Forced positivity is toxic.

Forced Positivity is Toxic

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Positivity is and has to be an individual choice. Forced positivity, then, becomes toxic. People are individuals and attitudes must be determined internally.

Forced positivity is toxic.

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Shareable graphics and memes about child loss & grief, pregnancy & parenting after loss, grieving without god, life & authenticity, and informed pregnancy.
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You may find it "triggering" to hear about the death of my child. Imagine how much harder it is to live with it. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Trigger Warning

Notes for the Support Team -  Be cautious of projecting your experience or your feelings onto your loved one.  Even under similar circumstances, their experience is likely to be different than yours. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Be Cautious of Projecting Your Feelings

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Let's cheer you up. Rewritten: I understand your grief is heavy right now. I'd like to support you in whatever ways you need. Would you like to tell me about him? Or maybe we can go for a walk. Whatever you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Let’s cheer you up

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: At least… Rewritten: I'm so sorry this happened to you. It isn't right or fair. Nothing can make up for the loss of your child. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

At least…

Tragedy is not a one-time event. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Tragedy is not a one-time event

I think one of the things I've learned over the past few years since my son's death is that you never know what anyone else is going through. Even people who post on social media. Even people who are close. People keep a lot of pain below the surface. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

We have no idea what other people are going through

I miss the days when I still believed all you needed was a good attitude. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I miss the days when I still believed all you needed was a good attitude

Notes for the support team - "Good intentions" are best revealed by changing behavior you've been informed is hurtful.

“Good intentions” are best revealed by changing behavior you’ve been informed is hurtful

Refusing to talk about or even consider that death happens is not going to keep it from happening. Death isn't Rumpelstiltskin. It doesn't work that way. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Refusing to Talk About Death; Death Isn’t Rumpelstiltskin

Sometimes there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Question: "How are you?" Multiple choice answers: "Outstanding, Okay, Really hating this question". There is a check mark next to "Really hating this questions". -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

How are you?

If a bereaved parent feels guilt or blame about their loss, simply telling them not to feel that way is not a solution. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

If a bereaved parent feel guilt or blame about their loss…

If you genuinely want to comfort a grieving person, remove these words from your vocabulary:  “But”, “Strong”, “Brave”, “At Least”. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

If you genuinely want to comfort a bereaved person, remove these words from your vocabulary

The body keeps a calendar completely separate from the mind. Some days just have to be felt. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

The Body Keeps a Calendar Separate from the Mind

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.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

I have the right to feel how I feel

Notes for the Support Team -  A good cheat sheet for pretty much any situation in which another human is upset: "That sounds hard." "Do you want to tell me about it?" "How can I help?"  -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

A Good Cheat Sheet for Pretty Much Any Situation in Which Another Human is Upset

Notes for the Support Team -  Your pain is important. Their pain is MORE important. Don't ask them to bear the burden of comforting you. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Your pain is important. Their pain is MORE important.

What's with this expectation that grief should be "reasonable"?  Death certainly isn't reasonable. Grieve however you need.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Neither Death nor Grief are “Reasonable”

Notes for the Support Team -  It's hard to feel sad and helpless when someone you love is struggling after loss. It's hard to sit there in the darkness and support them when they are most in pain. But if you can do that—your support means everything. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Accept that you feel helpless and you will be so much more helpful

Notes for the Bereaved -  It is not your job to make other people feel comfortable. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s not your job to make other people feel comfortable

Dear Prenatal Provider— Please educate your patients about stillbirth. We deserve to know the facts. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Dear Prenatal Provider—Please educate your patients about stillbirth

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original Statement: Having a birthday party for a dead child is weird. Rewritten: I've never been to a birthday party for a deceased child, but I'd love to honor him in this way. How can I help? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Having a birthday party for a dead child is “weird”

Notes for the Support Team - Simply telling someone not to feel a certain way will never have the desired result. Instead, ask questions about their feelings. Acknowledge and understand without trying to change. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You can’t order someone to feel a certain way

"Babies come when they're ready." Not always. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

“Babies come when they’re ready”

Yes, you can parent a child even after their death. #SeaGlassParenting

Yes, you can parent a child even after their death…#SeaGlassParenting

I am thoroughly uninterested in being "strong." -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I am thoroughly uninterested in being “strong”

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.

