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5 things I didn't want to hear when I was grieving and 1 thing that helped

Here are my top five things not to say to a grieving parent — and the thing I love to hear instead.

In 2013, I found out I was pregnant with triplets.

Image via iStock.

My husband and I were in shock but thrilled at the news after dealing with infertility for years. And it didn't take long for the comments to begin. When people found out, the usual remarks followed: "Triplets?! What are you going to do? Three kids at once?! Glad it's not me!"

After mastering my response (and an evil look reserved for the rudest comments), I figured that was the worst of it. But little did I know I would be facing far worse comments after two of my triplets passed away.

On June 23, 2013, I gave birth to my triplets, more than four months premature.

My daughter, Abigail, passed away that same day; my son, Parker, died just shy of 2 months old. Before then, I didn't know much about child loss; it was uncharted territory. Like most people, I wouldn't know how to respond or what to say if a friend's child passed away.

Image via iStock.

But two years later, I have found that some things are better left unsaid. These comments come from a good place, and I know people mean well, but they sure do sting.

Here are my top five things not to say to a grieving parent — and the thing I love to hear instead.

1. "Everything happens for a reason."

It's a cringeworthy comment for those of us who have lost a child. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason for why things happen in life. A parent should not outlive their child. I don't know why my body couldn't handle my pregnancy or why I went into labor at 22 weeks.

This phrase goes along with another I often hear: "God only gives us what we can handle." I remember talking with my childhood rabbi the night before my son passed away, and I asked her, "Why me?" Her response is something I now live by every single day. She said, "God doesn't give us only what we can handle. He helps us handle what we've been given."

2. "They are in a better place."

Instead of comforting, this is a phrase that makes me feel down in the dumps. I longed to be a parent for so many years. And children are meant to be in the loving arms of their parents.

I think I speak for every grieving mother and father when I say, we would give anything to hold our babies again.

3. "At least you have one survivor. Count your blessings."

I like to think of myself as a positive person. But even two years later, my heart still aches for Parker and Abby. And on the most difficult, dark days of grief, it's hard to "count my blessings."

Yes, I am blessed. I have a gorgeous miracle child who is the light of my life. But Peyton should be playing with her brother and sister in our home, not just waving to their pictures and blowing kisses to heaven.

4. "You are still young. You can have more children."

It doesn't matter whether or not our biological clock is ticking. Many people have no idea what couples go through to have a child: Some can't have children of their own; others may face years of infertility or miscarriages. And for people like me, trying for more children may be something too scary to even think about. I came close to death after delivering my children — that's enough to scar me for life.

5. "I don't know how you do it. I couldn't imagine losing two children."

Some days I don't know how I do it either. But we learn how to live with it. We learn a "new normal," and in those tough moments, we celebrate that we survived the day. This comment is a difficult reminder of our grief and the children who were sent to heaven.

So, what should you say to a grieving parent?

Image via iStock.

There are no words to take the pain away, of course, but simply letting that person know you are there for them is more than enough.

For me, the best thing someone can do is to talk about my angels. Say Parker and Abby by name, and don't be afraid to ask questions about them.

While they were only here for a short time, they left a huge imprint on this world. I love talking about my angels, and simply hearing someone else mention them by name is enough to wipe away the grief and warm my heart for days.

This article was written by Stacey Skrysak and originally appeared on 7.15.16


SNL's 'Perfect Mother' skit is perfectly, painfully spot on

"I know this is supposed to be funny but honestly this is deep."

Emma Thompson plays Heidi Gardner's mom in "The Perfect Mother."

"Saturday Night Live" is known for its comedic exaggerations that poke fun at real life, but skit about motherhood from SNL Season 44 isn't really an exaggeration at all.

The skit, called "The Perfect Mother" stars actors Emma Thompson and Heidi Gardner as a mom-daughter pair talking about motherhood. Gardner plays a harried mom with young children, sporting a messy bun and a toy-strewn living room, while Thompson plays her mother, a calm, well-put-together older woman with matching jewelry and loads of sage wisdom.

Gardner asks Thompson how she raised her as "the perfect mother" without losing her mind, and what we see is the stark difference between what Thompson says it was like for her as a mom with young kids—"Every moment was a joy"— and flashbacks of what it was actually like when her kids were little—"Why won't you f**ing sleep?!?"

Most mothers will recognize the moments of frustration, angst and general hot-messness that come with mothering young children, and many will recognize the rose-colored glasses an/or denial people often utilize when looking back on the past.


The skit hit home with people in the comments.

"I know this is supposed to be funny but honestly this is deep," wrote one person. "This is basically what every mom (and a lot of dads) has to go through and nobody even realizes."

"And there's people who see us struggling and shame us for seeming like Moms aren't trying hard enough to keep things in order.. pfft," shared another.

"Dude, the giraffe part nailed it. All of this has reassured me that my husband and I aren't failing as parents and that everyone is just bullshitting," offered another.

"This may be the most life accurate sketch SNL has done, and one of its funniest. So many memories from my childhood, and my parenthood mirror this," wrote another.

"This is literally the best most realistic thing I have ever seen about parenting! So flawless. I did not stop laughing the whole time," shared another.

Seeing the reality of motherhood reflected back on us is refreshing, especially when we do so often hear older moms talk about their child-rearing years as if it wasn't that difficult. "Momnesia" is a real phenomenon—as the years pass, we start to forget about all the sleep deprivation, the crying and whining, the constant messes, the inexplicable things you never imagined a kid would do and so on. Those hard parts of parenting fade in our memories over time, while the sweetness, the adorableness, the joy tends to get magnified.

