Get Your (Toxic) Positivity Out Of Here
By: Lindsey Dell
Ok, ok, ok. I know that sounds rude, but just hear me out, ok? We all have that one friend, coworker, family member, mentor, what-have-you that always wants you to “look on the bright side.” You know exactly who I mean. The “glass is always full” person. And honestly, we all need to have someone like that in our lives. We all have our ups and downs and often times it’s that person who can help pull us out of the trenches when we can’t do it ourselves. These people are absolutely necessary to help balance us out (especially if you’re like me and tend to trend toward the negative).
But not everything in life needs to be balanced. If you’re reading this, then it’s very likely that either you, or someone you’re close to has experienced the traumatic loss of a child. I dare you to try to find the positive in that. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
It’s impossible. And it should be. There is literally no light at the end of the tunnel. No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or whatever else you want to call it. It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t have to. Life isn’t like that.
Do you remember when you were in school, and you learned in science class that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” (or something along those lines)? I disagree. In life, there is death. Opposite? Yes. Equal? Not at all.
Often times when we’re grieving, we are reminded to be grateful for the things we DO still have. That’s where the “toxic positivity” usually makes an appearance. “Well, at least….” Once you’ve said “at least,” you can stop talking. I’m no longer interested in what you have to say. Harsh? Maybe. But that’s the reality. There is no “at least” when it comes to the death of my baby. “At least you know you can get pregnant.” Yes. I did get pregnant. Twice, in fact. I still have ZERO living children.
I do believe that there are times when a positive mindset is absolutely the way to go. I know walking through life with a dark cloud around your head is not going to bring much joy to you, or anyone around you. I know that generally, people with a positive mindset tend to work hard and achieve the things they want in life. And I do think you can “fake it ‘til you make it,” so to speak. If you’re not feeling super positive, apparently you can pretend that you are and it will actually MAKE you more positive. This is a real thing.
But you cannot “positive” your way to a pregnancy. You can’t just manifest enough positive energy to get pregnant, no matter how bad you want it. Trust me. I tried. In addition to all of the fertility treatments, I tried as hard as I could to remove every single negative thought from my brain. I really, truly did. There is not enough “good juju” in the world that could have saved my precious baby from dying. That’s not how the world works. Because if it did, we had enough people praying for us that I would have had more children than Nick Cannon (sometimes you have to have a sense of humor).
I say all of this to say, don’t feel bad if your mind takes a dive into the negative sometimes. You can’t always turn lemons into lemonade. There is nothing happy, positive, or wonderful about losing a child or struggling with fertility. I will never see anything positive about it, and that’s fine. You don’t have to pretend to be happy and you don’t have to put on a smile just to fake it. Allow yourself to be happy IF you are truly feeling happy. And allow yourself to scream every four-letter word you know if that’s how you’re feeling.
If I’ve learned anything in the three years since we’ve lost our baby, it’s that there is a time and a place for positivity. Sometimes we don’t want to look on the bright side. Sometimes we want to just be in the depths of our grief and not feel like we’re dragging anyone down with us. Other times we do want to grab the hand that’s extended to us so we don’t drown. It’s a matter of surrounding yourself with the right people. The people who can read you like a book and know when to let the sunshine on you, let the rain fall on you, or hold your umbrella over you.
About Lindsey Dell
Lindsey is a mother to 2 angel babies. She lives in Cottleville, MO with her husband Nathan and their 3-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Louie. They are still hopeful that they will have their rainbow baby one day.
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