Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Article on Stillbirth from the NY Times

Mainstream press about stillbirth is always a welcome surprise, and though I'm a bit late to pointing this out, the NY Times published a piece about stillbirth on August 15th. I'm happy to see it, though I have to take issue with some of the language used, like this paragraph:

"It often is a devastating experience. “As soon as they learn they are pregnant, most women consider their unborn baby their child, and for many a stillbirth is like the death of a child,” said Dr. Robert Goldenberg, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Drexel University College of Medicine."

It isn't often a devastating experience, it is a devastating experience. And a stillbirth is not "like" the death of a child, it is the death of a child! My son was full-term, full-size, perfect and ready to go home, except that he was dead. He was a perfect child who happened to die three days before he was due.

While this article is welcome and necessary, we still, as a society, need to work on the language we use to describe stillbirth. But maybe we are starting to get there.

4 comments:

Hope's Mama said...

Ack, this is horribly clumsy - and coming from an obstetrician makes it so much worse. I also hate how our babies are often referred to as "stillborns". No, they are babies. Our babies. Yes they WERE stillborn or yes we did go through A stillbirth, but they were not stillborns. She is my daughter. He death WAS and still IS devastating.
Still, I guess some press is better than none.
xo

Virginia said...

Hope's Mama, it is horribly clumsy, a terribly poor choice of words. Surprising and yet not--little about this topic surprises me anymore, how it is handled by others (or not handled). But I do think people are becoming more aware--not fast enough, I know.

MuMuGB said...

Hello again Virginia! I lost a baby at the early stage of my pregnancy in 2004 -I was 10 weeks pregnant. It was difficult. I can't imagine what you must have been through with a full-term pregnancy. I thought that I could share a poem I wrote at the time. Hugs from London.

To my unborn baby
Whom I'll never know
My star My angel
Where did you go?
Who decides and why?
I couldn't even fight
And make you come back
I'm left here alone
With a dark secret
And my lost love
Let's hope that one day
I will be in peace
Able to accept
Able to forgive
And be more human

Virginia said...

Muriel, thank you for sharing--the poem is beautiful.