One of the things that bothers me when I share any part of Adrian’s story is this undercurrent of, “But this is so RARE. This would never happen to ME.” Here is why that attitude is dangerous
I honestly thought the chances of stillbirth were 1 in a million, not 1 in 160
I think back to the times I heard the common saying, “Babies come when they’re ready.”
I was educated and I felt informed, and somehow this statement slipped through my radar, but it’s not true.
10% of all babies are born prematurely. And worse than that, 0.6% are born dead. MY son was born dead.
I was educated & open to new information, & I thought I knew everything…And then the nightmare that is stillbirth rose up & broke me. Despite my curiosity, I was hit by the fact that NO ONE in my world had thought to tell me that stillbirth was SO VERY COMMON. 1 in 160. It’s a freaking emergency.
Dear Prenatal Provider—Please educate your patients about stillbirth. We deserve to know the facts in order to be best prepared during our pregnancies.
Going overdue in pregnancy is common, but few are aware of the risks. I refused a recommended term induction when I was pregnant with my son, and he died.
At current rates of 1 in 160 pregnancies, stillbirth is NOT rare. The fact is, you already personally know at least one person in your life who has experienced stillbirth. You likely know many.
Now imagine I took this example of reckless behavior and used it to justify drinking and driving? Imagine I said that because I did it and I was fine, then of course it must be okay for others to try. This is called survivor’s bias.
There is a subconscious, and in some places, even overt “war” going on between midwives and physicians, and it really needs to stop. I truly believe if either set of my providers had swallowed their pride and explained that sometimes, neither nature nor medicine are completely perfect, then my son would be alive today.
When we talk about things like stillbirth, some are quick to say it’s not concern because it is relatively “rare.” But likelihood does not change impact.
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.
Dear Natural Childbirth Educator, I always considered myself part of the natural community, and this is why I followed you. I read the traditional books, but your words were more comforting. I only wish you would have talked about stillbirth, because until it happened to me, I had no idea.
1 in 160. That’s the rate of stillbirth in America today. Other countries may be higher or lower, but most hover around similar points. 1 in 160. Less than 1%. Sometimes called “rare.” It’s interesting how we define “rare.”
There really never is an appropriate time to talk about tragedy. There really never is a time when the innocent are ready to listen. And that’s sad, and it’s also wrong. Because death isn’t the thing that only happens to other people. Tragedy isn’t the thing you can ignore and it won’t hurt you.