The graphics are arranged alphabetically below. You can also view the graphics by category:
All graphics are available in multiple colors and sizes; click individual entries to view the graphics.
If you ask a widow about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a spouse. If you ask a bereaved parent about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a child. And they are both correct. Grief is not a competition.
They said time heals, but they lied. Time doesn’t heal. It’s only a measure of the length of the process.
It is common in loss circles to talk about finding thankfulness in the life we have left. There are so many things wrong with this sentiment. The biggest problem is that it assumes the bereaved can’t be thankful and grieving at the same time. The other main problem is the unspoken assumption that thankfulness is a “cure” for grief. It isn’t.
Many years ago in the Before, my then-boyfriend asked me not to say, “I love you, but–“. As he pointed out, the word “but” is minimizing; it negates the importance of everything that came before. I think of this today, and I realize how much more valid my experience feels when I remove any “buts”. It definitely helps.
There is a tendency in our culture to want to find the bright side to every story and situation, but sometimes a bright side simply doesn’t exist.
I think there is a common assumption that talking about the death of your child means you are struggling. This isn’t true. Death happens, and it shouldn’t be taboo to talk about it. I personally talk about Adrian’s death a lot, because the best way to honor his memory is to ensure his tragedy doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child.
Before Adrian died, I don’t know that I would have understood this, but it is absolutely possible to parent a child after their death. It looks a little different. It’s still very real.
I didn’t have much experience with death or grief prior to the death of my son, and so I’m embarrassed that I genuinely used to believe everything was “okay” right after the funeral. This is how it’s often portrayed on TV. This is wrong.
There’s no such thing as “just” a miscarriage. Miscarriage is only what happens to the body. The loss of a child is so much more.
Feelings aren’t required to be rational or reasonable, nor to follow anyone else’s expectations. I have the right to feel how I feel, for as long as I feel it, regardless of circumstances or whether someone else feels differently.
I think our culture idealizes those who use their loss or pain as an impetus for personal growth. While I don’t object to how anyone else chooses to live after loss, I do think it’s important to acknowledge that no matter how much growth is achieved, it is NEVER worth the cost. I would certainly give it all up to have my son at home.
I think one of the hardest things I had to do was accept that grief isn’t always overwhelming. Sometimes it just exists, present but not always screaming.
One of the more important things I’ve learned is that if what you’re feeling is authentic, then it’s valid, no matter what. Feelings don’t have to follow rules; they just exist.
I’ve seen so many people begin a post about grief with phrases like, “This may sound odd,” or “Sorry if this is weird.” I’ve decided I’m going to stop doing that. Grief doesn’t have to be reasonable. Death certainly isn’t.
In the Before, I always thought of death as a sad experience, but one whose impact would eventually fade. I know now that you never really “get over” the death of someone you love; you can only integrate the loss and pain. And this is a process that is never-ending.
There is a tendency in our culture to avoid talking about “negative” things like loss and death. We often use euphemisms or try to cast things in a better light. I choose not to do this. Death is not a dirty word; it simply IS.
I have continually been surprised by the way my body reacts to various anniversaries surrounding Adrian and his death. Sometimes they are “important” things like his birth or due date, but sometimes they are just random Tuesdays. It reminds me that regardless of the days we consider most relevant, the body keeps a calendar of its own.
There is a trend in our modern world towards doing things in the most “natural” way possible. This has become exceptionally big in childbirth and child care circles. I think what is unfortunately not well understood is that the most biologically normal thing in the world is death.
The bereaved are often told to think of the positives or to remember the good times with the person they lost. The problem with this statement is that it assumes we aren’t already thankful for these things. The truth is that pain and thankfulness can exist at the exact same time.
Even with the best of intentions, there are no words that can follow the words “at least” without invalidating the pain of trauma or loss. “At least” is an invalidator.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we look, there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for. That’s not a failing; it’s just life.
Positivity is a choice, and it’s important that it remains an individual one. You can’t force other people to feel positive; you can only make them feel bad about feeling differently.
Before Adrian died, I was a relatively positive person. His death shattered my belief and confidence in the ultimate goodness of the world.
Adrian was born at 9lb 0oz. He had a funeral. He HAS a name. I didn’t have a “stillborn”; I had a stillborn CHILD. He is and always will be a human being.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I heard that babies come when they’re ready, and so I allowed my pregnancy to go overdue. I wish I had known this wasn’t always true
People often point to living children as a reason for bereaved parents not to grieve. This is of course ridiculous. All children are precious. All children will be mourned. I could have 100 babies after the loss of the son. He will always be part of me.
I’ve seen this quote in many places, and it has always felt wrong to me. Especially if we acknowledge grief as tied intrinsically to love, then we understand that grief CAN’T be a passage; grief simply IS.
We talk about grief and healing, but what does that even mean? Is it possible to heal from grief, or is it something you incorporate, and carry forever?
People talk about healing after the loss of a loved one, but what does that mean? Do we truly heal, or do we incorporate? Do we ever leave that death behind? I believe “healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as re-growing a missing limb.
When I talk about Adrian’s death, I often hear the words, “I can’t imagine.” I feel like that’s a cop-out. Of course you can imagine. It’s just scary.
