Guest post by VAR
I work in a hospital setting where I don’t usually see the same clients over and over.
Today a client who I had seen several months ago was there and asked if I had had my baby. I answered “I did!” Not letting on that anything was wrong. But she asked if it had been 9 months already and I said “not quite,” so she inquired further. I told her “my baby died before he was born.”
And she felt bad for asking, awkward and tearful, and everyone around sort of cleared the room. She felt bad for asking. I stayed with her to talk. “I’m glad you asked,” I said. “One of my favorite memories is you guys messing with me about being pregnant.”
“It’s always nice when people remember him,” I continued. I knew she wouldn’t have felt bad if he were alive. “I’m so sorry I feel awful,” she said. “There’s no need,” I explained. “Hard things happen to all of us. It’s ok.”
And when we were done, I went to the office and cried. Because I miss that precious little baby boy. Because I love him. I love him so so much.
And because I hate that it’s taboo, I hate that people are uncomfortable when you discuss your baby who died. And then you’re left feeling bad for making someone uncomfortable…
25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. 26,000 babies are still born in the US each year!!! It’s only about 1% of pregnancies, but that’s a whole lot of babies, and grieving families.
Cry with me. Laugh with me. Tell me your favorite memory of me being pregnant. Tell me about your baby, and how he/she moves and grows or was born and keeps you up all night.
Babies die. My baby died. It’s a fact. It’s a shallow, it’s a hole, it’s a void, I live with every single breath of my existence. Let me tell you about the cute onesie I had picked out for him. Let me tell you how precious and cute he was. How he looked like a little old man because he hadn’t fattened up yet. Let me tell you about his perfect little hook nose, and his head of hair.
Let me tell you the hard parts too. Like how scared I was but I didn’t show it. Or how I cried so much and so hard that my eyes could barely open. Let me tell you how I sung his praises and loved him so while I wiped a drop of blood coming from his mouth. Let me tell you how on the last day, I wanted to hold him forever, but my cue to put him down was that my arm was getting cold from the ice that was hidden under his blanket to keep his body cooled.
Please. Let’s talk about it. Maybe if we do, it helps with the healing. Maybe if we do, one day we can proudly show our pictures of our deceased babies like you do of your living ones. Maybe, if we break the silence, we break the stigma. My son DIED (and I mourn that) but he also LIVED (let me rejoice in that)!
Edward Alexander was stillborn on 26 April 2020. He is survived by his parents and proud big sisters. You can follow VAR on Instagram at @vivnzac.