Parenting in Loss; Sharing about my Deceased Child

Notes for the Support Team -  When you tell me I'm "strong" or "brave", it feels less like a description, and more like a command. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

When you tell me I’m “strong” or “brave”…

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I can't imagine… Rewritten: Try. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I can’t imagine

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: It's time to move on. Rewritten: I understand you grieve for and miss your child. What can I do to help you honor them today? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s time to move on

"1 in 160" feels like such a small number until you put it in context. For the parents of a stillborn child, 1 in 160 will always be one too many. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Stillbirth is NOT “Rare”

Adoption is a beautiful, beautiful thing... It is not the "solution" to the "problems" of child loss or grief. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Adoption is not a “solution” to the “problems” of child loss or grief

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos

I have these moments sometimes with my living child. Moments where I wonder if I am enough for her, trying so hard and simultaneously dying inside. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Can I be enough for my living child while I’m dying inside?

Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility. Rewritten: Trauma is not your fault.

“Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility”

I did not have "a stillborn". I had a stillborn CHILD; a human being. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I Did not Have “A Stillborn”

Often when I share about my deceased child, people rush to give advice or hugs. I don't always need that, though.  Often, all I really need is for you to listen. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Often all I need is for you to listen

Notes for the Support Team - Children. Aren't. Replaceable. Please consider the impact of your words before you talk about things like subsequent children or adoption. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Children Aren’t Replaceable

Notes for the Bereaved -  You don't have to be a noble victim. You are allowed to be a fallible human being, just like the rest of the world. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You don’t have to be a noble victim

Notes for the Support Team -  It's easy to disappear in times of tragedy. It's hard to live with yourself afterwards. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s Both Easy & Hard to Disappear After Loss

We need to talk about grief. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

We need to talk about grief

Notes for the Bereaved - Sometimes the most meaningful thing anyone can say to you is "This fucking sucks." Because it does. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes the most meaningful thing anyone can say is, “This fucking sucks.”

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: You should be thankful for the children you have. Rewritten: Parenting after loss is an eternal balance. I am always available for babysitting or help around the house if you need a break. It's okay to tend to your grief for your missing child too. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You should be thankful for the children you have

Original statement: "Positive vibes only." Rewritten: Authentic vibes only. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

“Positive Vibes Only”

Sometimes I'm just— Tired. An exhaustion that goes beyond the surface; an exhaustion that is more than just physical. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes, I’m just—Tired

Notes for the Bereaved -  You are under no obligation to turn your tragedy into something beautiful. You are allowed, todays and always, simply to exist. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

No Obligation to turn Tragedy into Beauty

I constantly wish someone had told me stillbirth was SO VERY COMMON. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I Wish Someone Had Told Me Stillbirth Was So Common

There is no asterisk to the things that are allowed in the grief experience. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

There is no Asterisk to the things Allowed in Grief

"Dead" is not a dirty word. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

“Dead” is not a dirty word (B/W)

Sometimes it just needs to suck. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes it Just Needs to Suck

Notes for the Support Team -  You aren't going to be perfect. Show up anyway. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You aren’t going to be perfect. Show Up Anyway.

“I did it and I was fine.” This is called survivors bias. Your singular experience is neither proof nor promise that dangerous things won't hurt other people. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Survivor’s Bias

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original question: Why didn't you…? Rewritten: I have no idea what I would have done were I in your place. I will certainly never second-guess your decisions. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Why didn’t you…?

My experience feels a lot more valid when I remove all the “buts”. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My experience feels a lot more valid when I remove all the “buts”

Positivity is a choice, and not one you can make for other people. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Positivity is a choice, and not one you can make for other people

Original Statement: Still Grieving? Still dead. Still a parent. Rewritten statement: Always grieving. Always dead. ALWAYS a parent.

Still/Always

Notes for the Support Team -  Acknowledge bereaved parents on Mothers' and Fathers' Day. Parenthood NEVER ends. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Acknowledge Bereaved Parents on Mothers and Fathers Day

Even as a bereaved parent, I still don't always know the right words to say. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

The Bereaved Don’t Always Have Words Either

What is safe is not always natural & What is natural is not always safe. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Natural vs. Safe

My pain has a purpose. Please stop trying to take it away from me. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My pain has a purpose

I’m upset with movies and TV shows for making me think grief was just a phase. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I’m upset with movies and TV shows for making me think grief was just a phase

Grief isn’t sadness. Grief isn’t loss. Grief is what lives in those left behind. -Miranda Hernandez. Adrian's Mother

Grief is not Sadness; Sadness is not Grief

“Healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

“Healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb.

Statement: You're so strong. Response: Inside I am dying.

You’re so Strong!

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. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Grief is not a Competition

Informed Pregnancy Brochure describing my experience going overdue in pregnancy and outlining risks and warning signs of problems in pregnancy (side 1)

My Experience Going Overdue in Pregnancy (Brochure)

Thankfulness is not a cure for grief

Notes for the support team - Nobody is born knowing how to deal with grief. We are all just figuring it out along the way.

