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…