This article speaks of another type of complex loss. It is written from the perspective of a Mom who was pregnant with twins, and lost one of them at birth. Her daughter was born healthy, but her son faced insurmountable medical problems in utero, and he died immediately at birth.
This Mom speaks eloquently of holding her daughter tightly while also yearning for her son. While taking care of her newborn daughter she and her husband also planned their son’s funeral. One can imagine the intensity of emotions in facing a baby shower and a funeral simultaneously. As I read the article I thought about how difficult it would be to have the space to grieve while also caring for a newborn. Fortunately this Mom seemed well aware of her daughter’s needs. I was moved by her description of raising her daughter, and by her reflection that fortunately her daughter “grew up knowing that even though she lost a twin, she was still whole.” It seems like the son was honored, loved, and remembered in a fairly balanced way in this family. His death was integrated in the family’s story, and while he was held on to and remembered, the daughter also had room to form an identity which was not overshadowed by her brother’s death.
This Mom also tells of many unhelpful comments from well meaning friends and family. Some advised her to be glad she had at least one baby, minimizing her loss of her son. Others commented that it is easier to take care of one baby rather than two, as if the loss were somehow a blessing. Well meaning but misguided comments are so common after a complex loss.