Nobody is born knowing how to deal with grief

Notes for the Support Team -  When someone is in the thick of grief, "someday" is pretty meaningless. Sit with them in the hard parts, today, instead. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

“Someday” is Meaningless

Original Statement: Grief is a passage, not a place to stay. Rewritten: Grief IS. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Grief is a Passage, not a Place to Stay

Death isn’t something you ever “get over”.  It’s something you integrate, and then reintegrate again  and again.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Death isn’t something you ever “get over”

"It's okay to not be okay as long as you don't stay that way" Rewritten: It's okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to not be okay (as long as you don’t stay that way)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Everything is going to be fine.  Rewritten: I'm not going to tell you everything is going to be fine. I understand grief is hard, and no amount of positive thinking is going to make up for the loss of your child. So I will simply tell you that I love you, and I'm here for whatever you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Everything is going to be fine

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I wish I could take your pain away.  Rewritten: I understand your feelings are important. I would never want to minimize or try to take them away. I will always be here to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I wish I could take your pain away

Notes for the Bereaved -  There is NO time limit on grief. Take whatever time you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

There is NO Time Limit on Grief

Prayer is appreciated… ...When it has been invited. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Prayer is appreciated…when it has been invited

Gentle wishes for bereaved Dads on Father's Day. May the day be kind. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Father’s Day

I too used to believe tragedy was the thing that happened to other people. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I too used to believe tragedy was the thing that happened to other people.

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Let me know if I can do anything for you. Rewritten: Can I bring you dinner this evening? Can I help you with the laundry? I'm going to the store this evening; can I bring you anything? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Let me know what you need

Death changes you. Permanently. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Death Changes You. Permanently.

I have grown as a person since the death of my son...But I would give up everything I’ve gained to have not had a reason to.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

I have grown as person through the death of my son, but it’s not worth it

Sometimes I miss that initial innocence; the days when I thought positivity was enough to make everything go as planned. Only sometimes, though. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes I miss that initial innocence

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Look on the bright side. Rewritten: I know that nothing can lessen or make up for this enormous loss, and so I won't try to point you to any bright side. Instead I will simply be here. I'm so sorry for your loss.  -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Look on the Bright Side

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Have you thought about adoption? Rewritten: I understand the idea of having children after loss is complicated. I'm never going to push you or ask you questions you aren't ready to answer. I'm here though, if you ever want to talk about it. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Have you thought about adoption?

Sometimes I feel like the bereaved live in the "real world" and everyone else lives in the fantasy. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Bereaved Live in the Real World

Notes for the Support Team -  It is far easier for you to reach in than it is for the bereaved to find the strength to "reach out".

“Reach Out” or Reach In?

You are always always ALWAYS allowed to feel how you feel, with no obligation to cheer up, look on the bright side, or snap out of it. Your feelings are valid and so are you. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You are always allowed to feel how you feel

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I would never survive it. Rewritten: I haven't experienced your pain, so I can only imagine what it feels like. I am here for you though, if you ever want to talk about your experience or your child. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I would never survive it

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: He/She is with you in spirit. Rewritten: It must be so hard that he isn't physically here with you. What do you think he might be doing today if he were? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

He/She is with you in spirit

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: It wasn't your fault. Rewritten: I understand emotions can be complicated, and I'm never going to tell you how you should feel. I am here though, if you ever want to talk about things. I will always be an ear to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It wasn’t your fault

What doesn't kill you... ...Still hurts like a bitch. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

What doesn’t kill you…Still hurts like a bitch

Notes for the Bereaved -  You don't have to be brave. Bravery is ALWAYS a choice. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You don’t have to be brave

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. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Grief isn’t always overwhelming

Feelings are always valid, Even when they aren’t rational; Even when they are "negative"; Even when other people wish you felt differently.  Feelings are always valid.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Feelings are ALWAYS valid

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I know how you feel… Rewritten: I don't know how you feel, but I'm here to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I know how you feel

Time doesn't "heal" anything, not by itself.  Medical care and self-care can be healing, if desired. Time is only a measure of the length of the process. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Time doesn’t heal anything, not by itself

Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth.

Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: He/She wouldn't want you to be sad. Rewritten: It's understandable that you are sad. He is gone and he shouldn't be. It makes sense that you will grieve as long as you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

He/She wouldn’t want you to be sad

I deserve enthusiastic support, both in life and in grief. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I Deserve Enthusiastic Support Both in Life and Grief

Notes for the Support Team -  Pregnancy after loss is one of the most beautifully life-affirming and also simultaneously terrifying events your loved ones can experience.  If your loved one has shared this news with you, it is likely because they trust you. Be worthy of that trust. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Mirror Reality in Pregnancy After Loss

You are under no obligation to be healed—Not today, and not at any point in the future. It is always always ALWAYS okay not to be okay. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You are under no obligation to be healed

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