Humans are hardwired to find points of comparison. It’s how we build community. It makes us feel less alone. In some cases, though, comparison feels minimizing. This is especially the case in loss.. Here are 2 alternatives to the phrase, “I know how you feel”
The loss of a child feels unimaginable, and so when people hear my story, they often say, “I would never survive it.” I don’t think most people consider that I didn’t have a choice. The only other option in my world was to end my life; and while I certainly considered it, it’s not something we want to turn into a throw-away statement.
It’s instinct to want to reassure, but there is no reassurance to be had after loss. Please don’t tell the bereaved everything will be okay. Sometimes it just needs to hurt. These are 2 options to say instead of “It’s going to be okay”
I have heard this statement in numerous places: “It’s okay to not be okay as long as you don’t stay that way.” I disagree. Why do we put a time limit on reality? I think it’s only when we recognize that all feelings are valid, that we finally have the space we need to make genuine change. And even then, that change is optional. It has to be.
It’s common for outsiders to tell the hurt and bereaved to look on the bright side or find the silver lining in their grief. This is ridiculous. Sometimes it just needs to suck.
“Positive vibes only” sounds like a great message, but it unfortunately acts as erasure of the full emotional spectrum. Authenticity is always preferable.
This meme has been floating around for a while, and I honestly can’t stand it. Trauma is not your fault, period. Healing is never an obligation.
Unsolicited advice is the bane of anyone’s existence, but people often feel comfortable telling the bereaved what to do. Please don’t.
It is common to tell the bereaved they are brave. But what does this mean? Is it brave to have lived through tragedy when you never had a choice?
It is common to tell the bereaved they are strong. But is this a description, or a command? And what if the bereaved feel differently?. These are 3 different responses to the comment, “You’re so strong”
Sometimes I feel like the bereaved live in the real world and everyone else lives in the fantasy. It’s the only way the world makes sense.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I had no idea stillbirth was a realistic possibility; certainly not something that happened in 1 out of 160 pregnancies. Please educate your patients on the stats, risks, and warning signs. We deserve this information.
The death of my son changed me as a person more than any other event in my lifetime. Death does that. Death changes you. Permanently.
Fathers Day 2020: Gentle wishes for bereaved dads on Father’s Day. May the Day be Kind.
Pain and grief can make outsiders uncomfortable, and sometimes they may urge you to heal and be your positive self again. This is a reminder that you are always allowed to feel however you need to.
Positivity is and has to be an individual choice. Forced positivity, then, becomes toxic. People are individuals and attitudes must be determined internally
We are often asked to consider the intentions of our loved ones when they say or do something hurtful in our lives. But please remember: “Good intentions” are best revealed by changing behavior you’ve been told is hurtful.
Grief is often confused with sadness, or even depression. But grief isn’t sadness, and sadness is only one facet of grief.
If a bereaved parent feels guilt or blame about their loss, simply telling them not to feel that way is not a solution. Feelings don’t work that way.
Before Adrian died, I always thought of tragedy and loss as something that happened to OTHER people, but not to me. Of course I feel differently now.
We default to these standard phrases when seeking to comfort others in pain. Unfortunately, these phrases actually make the pain worse..
I chose to go overdue in my first pregnancy, believing labor was best when it happened naturally. These printable brochures talk about my experience.
My feelings are authentic. I will not hide how I feel just because it makes someone else uncomfortable. Feelings are always valid.
I understand your intentions in wanting to take away my pain. It’s hard to see someone you love hurting. It’s hard to acknowledge there’s nothing you can do. What I need you to understand: (My) pain has a purpose. It speaks to the love I hold for my child. In seeking to take it away, you take away my love as well. You take away ME.
We hear a lot about the power of nature and avoiding things that are heavily processed to keep ourselves safe. I think it is important to remember: What is safe is not always natural & What is natural is not always safe.
Sharing about my deceased child doesn’t mean that I’m stuck or broken or even that I am hurting. It simply means I am a parent.
I never really considered that question, “How are you?” until after the death of my son. And then it became the bane of my day. Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth.
After Adrian died, many people close to me offered to pray. I generally don’t find comfort in thoughts of a higher power myself, but I understand the desire to want to pray as a means to demonstrate care. If you are ask permission before offering prayer, it is generally going to be okay. I certainly appreciate the intentions behind it, especially when paired with consent.
It feels like we are conditioned to look on the bright side of every dark situation, but sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes, things just need to suck
Sometimes; some days, I am just — tired. An exhaustion that goes beyond the surface. An exhaustion that is more than just physical.
In the United States today, 1 in 160 pregnancies ends in the death of the child at or after 20 weeks gestation. This is not rare. This is in fact a freaking emergency.
Survivor’s bias is a logical fallacy that equates the experience of those who survived an experience with “proof” that such an experience is safe.
It is common in loss circles to talk about finding thankfulness in the life we have left. There are so many things wrong with this statement. The biggest problem is that it assumes the bereaved can’t be thankful and grieving at the same time. The other main problem is the unspoken assumption that thankfulness is a “cure” for grief.
Adoption is often held up as the “solution” to the “problems” of both child loss and grief. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding and oversimplification. Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is not, however, easy or automatic, or guaranteed. There is definitely no “just” about the process.
Tragedy is not a one-time event. It happens over and over again–every morning; every milestone; every holiday. Every new experience is touched by the loss. In every experience, something is missing.
You may find it “triggering” to hear about the death of my child. Imagine how much harder it is to live with it.
We’ve always been told that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, but I don’t think this makes sense. Sometimes, the things that don’t kill us immediately still affect us strongly in other ways.