? Did I really have to ask and beg for attention? This made me reluctant to attend the baby shower. I wanted them to understand that since the support I needed was not there, that I had nothing to give either. No one seemed to want to volunteer in helping or comfort me.

Everyone knew I was suffering, still, no one did anything. 

I was also unwilling to attend the baby's birth, but with all the courage I had, I went.

It was a tough sight seeing my husband holding his niece the way he should have been holding Elijah. I couldn't hold her, because she wasn't mine. It may have sounded selfish, but how could I? I felt that I was betraying my son. Because this should have been us. It should have been me on the hospital bed, watching the happy and loving faces of family holding my sweet pride and joy. It was another one of those bittersweet experiences in grief. I was happy, the baby was beautiful, and the parents were so, so lucky, but I was dying inside.

It should have been us. 

But, that wasn't the way it was and that was the biggest bullet I ever had to swallow. It did, however, lifted much of this weight off my shoulders, not entirely, but enough. Enough to finally release myself from something deep inside of me.

Maybe guilt? Fear? I don't know... 

I did have the support from my own sisters, a few of my aunts and cousins, a few coworkers, my students, social media friends, even strangers. I had my mother-in-law, but most importantly, I had my husband. But, still, it wasn't enough to console my broken heart. It wasn't enough to make things "right."

I am truly grateful, yet, this pain will never end. I had to come to terms with the reality that I had to learn to live with this void, even if others have forgotten about or refused to take into consideration my son, my grief, and my needs. 

I kept silent because I felt the need to "stay strong," to not burden anyone with my pain. I kept silent for so long because no one told me that my loss should be spoken and heard. 

My blog became a way to speak loud and clear about my story and experiences. Because while everyone is happily celebrating this newest member of the family, I am still trying to celebrate and grieve my son. At times, the need to claim my right as a grieving mother overwhelms me, because I am the "invisible mother" that many seem to turn their blind eye to. 

I am no longer able to return to the life I have known before I became pregnant or before I lost my son. I am slowly entering a new life and my new self, which is something that some may never understand. I have learned to be okay with that. What truly matters is that I am heard by those who choose to hear me, that I am loved by those who choose to love me. I have now learned the true value and definition of family. 

Elijah is my son and he matters. 

With love,

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