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How to Help Somebody Through a Tough Time

Cristina is a business professional who has a degree in art and a degree in psychology. A mother of two, community volunteer and writer.


Everybody feels pain.

We all go through things in our lives that have the ability to break us.

Let me start by telling you about the worst time of my life.

It started on June 8th, 2009. I was pregnant at the time and had been in a lot of pain for about a week. I had gone to see my doctor and without even examining me she told me it was normal and to sit on an ice pack. That didn't work. I had spent the day at the beach because I felt that maybe swimming would help the pain. After the beach, I went to a restaurant close to my house that overlooked the river. I was still in so much pain, but the scenery was nice at least.

The next morning at work I noticed I was bleeding. I left work and went to the doctor where I was told I was going to lose my baby and sent to the hospital. At the hospital they hung me upside down for nearly two weeks. I wasn't allowed to move, and each day I had to get painful shots. The worst part of the suffering however was wondering if there was any way this torture would save the baby. Finally, the treatment stopped working and the doctors told me the baby was coming. For three days more I held her inside me. I wanted to give her as much time as possible no matter how badly it hurt me.


I remembered it all at the end.

My mother was there. She was so scared that this was going to kill me. I barely remember anything about those last three days, except for the constant pain I was in. I didn't eat or sleep, I just laid there in pain and scared out of my mind. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I was losing a lot of blood and my mother was sure I was going to die. The baby’s father was pushing me to hold on as long as I could, but I couldn't hold on any longer and I knew the baby was going to come. I felt like it would be better for all my doctors to be there when it happened, so I let them know I was ready.

My doctor gave me an epidural because he said I didn't have the strength to do it without one. His name was Dr. Hyde. My nurses name was Christi and even she was stressed out over what was happening. I remember her holding my hand and holding one of my legs. My baby’s dad held the other leg, but not my other hand. There was another doctor, Dr Farhi, he was there for my daughter. He had come in on his day off to be there for her when she was born. He smelled like cigars and was telling Dr. Hyde that he sold his boat to buy jet skis. There was a whole team of doctors and nurses standing behind them. I remember everything from those moments.


In the end, we survived.

I remember Dr. Hyde telling me it was time to push. And then he laughed and told me he probably should have told me how to push first. It was taking a long time, and I remember my kids’ dad telling me to hurry up because Dr Hydes shift ended in ten minutes, the whole room laughed except for me. A few minutes later, my daughter was born. She weighed one pound and six ounces. I didn't get to see her right away; I didn't even get to hold her. The team of doctors and nurses went right to work on her, giving her a breathing tube, and a picc line. Finally, they were finished with her and were about to take her away, but Dr Hyde told them to let me see her first. They wheeled her incubator next to my bed. I saw her teeny tiny face, her eyes that wouldn't open for weeks... her sweet little nose and her chin. All I could do was say "I love you" and then I cried. The next six months were full of things that most people don't even have nightmares about. But this story does have a happy ending because Addy did make it and she is an amazing, beautiful little girl with her mommys sarcasm, who is about to turn ten years old.


There were no words.

For a long time, I avoided those places I had gone the last day before going to the hospital. It was the last time for a long time that I did anything without the fear of what would happen to my daughter. And even after she was safe, I was a different person. I was so happy to have her and so proud to be her mother, that I guess I just didn't want to go back there and remember that night and everything that happened after. I just couldn’t go there without hurting and crying.

Before that incident, I had a lot of hard times in my life. There were several that I thought were the absolute worst times, until the next thing happened. In the ten years that have passed since that time, I have been through even more. I have had cancer more than once, I have had another child, and suffered the fear that the same thing would happen to him that happened to my daughter, I have had people try to hurt me over and over and I have seen loved ones suffer in sickness, not always surviving. Nothing since however, has been as trying and frightening as what I went through fearing for my daughters life and during that time, there was nothing anybody could do or say to console me.

Sometimes life hits you hard. We have days that just keep on coming. Sometimes, it seems never-ending, and the day turns into a week and then a month.

When you are the type of person who wants to make everyone happy, realizing you can't do that... you can't save everyone... it hurts you. Sometimes it is enough o make you want to run away.


I am grateful for the ones who stayed.

Life is full of hard times. Not much comes easy. People go through things, and those of us who have suffered greatly know that it's not always easy to hold it together. But even when someone has a meltdown, I think if that person is worth it then we should try to walk through it with them, instead of walking away.

I am always grateful for the people I have met who stood by me through the rough times and gave me strength to face what was happening to me.


Nobody Understands

It is difficult to know what to say to people who are suffering. We all suffer for different reasons and chances are you have never been through what the person you are trying to comfort is going through. Even if you have, it was still most likely a different situation. We all have different thoughts and feelings and reactions to things. When I went through what I did with my daughter, there was nobody in my life who could possibly understand what I was feeling. Nobody knew how to comfort me. Many people turned their backs on me because they did not know what to say or how to react. I ended up going on and seeking some sort of understanding with the other women in the forums there who had similar experiences. Even though you do not understand what your loved one is feeling, there may be some sort of group out there that can help him or her. You can always research and let your loved one know what you have found.


The gift of your time.

Some people in my real life managed to help a little bit though, even if they couldn’t understand or relate to what UI was going through. My parents, and my daughters’ paternal grandparents we there as much as possible, giving their support and encouragement. Her father of course was there as well, but he was in his own hell trying to deal with his grief over the situation. I had one friend who came to the hospital as often as she could to visit. And after I was discharged and had to leave my daughter in the hospital, that same friend would sometimes force me to go see a movie with her or do anything to give my mind a break from the situation for a couple hours. Not that I wanted to stop thinking about my daughter for even a moment, but my mind and heart needed to rest. Sometimes, that is all it takes to help even just a tiny bit. Inviting someone who is suffering or grieving to an outing, no matter how big or small can help to get the problem off his or her mind, even if just for a small amount of time.


Find things to be grateful for.

The biggest lesson I learned from what I went through is to never take a single thing for granted. That time in the hospital was a roller coaster ride. Each day was full of ups and downs. No matter what happened, I learned to appreciate every single breath that my daughter took. When I had a chance to walk outside, I appreciated each flower in the garden, the smells and sounds of the city around the hospital, the sun, the moon, everything. It is important for someone who is hurting to understand that this tragedy has happened, it is now part of their world and there is no way to erase that. But now they have to start looking for new meaning and learn to appreciate the new world.


Just be there.

There is not really much else you can do or say for someone who is hurting, mostly because he or she will most likely not let you. If someone ever told me things will get better in time, I would go smash a clock and scream that I hate time. If someone told me things happen for a reason, I would get even angrier. Honestly, I do believe that however, nobody going through a bad time wants to hear that. If someone tried to tell me how string I was, I would break down and cry. Even if you are a strong person, sometimes you still need time to fall apart. Sometimes you have to fall apart completely in order to put yourself back together again. Those are the times you don’t need advice or understanding, you have to do it all on your own. But it helps to know that if you did need someone to lean on, that there truly is somebody there for you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Cristina Cakes

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