Common Misconceptions About Baby Loss – Part 2

flowerEarlier this week, I introduced some of the common misconceptions surrounding miscarriage and stillbirth, along with their corresponding truths. Here in part 2, I will share a few more of the erred ideas I’ve discovered since my loss.

If you missed part 1, you can read it HERE.

5 more common misconceptions about baby loss…

Misconception 6: Other living children make up for one that was lost.

If someone had three older children and one died, no one would say, “at least they have two others.”  It is just as ridiculous to think like this if a baby is lost. Each child is an individually loved person. Each one is different part of the family. And each has a place in the parent’s heart that no other child can fill. Obviously, parents who have no living children experience different grief. Yet all parents of loss agree that not even a houseful of healthy children can somehow “make up for” one that was lost.

Misconception 7: A pregnancy that ended in miscarriage or stillbirth is one big bad memory.

This is simply not true. While there certainly are very painful memories, the whole experience is not bad. The memories represent a precious baby that was loved so much. While the death is horrible, the life was and is beautiful. The happy memories of the time the baby was alive will be treasured for a lifetime. Even the painful end of the pregnancy holds memories that are very special. For some parents, it was the one day they got to hold, kiss, and love on their baby, even when they were already in heaven. These memories will always, always be cherished.

Misconception 8: Baby loss, in general, should not be talked about.

Death is uncomfortable, but it is the unfortunate reality of the human state. Some have to deal with it prematurely, and in ways they never should. It seems almost unacceptable in our society as a whole to talk about miscarriage and stillbirth. Because of this, lots of women carry deep, silent pain. Many fathers also carry unspoken burdens, being as strong as they can for their wives, yet struggling with inner hurt. Whenever baby loss is recognized and talked about, it validates what suffering parents are going through. It makes them realize they are not the only ones. And it helps to bring a form of healing to something that can never truly be “fixed.”

Misconception 9: Because of modern medicine, miscarriage and stillbirth are rare.

I think the previous notion leads to this belief. Because it is not talked about, many people don’t realize just how many parents have lost a child during pregnancy. It is true that the majority of women will never suffer the loss of a baby. But 1 in 4 will experience a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death at some time. This is not meant to create fear, but simply to help people realize that a lot of precious babies have been lost, and a lot of moms and dads are hurting.

Misconception 10: If a couple goes on to have another baby, they must be “over” their loss.

Parents don’t “get over” losing one of their children. Ever. They will miss the child for the rest of their lives. While having another baby can bring some healing, it also brings new grief, as parents realize everything they missed with their child in heaven. To read more about this struggle, click HERE.

 

If you are looking to learn more for others, I hope this post has given you helpful information. Because of so many wrong ideas, many parents feel very lonely in their grief. Knowing more about what it’s like can help you support loved ones through loss. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t understand these things before. I didn’t know until I lost my baby Esther.

If you have experienced loss yourself, I hope this post has helped you know you are not alone in feeling misunderstood in your grief.

In closing, I would like to hear from you. What other misconceptions have you found about baby loss? What are some of the hardest comments or ideas that you have had to face as a mom walking this journey?

Common Misconceptions About Baby Loss – Part 1

Weeping_Willow_Sunset_Wallpaper_krip2Until I lost my baby, I didn’t understand miscarriage or stillbirth. Let’s face it, who wants to know what it’s like to lose a child? No one. Probably like most other moms, I never read that part in my pregnancy books. Now that I know firsthand what it’s like, I have come to see just how misunderstood losing a baby is. It seems like wrong ideas are everywhere. I have decided to do a couple posts on some of the most common misconceptions I have discovered, along with their corresponding truths. My goal is to bring awareness and understanding about miscarriage and stillbirth, and to help other moms of loss know they are not alone in facing the erred ideas in our society.

Here is the first set of misconceptions:

Misconception 1: Miscarriage and stillbirth are not like losing an actual child.

This is a prevalent, but wrong idea. Losing a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth IS losing a child. The hopes, dreams, and plans for that baby have been crushed. There will be no first steps, first words, first day of school, graduation, or wedding day. The child is gone.

Misconception 2: Losing a baby is hard, but in time, a person will get back to “normal.”

When someone’s child dies, they are forever changed. While parents do learn to adjust, they are never the same. There is no “going back” to how things were before, there is only a going forward in the new reality. A new form of normal will come with time. Yet a parent will always be affected by the loss they experienced.

Misconception 3: It is best not to talk about a baby that has died.

Talking about the baby is healing for the parents. It brings both joy and sadness. It makes the parents feel closer to the baby and it helps them process their grief. It means that the life is not forgotten.

Misconception 4: A miscarriage or stillbirth is a medical condition like a sickness.

Because of this notion, some workplaces do not allow bereavement time for parents unless a doctor’s note is written. This idea also causes people to send “get well” cards instead of “sympathy” cards.

A miscarriage or stillbirth is the death of a baby. There can be physical complications for the mother, and there is often some recovery needed. However, the emotional pain of losing a beloved child is the most difficult part to recover from.

Misconception 5:  Only people who don’t take care of themselves, or get proper prenatal care have miscarriages or stillbirths. If someone loses a baby, they must have done something wrong.

Maybe this explanation is a way that people convince themselves it could never happen to them. The truth is, almost all losses during pregnancy are unpreventable. In the rare instances that the death could have been prevented, it’s usually not known until it is too late. Imagine the agony this creates for parents.

Every mother struggles with horrible guilt that she couldn’t save her own baby. Most moms scan their brains until they are almost crazy, trying to relive every moment of the pregnancy and what they could have done different, even when there was nothing they could have done. When people imply that a mom should have or could have done something to prevent a loss, it only adds to the irrational guilt.

I hope this post has been helpful and given more insight into this delicate issue. I would love to hear your feedback in a comment.

Be watching for Misconceptions about Baby Loss Part 2 coming later this week…