Wildflowers in South Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)
Wildflowers in South Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

There But for Grace

Miranda's Blog

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I’m freaking annoyed right now. I just came from the page of a medical practitioner I typically respect. She talks a lot about safe pregnancy and provides education on things like why home birth isn’t safe. And I agree with these things. If I had known more during my pregnancy with my son, he wouldn’t have died. And I am personally committed to sharing information to prevent these kinds of deaths for other families. But the post I read today was hurtful.

The current state of the world is scary, and many people are turning to home birth to avoid the risk of the virus in hospitals. And again, home birth can be dangerous. I think it’s important to acknowledge that. But the gist of this doctor’s post today was to criticize a celebrity who recently lost her child during a home birth; to call her an idiot. And that’s what’s hard for me. Is it because I was an idiot? Maybe; at least partly. But I also wonder sometimes–what if I had been a celebrity? What if all of my choices were on public display, and people were calling me a murderer and a monster?

I remember those early days of grief, the days when I lived in a fog and it often took hours to compose a single sentence. I remember when life was confusing. (It’s still confusing). I remember when I continued writing letters to my son, talking about all of the things I had imagined for him; the fantasy of how I had planned for our labor to go.

Grief is f****** hard. The shock of it; trauma. My baby died, and sometimes I still want to tell the world to go to hell. And other people process differently.

This mother wrote some words in a private Facebook group for loss parents. She shared her story, and she talked about thinking about future pregnancies. And although this group was private, someone screen-shotted everything and shared it with the world, and I am so f****** angry. And now this poor woman is being judged when her son’s body is barely even cold. Judged by the public, and also by a public medical professional. I don’t consider that very professional.

I’ve been annoyed lately, because this isn’t even the first time. There was another mother in the news a while back, a mother whose child died of the flu, and everyone judged her because she didn’t go to the hospital. And of course, it’s important to seek medical care in these situations. I’m not refuting that, or saying that she made the right choice. I’m saying that she did the best she knew how. Her words revealed how much she was worried, and she was begging for advice. I wish that advice had included, “Take your son to the hospital.” I wish she had done so. But I’m not going to blame her, because that’s not how this works.

Nobody ever wakes up in the morning and thinks, “Today is the day I’m going to let my child die.” Maybe psychopaths. Thankfully there aren’t that many.

So yes, I’m really annoyed right now. And I think I’m annoyed most yet by the fact that I can’t even share these thoughts in any public forum. Because people with empathy are being silenced, and I am tired of having to prove that yes, I believe in modern medicine, but no, I will never believe in telling a bereaved parent her loss is her fault. Even if it is. Because how is that helpful?

And why–why why WHY–is it only acceptable to be angry if you support the dominant, parent shaming theme?

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Miranda’s Blog has been featured in Scary Mommy, Pregnancy After Loss Support Magazine, Love What Matters, Up Journey, and Pursue Today. You can also find her on Quora and Medium.

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