June is an intense month for me, because each June, I relive these memories. Each June, I remember what it’s like to go into the hospital for a routine examination and be told my child has no heartbeat.
Planning the funeral for a baby who died before, during, or shortly after birth is a difficult process. Not only because the death of any child is heartbreaking, but also because logistically, the typical funeral service isn’t geared towards honoring the briefest of lives. This post is a comprehensive list of choices and options in planning a funeral for your infant child.
When I was planning Adrian’s Funeral, I found very few resources for planning the funeral of a child. As a companion to the post on “Planning a Funeral for Your Infant Child,” and in conjunction with other bereaved parents, I am providing sample funeral documents below.
Grief is awkward, and so when we encounter someone in grief, we often feel the need to say something — anything at all — just to fill the void. These things are almost always said with good intentions, and so often grievers are asked to understand these intentions when words fall short. We certainly try.
The shock wears off, and we keep talking. You ask for details, or maybe you don’t. You start thinking. And now you are afraid for your child.
I think the problem with using words like “rare” in place of actual numbers is that it’s a description that renders those numbers abstract. Our brains are so unused to thinking about statistical concepts that we classify these things as either likely, e.g. I’m likely to have a flat tire at some point in my life; or practically impossible, e.g. I will never win the lottery. But we do a really poor job of thinking about all of the possibilities that lie in between.
Almost three years ago, we both were pregnant. I didn’t realize at the time how closely we aligned. I think I thought about saying something then, but I didn’t. No excuses this time. And then your son was born, and my son died.
Peanut wasn’t my first pregnancy. She’s the first that a lot of people know about here. She’s the first one to receive a birth certificate, the first to draw breath and scream. I moved shortly before I started trying for her, and most people here didn’t know my history. I think many just assume.
That last line has been tugging at me. It sounds so simple, but it’s really not. And this is why I ultimately decided to respond.
I have heard some people say that stillbirth isn’t preventable. And that’s a hard subject for me, because while some deaths just happen, Adrian’s didn’t have to. There were warning signs, and while they were minor, they shouldn’t have been dismissed.