Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Returning to Work after your Loss

I didn't have this issue since I don't work. My job is a "mom". Everyone tried to help and do things for the kids. In the beginning I relaxed and let the kids have special grandma time and didn't worry if things weren't being done my way. I finally blew up about 4 days post-partum. I yelled at everyone, I ranted and I cried. I didn't even know why. But once I started caring for them again I felt better. It reassured my purpose in being here without my sons.

I think its awful how society treats the death of a baby. If we had lost a spouse or a parent our workplaces would be willing to work with us for a long period of time as we became ready to return to work, but when a pregnancy is lost most employers expect us back when we are medically able, not emotionally able. Its very sad. So although I haven't gone back to a job outside of the home I think I have some advice I have heard given to others.

Try going to work on the first day around 4 or 5 pm, just an hour or so before the end of the day. Check in with human resources or your supervisor. Print out some of the pamphlets from TCF and give them to these people.
Check a few emails, write down any voicemails, clean up your desk. Do a few tasks. Avoid as many people as possible. You can even send out a company wide email (with HR or your supervisor's permission) telling everyone in simple words what happened and whether or not you are willing to discuss it and what you are willing to talk about. For me, talking about medical stuff was easy. I was happy to answer any questions about their cause of death and the labor and delivery. But if someone asked me, "how I was doing?" I would burst into tears.

Then prepare your coworkers for the fact that your first day back, may have to be a half day. Then take it if you need it. I would buy a figurine or some other momento for your desk to remind you of your baby, maybe even frame an u/s pic. If there are any pregnant ladies at work tell them you will need some distance for a while. I feel like being upfront keeps people from saying terrible things behind your back. I know my mom said a few things like "well, at
least . . ." I finally told her that I didn't appreciate it and I disagreed. She stopped saying those things.

Its a matter of integrating your angel into your new life. Your life IS different now. You need to find a new "normal" way of doing things. Maybe a locket or necklace with the baby's birthstone or supposed to be birthstone (EDD). My dh bought me a diamond necklace because we have always joked that I don't get diamonds until I gave birth to a son. And once they were born I told him that I was afraid they didn't count because I failed to bring them life. So he bought me a diamond necklace with 3 diamonds; one for our living son and two for the twins. Whenever I want to feel close to them I wear it.

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