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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

parenting after loss > Extreme introversion

I'm typing this from a five year old's birthday party. My loss was 10 months ago. As of recently I wouldn't have been able to do something like this. This afternoon my husband will take our two living children to an Easter egg hunt. I can't bear to be around the intact happy families.

When I do manage to get out, I tend to stick to myself. I don't want to small talk with the other moms. I don't want to chit chat about how many kids, how old they are, etc. I'm the sad mom. I'm the tragic mom. So when I'm out I have a black unhappy, don't come talk to me look on my face. I'm generally okay with this. I'm a lifelong introvert who never really liked small talk.

The problem is that my 4.5 year old son is a shy, introverted kid. We are at this party with his classmates and he isn't interacting with him. Has he picked up this behavior from me? Am I failing to demonstrate how to be social? Or does he take to his introversion naturally? He really had few friends. Do I force myself to get out there among the intact families, the pregnant ladies, the mom's with babies - the crowd that makes me feel singled out in my grief?
April 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMom2htb
I just noticed some typos, but mostly wanted to correct that it should read blank face.
April 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMom2htb
Short answer, I would say, is that no, he has not learned to be shy and introverted from you. He is probably learning how to handle being shy from you, but the degree to which each of us is introverted/extroverted is inborn. You can't easily force someone who is the life of the party to be shy. Or vice versa. It is very, very hard to do and would take more than just your example. So don't feel that your grief and pain are impacting him to that degree.

My questions to you are what does he like best? Time alone, time one on one with child or adult, small group play, large group play? Does he like free time or does he like structure? What I am getting at is where are his strengths? You want to build on them and also balance them. You say shy, so I'm guessing large group, free time is not his thing. Such as a birthday party. So you wouldn't want to make that the majority of his world, but the occasional exposure is still good. In planning for his party though, I wouldn't look for a twenty kid, huge blow out. What does he like? How do you celebrate him?

There are social skills you would like your children to have. Things that make it easier to function in school, work, and society. Take something like public speaking. His shyness may make that hard. So, you work on it at home. Start with games. Chicken Pie, Who Am I? It is like charades, you pretend to be an animal and the other players have to guess what you are. Then you go onto standing up and reading out loud in the living room or to acting out his favorite stories. Getting him used to being in front and the center of attention. Getting him used to the fact that he is not perfect and doesn't have to be perfect to present information.

All of that has nothing really to do with grief. I am so sorry for your loss and for your struggles. It goes around and around in our heads, "Are we hurting our other children with our grief? Are we robbing them of a joyful childhood?" The truth is that the example you are setting is not one of grief and loss and pain. What you are showing your children is that when life gets hard and hurtful, we still go on and we still give our best. We still love each other no matter how we feel or what we do. I know it doesn't feel like that, but that is what you are doing every day, every hour and that is what your children will know.

Peace to you.
April 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.