Dead Baby Guru.
As blunt and as jarring as it is, every mom who has lost a baby understands that phrase.
It's what we become to those outside the loss community. We, simply because we find ourselves in a terrible situation beyond our control, are thrust into this position without our permission or desire. Clearly, no one wants to lose their child. No one wants to become an "expert" on child loss either. And even those of us who are not "experts" are still seen as one and are thrown into that role like a fish thrown at Pike's Place Market. Here ya go....catch!
Let me make this perfectly clear. We do not want to be your Dead Baby Guru. We do not want to be the first person you think of when you hear of another mother who has or is going through the loss of their baby. We do not want to be sent every single article about baby loss that comes across your newsfeed. By the time you send it to us, we've seen it in three support groups already anyway. We do not want to be tagged in posts of sorrow and grief and infant death. We hate being associated with this. We hate opening our email or message folder and seeing someone asking us what to do for their friend who just lost a baby. It's awful being Grief's Go-to-Gal.
"But, Rebecca," you ask, "I thought you were all about spreading awareness."
Oh, I am. I believe in talking about loss openly and without shame. I believe in fully supporting families who have to face a future without their children. I believe that a good support system is the foundation of healing from loss, and that my support system is definitely above par. But, I still hate being your Dead Baby Guru. With a passion.
Just because I am open about loss doesn't mean I like talking about it. Just because I welcome new members to this horrible club with open arms doesn't mean I enjoy doing it. I had a pretty good weekend in Minneapolis with my sister, but damn if I didn't wish I could have been doing almost anything else in the world.
You want to know why I do these things then? Why any of us do? It's because they have to be done. Because if mothers who lost children didn't talk about it, then no one would. Every single outspoken friend I have in the loss community is their social circle's Dead Baby Guru, and it is exhausting. Putting your pain out there for display is difficult. Talking about loss and the death of your child in a public forum on a regular basis is no bed of roses. We do it because silence needs to be broken. We do it because people need to be educated and babies need to be remembered. However, the price we pay for being vocal is being seen as an "expert", and we become magnets for loss and all things associated.
We completely understand why people do it. It's their way of supporting us or trying to understand us. It's their way of showing us they are thinking about us and our child. We get it. If people are thinking of us when they come across articles of loss, we know we have made a difference in their thought pattern. If we are the first person they think of to give support to another grieving mother, we know our child has made an impact on someone else. We know our experience makes us a valuable support for moms new to loss and we want to be there for them. But, we still hate it.
We hate being your Dead Baby Guru. We hate being an expert at losing our baby. We are tired of sharing articles about baby movements or bereavement. We are tired of going out of our way to educate people about loss and remind them about our children. Yet, here we are. Every day - catching those smelly, slippery fish that keep getting chucked at us, sometimes while we still have four other fish in our arms.
Just remember, even Gurus need a break sometimes.