Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Nicole: When's the right time to drop the bomb?

One of the things that I struggle with is knowing when it’s appropriate to tell people my son is dead, or what I refer to as ‘dropping the dead baby bomb’.  When people ask if I’ve got children, or want me to laugh with them about the indignities of pregnancy, or discuss the  pain of childbirth, I tell them, and the bomb explodes.  It kills the conversation, they look shell-shocked, sometimes they even run for cover. 

Last week I bumped into someone who I last saw a year ago, when I was going on maternity leave.  She remembered me and asked how old my baby was now.  I was unprepared, I stumbled over my words, but replied ‘he would have been nearly a year old, but he died.’  The bomb went off.  Her face fell.  I explained, probably in too much detail.  She said she was sorry, she grasped my hand.  It doesn’t always go like that.  Sometimes people back away, not knowing what to say to me, like they think it might be catching.  Sometimes they rush to say something, anything - ‘it obviously wasn’t meant to be’, I’ve heard, which is one of the worst things someone can say to me, or ‘will you have other children’, like that would negate the loss of my boy.  
At times, dealing with other people’s reactions is harder than living with my own grief.  I don’t like to make people feel uncomfortable, or sad, or scared.  I don’t want to upset them or make them feel unsure of what to say.  I don’t want to get cross with them for their often inadequate responses.  But I can’t deny my son.  I can’t pretend he doesn’t exist, that he didn’t live, that he isn’t relevant. He did, he is.  He’s imprinted on my heart forever and I need to be able to talk about him.  So I go on dropping that bomb, placing it down as gently as I can, and preparing myself for the fallout.      


  1. Can completely relate to this hun. I've only had the question a few times, but even then people don't know what to say. Finley was my first and is still my only, and I can't pretend that I'm not a mother - that he never lived xx

  2. Dropping the bomb is the one thing I still struggle with. I remember having conversation after conversation with my OH on how to 'gently place the bomb' She managed it well, I, on the other hand had a habit of blasting it in people's faces. I couldn't help it, I will never deny my son. An ex colleague literally ran away from us at a party as he just didn't know what to say.

  3. This is something I still struggle with... it's 26th January and I sit looking at a little pile of Christmas cards from people wishing us congratulations on the birth of our baby. Still have to find the right way to "drop the bomb" on them! :(

    My 12yr old struggles the most. I feel like I owe it to Laura to mention her now if I get asked how many children I have but my daughter Georgia who started at secondary school 5 months after we lost Laura still struggles to say that she had a sister and what happened to her - that's what breaks my heart.