Updated: Oct 9, 2022
I am passionate about helping people better understand the reality we live with everyday and assist with opening up the conversations that are often avoided and misunderstood. So allow me to address some myths that you probably haven't thought twice about, unless you belong to the baby loss space.
There are many more myths that need to be addressed, however here are 9 that are on the top of my list. You can also catch the replay of me chatting about this topic LIVE on Instagram
MYTH #1: The first year is always the hardest..
I think this is a common myth that once the first year of grieving is done that things get easier, but for me, I cant say one year has been harder than the other and I think most loss parents would agree. I am almost 2 years post loss now and both years have been really bloody hard. I can say though, that by the second year I had learnt a lot, and had access to many coping tools that I had under my belt that I would pull out to use and I know they help me through those hard days. But in the scheme of things looking at the big picture, each year that goes on is really hard because I feel further away from my son than ever and nothing will ever make that easier.
MYTH #2: Avoiding the pain will help you to move on..
A common coping mechanism that people tend to use for when things are so painful, is that they chose to avoid it at all costs and therefore never tackle that pain head on and ultimately never heal. The way I see it is, you can hide your head under the covers all you want but at the end of the day, you will never be able to live a full, happy, quality life in honor of your lost one unless you face that pain. Yes its hard, but the objective here is never to MOVE ON, but instead MOVE FORWARD. Its a lifelong journey.
MYTH #3: One type of loss is worse than another..
People assume that one kind of loss is worse than other - example an early loss isn't as tragic as a stillbirth or a stillbirth is more devastating than a TFMR. But one thing I have sat with and learnt along my journey is that there really is no hierarchy in grief.
Each baby belongs to a different family unit, and the circumstances around that family are different so one type of loss should never be compared to another. They are all tragic, devastating and all make an impact. And that impact will hit each family unit differently.
MYTH #4: All genetic problems are hereditary..
Before I lost Chayce, I had always assumed that anything that went wrong in the development of a baby was passed down by the parents however it is important to understand that not all genetic conditions are passed down from the parents. Genetic conditions can often appear “out of nowhere” without there being a clear family history of the disease. The truth is, an abnormal gene can be inherited from either parent or can be the result of a new mutation (gene change) in the affected individual
MYTH #5: Tears = weak
I find it so sad to think that our society may perceive you as weak if you cry about your loss and pain. Its even more devastating to know that this impacts how some people deal with their grief. Commonly, people try to stop a crying person from crying. When someone responds to tears with “Ssh don’t cry,” they are actually saying, “Don’t cry, it makes me uncomfortable,” a reaction that attaches a stigma to it and is therefore perceived negatively. It's not at all surprising to me that a high percentage of people feel a sense of relief after crying, because by being vulnerable and showing emotion is the body's natural way of reducing emotional stress and also a healthy way to process the emotions that have come up.
MYTH #6: Bringing up the topic is too painful..
I often hear "I didn't want to bring up it up because I didn't want to upset you"... I understand as a person standing from the outside looking in, it is daunting trying to find the right words to address someone who has lost a baby. It's even daunting for those who have had a similar experience / lost a baby.
But I could almost guarantee the loss is painful with or without you addressing it.
And by you choosing to addressing it, you are showing that you care, and are therefore letting that person know that even though you might not know what to say, and that you might feel uncomfortable doing so, you have tried. And I know I will respect that person 100% times more because of that. It means so much to me when a person puts aside their own feelings and step out of their comfort zone instead of trying to pretend it never happened to save themselves a moment of awkwardness.
MYTH #7: It's unhealthy to keep talking about it / or doing it for attention..
I believe its healthy to talk about our babies whenever we feel like it. I a;so know how important it is to raise awareness about baby loss even more so when I hear that there are perceptions like this still out there. Its critical that those in this space share their stories (if they feel called to) not only for themselves and for their babies but for the families that will walk this path behind them and need to find someone to cling to. It makes all the difference when you have someone you can relate to, even if its online. I know when I lost Chayce I couldn't find barely any support specific to TFMR and that that further isolated me and further contributed to my state of depression. I don't do this for any other reason than to honour my sons existence, and help others any way I can along the way.
MYTH #8: If you look happy then you are finished grieving..
Its so stupid to me that I have to even explain this one, but I hear it a lot. If you see a grieving person happy, smiling, laughing, enjoying that moment, is does not mean they are no longer hurting and/or grieving. I don't think I will never be done grieving my son even if you see me enjoying life with my living daughter. I don't believe grief just magically ends and I don't believe it ever ends when you have lost a child but I do believe you can learn ways to manage the grief so that you can live a fulfilling life. The more ways I find to incorporate Chayce into our daily lives, the happier you will find me.
MYTH #9: A rainbow baby is a replacement baby..
I will always grieve for what would have been. For how our family should look. For the sibling my rainbow baby never got to meet. For the personality I never got to know. For the voice I never got to hear. For the uniqueness of him. Nothing will ever replace what could have been, not even a subsequent child. Each baby has a special place in our lives, even the ones who never got to come home. In no, way, shape or form should a rainbow baby ever be considered as a replacement for the child that we lost.