I felt like as soon as Dexy died this idea of having another child or brushing him off was what people thought we needed to “Get over it”. We always talked about having more than one child and giving Dexy a brother or sister (maybe one or two… of each) was what we wanted. This whole idea of better luck next time and that it will be okay was toxic to us. We knew the worst was possible and actually having a stillbirth prior to another pregnancy increased our chances of it happening again and increased the chances of complications. My birth with Dexy was okay until after he was born then it all seemed to go tits up. Knowing that another PPH could happen was terrifying for me. What if this time our baby lived and I died? I mean it is possible! Anything is.
Now I look back over the time since Dexy died the main attitude really is another one will heal us but in fact, I think it hasnot. It has brought out parts of me I never knew existed and it probably has made things worse, in regards to grief. Having River has highlighted how much I have missed and how much I will always miss with Dexy. I just don’t understand where this baby healing has come from. If your mum died you wouldn’t just go out and find another mum to attach yourself too… Would you? Imagine how angry that would make you if someone said: “It’s okay, plenty more mums out there to love you.” Insane. So why is it “Okay” for this attitude be used for children dying? They are not replaceable. They are a huge chunk of missing you.
Since River has been born I have noticed that people hardly comment on Dexy or bring him up. They talk to us about subjects that were avoided before because they didn’t want to upset us. But now because we have an alive kid apparently that has returned us to normal… If we are anywhere near normal. I still find everything I did before River just as painful as I do now. That hasn’t changed at all! It never will, I think in turn it will only get worse the more time goes on.
River has and never will “Heal” me. He isn’t here to cure us of grief and heartache. He is here solely because we want a bigger family and we want more than one child. We want to give Dexy a sibling. Not to replace Dexy or make us forget he exists. If you have popped out a 7lb11oz baby you will realize you cannot forget that. The fact River was smaller was easier and I’m more likely to forget pushing him out as it was a breeze… I joke it was just as bloody hard.
This whole Toxic attitude we have towards “Rainbow” Babies is harmful. Not the way us parents see them because we know they are probably harder to do everything with. But society. They make us see our children dying as something negative and I find the term “Rainbow Baby” also implying the idea that they are this light at the end and everything will be okay ow that the storm has passed. Don’t get me wrong. I use the term to describe River but I think I only use it because it is so heavily implied. I truly believe River was harder to love and bond with because every part of his life if greeted by fear and being scared of him dying. Rainbow babies are not this bright ray of sunshine. They are hard. They are proof of how everything was meant to be every day you spend with them is just bittersweet. I don’t and will never see River as a healer. More of a teacher. He has taught me a lot about my own grief, myself, Dexy, My life and what I want. He is also a tester of patience but I’ll talk about that another time- haha.
River is my reason behind why I need to break the taboo of stillbirth even more because I don’t want him growing up in a world where he is ashamed of his brother or unable to talk about him. I want him to be open with people and I don’t want him to ever be made to feel we only had him to cure our sadness. I want him to know he is just as much wanted and loved as Dexy is and was. Our boys are equal.
I feel he had “healed” people who are not supposed to be. We got proved that when we heard nothing about Dexy’s first Christmas from certain people but River got sent 1st Christmas cards and presents. How cruel is that? That is also teaching him he is a replacement. Only including him and not his brother. I wonder as he gets older how he will view it. I don’t want him to be sad over people cruelness. I don’t want him to witness his brother being less. But them people are cured now they have their alive family member. But then there is the opposite where people don’t even ask how he is or talk about his brother and I don’t know what is more hurtful. I think both are incredibly selfish and I don’t want my children around that.
River has not healed me or fixed me because Dexy didn’t destroy me or break me beyond repair. I will fix myself and that is not my child’s responsibility. It is not their burden.