I recently read a post where cafemoms were calling women who lose children and who then utilize baby dolls after the fact, crazy and mentally ill. I tried to explain that for most women, it is a form of therapy, and for most of them they do not look at the doll as a real baby, or believe that the baby doll is their own child alive. (Only a small percentage of women who do use baby dolls after losing a child carry the need for it too far...and these are the women who can not function in life, or who actually believe that the baby doll is a real child. to most women who do this, though, the doll is a representation of what they lost. The doll is a physical outlet for the need to cuddle and love something. The doll does not judge the tears of the mother, and the doll can help with healing)
Anyway..I wrote the following, in response to one mother's very rude and insensitive comments about mothers who do this being crazy.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve....There is no time limit on when a person must act "normal" by the standards of others...especially those who have NEVER had to bury their child. Unless a person has been through it, they can not possibly understand the emotional loss one goes through knowing that a dream has been crushed. And sadly, it is the women who have never experienced such a monumental loss who are the biggest critics of how other women who do lose children should grieve and for how long.
It is especially obnoxious when women who have never experienced a child/infant loss themselves, AND who also have one or more healthy beautiful children, think that it is ok to put such asanine limitations on the grieving clocks of other mothers.
Hold a dead child in the palm of your hand. Listen to the loneliness of the silence of a delivery room after birth. Watch other happy mothers, gleefully playing with their babies in a mall, and feel the sheer emptiness and the wish of being able to cuddle something...anything...that will take away some of the pain and ache of those empty arms. Visit your child's grave and empty a package of m&ms onto his grave because you can't actually give him a toy for Christmas. Sit next to a baby in a mall's eating court and watch the entire time you are there, as other mothers smile at their babies while they feed them a bottle, all the while, being keenly aware of the empiness of your own arms and your sensitized hands which long, themselves, to hold a bottle....if only for the comfort it brings. Hold a real baby after the loss of a child, and feel how GOOD it feels to do that....to just hold something and cuddle it near.
Lose a child, and then, and only then....will you have earned the right to say what you would or wouldn't do in the event of such loss....and even then, you would not grieve the same way as another mother who has suffered the same loss.
Now, I have come far in my grieving, but it never truly leaves. There is an ache in the heart that can not be replaced by anything...not a toy doll or a bear, or friendship, or an shoulder to cry on. ...but for some, there is a need for that closeness and a feeling of holding a child and taking care of a child that is part of the grieving process. It is only unhealthy if it takes over the life in such as way that the parent can not function, or if the parent actually believes that the baby doll is really a living child and not a representation of that which they lost.
Fact is, that going through the motions of being a parent can be healing, and can provide an outlet for grief. I have never needed a baby doll for that (but then, I had another child to cuddle who was more than willing to be cuddled). But I do not judge or belittle others who do, nor do I use insensitive dialog to insinuate that they are crazy.
Every person grieves differently and for different amounts of time. Live and let live, and until you have been through it, you can never possibly know or understand the heart or mind of the mother of an angel.