Please Stop Telling Baby Loss Mamas That We Can Just Try Again!
Here is the more light hearted post I promised after my last tear jerker letter to my son. Thank you so much for all of the lovely comments and messages I received from that one it really means so much to me, more than you’ll probably ever realise. My DMs were on fire that night; pretty sure Mr Protein thought I was sexting strangers!! *Okay he didn’t*
Anyway, I was in the bath the other day pondering the really dumb ass things that people say to someone whose baby died. Literally the worst thing in the world, I think we can all agree on that one. Matters made much worse by the number of insensitive fuckwits who say really stupid things to us or just treat us a bit shitty. Hello pregnancy yoga moms who ignored me as I walked past you but then whispered ‘that’s the girl whose baby died’ behind my back – nama-fucking-ste to you too.
I think the one thing that crops up countless times is that old chestnut ‘YOU CAN ALWAYS TRY AGAIN’ or it’s equally stupid cousin ‘ARE YOU GOING TO TRY AGAIN?’
Thank you Captain Obvious, we are aware that we can ‘try again’ but you’re really starting to piss all over our chips with this insensitive approach, even if you mean well with this sentiment just take a moment to think about what you are inferring or the connotations of what you are saying to us actually are.
I am going to explain this very slowly for the people in the cheap seats at the back who might not be able to hear why suggesting that we can always try again or asking whether we intend to try again is wholly insensitive, completely stupid and basically just makes you a moron. Ok, here goes.
To suggest that we can just try again insinuates that our precious little baby who has died is replaceable and that we will simply get over them if we just pop out another one. It is like a very extreme example of ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea’ only with dead babies instead of crap boyfriends. Do you see how utterly ridiculous that is now that it is written down in front of you? As long as we get a baby, any baby, it is all fixed, abracadabra crisis averted? Nope love it really doesn’t work like that.
I very much doubt you’d even say this to someone whose dog had died. Sorry to hear about little Rover/Snowdrop/Princess PomPom Tinkerbell but you can always just get another one? Are you going to get a new Grandad now he has passed away? Are you able to replace your mother if she dies? What if someone’s best friend died, would you say ‘ah well you can always make a new best friend, I hear Lisa from down the road is really nice.’
Of course not, you think I am a fucking idiot for even writing that down. So why is it any different when someone loses a baby? I actually hate that turn of phrase, we didn’t lose them in a game of hide and seek that went horribly wrong, they DIED. So to suggest that we can just try again and everything will be okay in the end is so terribly wrong and tone deaf, but it is one of the most common things we hear. Seriously, if I had a tenner for every time I have been asked this I could easily afford a wild weekend away in Blackpool - The Big One I’m coming for you! *If you’re not familiar with Blackpool it is a real shit hole, please don’t think that you should visit based on this comment. You can get some pretty decent donuts there though. The Big One was once the biggest rollercoaster in the UK. It isn’t anymore and it is a rickety, head shaker that makes you feel sick, I also have some pretty real concerns about the safety of this ancient ride…*
To suggest that we can try again is hurtful, tone deaf, insensitive and just really a bit stupid actually. This isn’t some shitty boyfriend that gave us chlamydia for the fourth time that we can just replace and find a new one. This is our child you are talking about. Our flesh and blood. They will always be missed and never be replaced. So stop telling us we can try again. We are aware that sexual intercourse may lead to pregnancy if the deed is done at the correct time of the month but thank you for reassuring us.
What it won’t do is heal the hurt that our baby dying has left. Even if I go on to have triplets I will still be missing a child, Billy, my firstborn child. He should be here, but he is not. He isn’t replaceable; I will not get over his death simply by having another baby. The grief actually probably becomes more complex when you add another baby into your life, because I imagine you feel all kinds of guilt and mixed emotions in seeing everything that your baby is missing out on. It is certainly not a band aid that stops the grief and longing for your baby that has died.
I am sure these people mean no harm but people really need to do better. Think before you speak or don’t say anything at all. Imagine if society’s attitude to all death was as flippant as it is towards babies who pass away before or shortly after birth. Imagine how hurt you would feel if someone was so dismissive of a family members passing as they are towards lost pregnancies, stillbirths or neo-natal death. We can’t just try again and then we’ll be cured and stop banging on about our babies who passed away. Sorry to disappoint but this is one problem that isn’t easily fixed; a notion I have actually struggled with myself, most problems have a cure, a solution, something you can do to fix it. Not the death of a baby though, that is one problem that doesn’t have a solution – not even ‘trying again’.
I hope my message is clear; stop telling baby loss mama’s they can always try again! Before we come to your house and throw eggs at you and smear dog poo all over your windows. Honestly, I will hunt you down, I will find you and I will have over fed my Chihuahua’s on very cheap dog food that upsets their stomachs and I will just let them loose on your lovely front garden for an hour. Fun fact, I shan’t be coming with poo bags to clean it up either.
On a serious note now as I know this isn’t my most heartfelt of posts, this is why I am so passionate about breaking the silence around baby loss, attitudes need to change and this will only happen if we open up and aren’t afraid to speak about it more. People need to know what the right and wrong things to say to parents affected by baby loss is, whatever the circumstances.
I heard something so harrowing recently that I can’t even bring myself to share it on my blog or Instagram as it was deeply disturbing but it was some pretty messed up behaviour relating to stillborn babies less than 50 years ago. It really affected me for the day and whilst I realised how far we have come in the way that society views infant loss, there is still a long way to go. But we’re slowly getting there and I will do my little bit to help in the name of Billy Stardust.
PS Sorry for all of the swearing. Sometimes you just gotta drop the F bomb.