Trigger Warning: Baby loss, termination and mention of infertility
Baby making is seriously hard work. We deserve more credit.
We all know someone who has endured a heartbreaking miscarriage.
We are aware that babies can tragically be born stillborn, or pass soon after birth.
We are familiar with couples doing IVF and/or IUI to conceive and are unfortunately not always successful.
You might have possibly heard of an ectopic pregnancy or a chemical pregnancy.
We all know someone struggling with infertility but praying for their miracle.
You might know of the awful reality of a neonatal death, where a baby passes within the first 28 days of life.
Most people understand and accept that there may some complications at birth and that there is always a risk associated with child birth.
These are just a few of the ways to conceive.
But my question to you is have you ever heard of the acronym T.F.M.R in the pregnancy/baby world?
If you answered no, then I’m delighted that you don't know what it stands for because that means you or any of the people in your circle have not likely ever experienced such a tragedy, or they just haven't told you about it.
And to be honest, four or so months ago, I was also none the wiser.
I was blissfully unaware of the hell hole people go down.
TFMR stands for "Termination For Medical Reasons", also known as “Compassionate Induction”, which is the preferred terminology (so I've been told.)
I know for a fact I had never heard of either of these terms before and I honestly thought I was well prepared for all scenarios when I fell pregnant, including best and worst case.
But boy, was I wrong.
I wasn't even aware that it was legal to 'terminate' a pregnancy after a certain point.
However on the flip side of this, in my opinion that's exactly apart of the problem.
And by ‘problem‘, I’m referring to lack of awareness.
A stigma built up around this taboo topic, that I’ve found some people have formed uneducated strong opinions on.
Which has made this experience for me, even harder.
When we had Chayce, my beautiful midwife even warned us not to tell people how we lost Chayce. Like it should be hidden... because people can't handle it.
But these people are not the ones that have to live with the pain every single day for the rest of their lives, so I don't understand why we need to hide from it. How is that ever supposed to help us to heal?
Don't get me wrong, everyone is obviously entitled to their opinion, but the only thing I would suggest is to those who have been fortunate enough to not have experienced this, is to actually consider the poor people that have either been through it or are currently going through it. It’s not something you would wish on anybody.
People are so terrified of this topic, so they therefore pretend it doesn't exist.
Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Nobody really knows about it, nobody really talks about it, nobody really wants to hear about it, so of course those that have to endure the unimaginable pain that comes with it, generally suffer in silence in fear of inconveniencing or upsetting others.
A common misconception in Western culture is that a woman would generally only elect to 'terminate a pregnancy' if the baby was unwanted or unloved.
I am ashamed to admit I was of the same opinion before Chayce and I wholeheartedly disagreed with even the thought of somebody opting to do such a thing to an innocent baby.
However, I was naïve, I was uneducated on this particular topic and I never considered the bigger picture, until I was put in this exact predicament.
As I have just learnt, there are other reasons why people ‘elect‘ to terminate, and all I ask, is please keep this in mind next time you feel the need to jump to a conclusion that the baby was unwanted, because in our circumstance, Chayce was very much wanted. But our darling boy had multiple congenital malformations and had little chance of surviving to full term and if he did miraculously survive, then also make it through birth, he would never escape from severe pain and constant suffering. A life with little to no quality.
As his loving parents, we couldn't allow that to happen.
This was nobody's fault and we have been told on numerous occasions, "this is as rare as being hit by lightning." Not very comforting..
Never in a million years would I have ever imagined, we would have to 'choose' to say goodbye to our baby.
But we could not knowingly bring Chayce into this world hurting, and then expect him to go through all the torture that would lay ahead of him, simply because we couldn't bare coping with his loss.
At the end of the day, we were forced to make this 'decision' for our son and we did what we knew in our hearts was the most humane decision that we could have possibly made for him.
Every part of my being wishes we didn't have to, but the other option was prolonging his suffering, which just seemed more cruel (in our opinion).
Now for any mums (and dads) reading this, that were faced with the same fate and chose to continue with their pregnancy, please believe me when I say, I mean no disrespect and I acknowledge that it would have also been a tough choice to make, and I know you would have made the best decision for your family at that time, with the information you had and I think that is also very brave.
This is obviously a sensitive topic and I understand it is human nature to jump to opinions and judgments.
But this is because there is little to no education that this might be a 'decision' you may one day have to consider for your little bundle of joy, until you get called into that little room at the hospital, where you know bad things happen and the impending doom hits you in the face and your forced with two terrible ‘options’, that don't even feel like options because they both have a devastating outcome. The worst possible news to receive that your brain cant even comprehend.
You are asked to consider both options, continue or terminate your pregnancy.
You reluctantly agree to the hardest most heartbreaking thing you could ever fathom wishing they would just take you instead.
Then you are forced to go home and wait...
Wait for them to be ready to schedule you in for the worst appointment of your life.
Then you give birth to your silent and still baby who was already making their way to heaven.
And then you have to let them go.
It's the worst possible pain to go through.
But it does happen, and it happens to a lot more couples than you would imagine.
Then you have to relive the nightmare in your sleep over and over again. It never leaves you. We are just two normal healthy people, and this happened to us.
Just to help put it into perspective, Chayce was born on Christmas Eve 2020 in a Melbourne hospital, and there was a couple in the hospital room next door to us, going through the exact same thing, at the exact same time.
I wish I could have gone in there and gave them both a big hug. I often think about them and wonder how they are doing.
The most frustrating part, is I cant even find a solid Australian statistic for the poor parents who have gone down this road. So that there tells you exactly the lack of interest our society has around this topic.
Hence my mission. No matter how uncomfortable it gets.
No matter how many people express their disapproval.
No matter how many times I receive an insensitive comment or someone unfollows me because they feel offended. I’ll be here, talking about the topic nobody wants to talk about.
Because it happened to us, it happened to my Chayce.
And this devastating truth happens to a lot of other families. And I feel it’s important that these heartbroken families know that they are not alone and that not everybody is going to negatively judge them for making the BIGGEST sacrifice they’ll ever have to make, purely out of love.
I, more than anyone hate the fact that this is now my life story.
It doesn’t sit well with me either that I have to live the rest of my life without our first born.
But we did it for him. Because the alternative option would have been even more cruel to live with, for both Chayce and us, as his parents.
I see you TFMR mummas and I am always here if you need x