Sunday Synopsis

When a child dies and another is born… I don’t like this article.  I feel like it is almost critical of those who want to have a child after loss.  Granted, I am reading this from a babyloss perspective and not the perspective of a subsequent child after loss.  Personally I think it’s demeaning- as if we all just figure another child would replace the one(s) we’d lost. Newflash: Mabel had Down Syndrome and multiple medical complications- no one could replace her.  Her condition was one in a million.  Even if she was healthy, she was her own person.  I’ve always wanted several kids (a desire I had taken for granted) and if I choose/am lucky enough to have more, I hope people don’t judge me.

EIght tips to help someone grieving through the holidays: a nice article. do you have any other tips to add?

Lessons from the stage: The term “yes, but…” is avoided in good improv for good reason- it kills the story.  It is strikingly similar to the “at least” we often hear in loss.  I’m going to try to be more conscious of this term now too.

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19 thoughts on “Sunday Synopsis

  1. My MIL once left me speechless by stating that she hoped she was a better replacement for my mom than my dad’s new wife. Um, no. People can’t be replaced, least of all those closest to your heart. It’s so clear to me that I don’t know how to explain it to others though.

  2. I really really hate the term “replacement child” and the kind of judgement it seems to bring on those who are already experiencing a world of emotions. I hope for a sibling for Mabel, if that is your choice, too.

  3. After reading the “replacement child” article I was irritated, and it really made me realize why I hate it when people try to comfort me by saying “oh you’ll get pregnant again”. Whether or not I can or will get pregnant again is totally irrelevant to the fact that I lost my daughter, I can never replace Clara. I feel like so many people who are close to me are just holding their breath waiting for me to get pregnant again, thinking that would really “cure” me and I will be able to move on. I think articles like this must come from people who have never lost a child, its always so easy to label the actions of others.

    • I absolutely hate the term and the questions (and I know I’ve asked them myself!) I know what people’s intentions are- sometimes they are good (like, they know another child wont replace my lost one, but they know it would provide me some joy.something to look forward to or they want to see stir up conversation about ttc after loss) and sometime their intentions are misguided (they think another baby will just make all the sadness go away- hah!) I can’t really tell them apart.

  4. When I first lost my son and everyone kept telling me “you can get pregnant again!”, all I could think was “is that what I’m supposed to do now?!?” I was so confused. So I see a small bit of good in the first article, in the distinction between “replacement child” when the parents haven’t worked through grief, and “subsequent child” when the parents have worked through grief sufficiently to begin to differentiate and think of both children as individuals. Maybe it will help others see that rapidly having another (without bothering to work through all that grief business) isn’t the quick-fix they seem to imagine. Maybe it will help them understand the importance of grieving fully. Orrrr maybe not, but I can always hope 😉

    • It’s tricky. I remember reading in a book they gave me at the hospital- most parents who conceive shortly after their loss wish they waited, but admit no one could have convinced them otherwise at the time. For some people trying to conceive might be part of the grief journey. For me, just the thought of another child in the future helped me get out of bed everyday. What was hard was the trying and failing. I wasnt prepared for that. I personally don’t know anyone who looks at their subsequent child as a replacement. It seemed very old fashioned to me. I might be naive or putting my own thoughts out there, but I’d be hard fast to find someone who truly thinks pregnancy is a quick fix for grief.

      • I do know many people who proposed pregnancy as a quick fix! And I also know a few “replacement children”/surviving children whose parents did struggle to treat them appropriately – of course, that doesn’

      • ‘T by any means indicate that all parents will struggle with their “subsequent children” in the same way. But it’s something my community had not been particularly mindful of.

  5. Yeah, that 1st article stung. The author was certainly playing their judgeridoo. I actually didn’t even like their distinction between a “replacement child,” and subsequent child.” It seemed to suggest that there is a time when you are done processing your grief, and I don’t think you ever are. However I do think you can still have a child that is not a “replacement.” I bristle whenever anyone suggests another child would replace the 3 that I lost.

    Here is a good article I read this week: http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/17/no-you-dont-have-to-move-on-its-okay-to-grieve-forever/

    • YES, autumn! You say it so perfectly- the idea that the article is assuming there is a time when you’re done processing your grief. that’s what I was feeling too. I read that article as well- it’s a good one!

  6. I’ve never heard anyone use the term replacement child, nor have I seen it in writing before. I suppose there are people who view others as replacements and many of those people probably keep these thoughts tucked deep down in their psyches.

    One term that I have heard and used before is rainbow … rainbow pregnancy, rainbow baby, or simply rainbow. This refers to the baby that is conceived after a lost pregnancy, no matter what caused the loss generally speaking. The rainbow is what comes after a storm … a storm of loss, grieving, emotional trauma, but is never viewed as the replacement for the lost pregnancy or baby.

    • Yes, the term rainbow- it’s a beautiful term (one that only we in the babyloss word seem to know about). I recently saw on a friend’s fb post (someone who took a long hiatus after the stillbrith of her daughter and returning years later after her rainbow is over a year old)

      “The beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.”

  7. Although I had never heard the term “replacement child” I guess that is what I am. My brother died at 9 months old in a tragic accident. I was born a year or two later. However, I was NEVER meant to feel that I was a replacement for him. Any pressure I felt to “perform” was due to being the “oldest” child in the birth order. I did know about him, but it wasn’t something that was talked about a lot, in deference to my mother’s grief.
    Another point…when I was in Lamaze classes awaiting my first born (in 1968!) there was a couple in the class who had lost their son to illness when he was two years old. We were all at first very intimidated and didn’t know how to react. (In our defense, we were all in our early 20’s and terribly naive.) However, this couple had such grace toward all of us that I have never forgotten them. In fact, after all these years, I still remember that their first son was named “Brandon Lee” as they spoke of singing the Sara Lee song as, “Nobody doesn’t love Brandon Lee.” I was amazed that they could be so open…and there was no way that they looked upon their second child as any kind of “replacement.” Finally, I think that the decision to have another child (a
    nd when) after a child dies is an EXTREMELY PERSONAL one. In fact, choosing to have a child at all is deeply personal.

    • fascinating to have the perspective of a subsequent child. I”m already in love with brandon’s parents by your description of them. and your last lines sum it up perfectly! having a child, let alone after one that has died, is so personal, it should be free of judgement!

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