Older moms can be helpful sources of practical advice and encouragement, but we have to be aware that they've probably forgotten how hard it really was and take what they say about their personal experiences with a grain of salt. On the other hand, perhaps it's good to know that we will eventually forget a lot of the frustrating parts while holding firmly to the fond memories of our children's childhoods.

Constance Hall asks for domestic equality.

It's the 21st century, and as a civilization, we've come a long way. No, there are no flying cars (yet), but we all carry tiny supercomputers in our pockets, can own drones, and can argue with strangers from all around the world as long as they have internet access.

And yet women are still having to ask their partners to help out around the house. What gives?

Recently, Blogger Constance Hall went on a highly-relatable rant about spouses assuming responsibility for housework, and women everywhere are all, "🙌 🙌 🙌 ."

Recently while bitching about the fact that I do absolutely everything around my house with a bunch of friends all singing "preach Queen", someone said to me "if you want help you need to be specific... ask for it. People need lists, they aren't mind readers."

So I tried that, asking.. specifics..

"Can you take the bin out?"

"Can you get up with the kids? I'm just a little tired after doing it on my own for 329 years"

"Can you go to woolies? I've done 3 loads of washing and made breaky, lunch, picked up all the kids school books, dealt with the floating shit in the pond."

And yeah, she was right... shit got done.But I was exhausted, just keeping the balls in the air.. remembering what needs to be asked to be done, constant nagging..And do you know what happened the minute I stopped asking...?


And so I've come to the conclusion that it's not your job to ask for help, it's not my job to write fucking lists.

We have enough god dam jobs and teaching someone how to consider me and my ridiculous work load is not one of them.Just do it.Just think about each other, what it takes to run the god dam house.

Is one of you working while the other puts up their feet? Is one of you hanging out with mates while the other peels the thirtieth piece of fruit for the day? Is one of you carrying the weight?

Because when the nagging stops, when the asking dies down, when there are no more lists....All your left with is silent resentment. And that my friends is relationship cancer..It's not up to anyone else to teach you consideration.

That's your job.Just do the fucking dishes without being asked once in a while mother fuckers.

Hall's post touches on the concept of emotional labor, which can be defined as "the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job."

In other words, although Hall's partner may be the one carrying out the tasks she assigns him, it is still Hall's job to be the "manager" of the household, and keep track of what things need to get done. And anyone who runs a household knows that juggling and keeping track of chores is just as exhausting as executing them.

At time of publication, Hall's post was shared nearly 100,000 times. That's a lot of frustrated ladies!

When your girl Far Kew sends you the perfect present. You will find this and more cunty cups on her facebook page 👌🏽
Posted by Constance Hall on Thursday, November 30, 2017

Women in the comments section seemed to overwhelmingly agree with Hall's post.

Let's all learn to share the load...laundry and otherwise.

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18

via Erin Bailey Law (used with permission) and Monstera Production/Pexels

Erin Bailey has taken a hard stand on sleepovers.

A mother who’s a criminal defense attorney is going viral on TikTok for a hard stance she has taken on her children going to sleepovers. For Erin Bailey of South Carolina, the answer is a big no. The reason? There are too many variables that could make her children vulnerable to sexual assault.

Bailey has a practice in Georgetown and is ranked among the Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers in South Carolina by the National Trial Lawyers.

"I don’t allow my children to go to sleepovers. I’m a criminal attorney and here’s why,” she opens the video. “First and primary is the S.A. [sexual assault] risk. While you may feel like you know the parents who are hosting the sleepover really well, and you know and love and trust them, that's exactly who's committing S.A.”

She adds that people who commit sexual assault are often those we trust the most. “S.A. against children is not committed by strangers in Target. It is not committed by random people on the street. It is committed by people we know,” Bailey said.

sleepovers, tween girls, attorneys

Four girls having a sleepover.

via Krampus Production/Pexels

“You may know the parents, but you don't know necessarily the neighbors, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the older siblings, the friends of the older siblings," she continued.

She concludes with: "There's just too many variables, not to mention pew pews (guns) in the house, so it's just a no for us, no sleepovers."

When it comes to child sexual assault statistics, Bailey knows what she is talking about. Research shows that more than 90% of abusers are people children know, love and trust. Thirty to 40% of victims are abused by a family member.

Fifty percent of child sexual assault victims are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.

Her post received a lot of support in the comments from parents who share the same fears. "Attorney here too—no sleepovers, electric scooters, trampolines, or hoverboards," Buckeye wrote. "I was upset with my mom at first when she said no to sleepovers until something happened to a girl at a sleepover by the other girl's father," Hanips added.

However, some people thought Bailey was being a bit too cautious.

sleepovers, tween girls, attorneys

Four girls having a sleepover.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/girls-lying-on-bed-smiling-8790303/via Krampus Production/Pexels

"So do you just never let them go over to any friend's house? Because every single one of those things can happen without a sleepover," DallasDiscGolf wrote. "I’m glad I was allowed to enjoy my childhood. Sleepovers were a blast!" KevinJones2151 wrote.

"You sound like a blast as a parent. I'm sure you kids will have an amazing childhood," Leah added.

Bailey’s video clearly struck a nerve with the public because it has received over 3 million views on TikTok. But after all the feedback, she hasn’t changed her position.

“Childhood sexual abuse is a trauma that permanently alters the course of a child’s life,” she told Upworthy. “It is more common than most people think and most cases are never reported to the authorities. Further, most people who are abusers were abused themselves as a child. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, I have seen these cases up close and personal. Sleepovers are a small sacrifice to lower the risk for children.”