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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

All I Need

Some days, all I need is a space to say I miss you.

I miss you, little one. I miss you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What If They Come For Me?

If you live in the States, you've likely seen the news that Bobby Franklin, a House Republican in Georgia, has introduced a bill in that state that would nullify Roe v. Wade and require law enforcement to investigate miscarriages as suspected acts of "prenatal murder."

Because a miscarriage itself isn't traumatic enough.

As wild and outrageous as I think Mr. Franklin's bill is, it makes me wonder: how far might this go? I don't believe this bill will pass (please God) but if it did, what about mothers like me who give birth to a dead baby who appears outwardly normal? What if you are among the 50-60% of parents whose baby is stillborn for reasons unknown?

Will they come for you?

Ben died because of a knot in his umbilical cord, and I was so strangely grateful that I knew why he died. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been to not know the cause of his death. And I can only imagine how very, very much worse it would be if some legislator got the idea that maybe my child's stillbirth was prenatal murder and I needed to be investigated, maybe even charged with murder.

Sound far fetched? Yes, I think so too. But this legislation in Georgia is outrageous enough to make me believe it could happen. Or be considered. As Americans, can we accept this? As bereaved parents?

I can only assume Mr. Franklin has no idea what it means to have a miscarriage. I wonder if he has experienced real loss. I could rant about politics here, but I won't. But I wonder, whatever happened to compassion?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You Don't Get Over Love

Mother Henna's website pointed me in the direction of this video, and it is so powerful for those of us in the land of the babylost, whether we are parents or caring friends and family. "You don't get over love."

No. You don't.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Loss Isn't Science

The New York Times published an article recently, "Why We Write About Grief," a conversation between two authors who have written memoirs about grief: Joyce Carol Oates ("A Widow's Story") and Meghan O'Rourke ("The Long Goodbye") about the death of her mother. Something O'Rourke said about the passage of time in this conversation resonated with me and I thought I'd share it here:
"As for time passing: It’s been two years since my mother died. I — like my entire family, I think — am certainly less in grief’s grips than I was a year ago. But it’s not gone. I’m changed by it, the way a tree is changed by having to grow around an obstacle. Every now and then I see article by journalists or scientists who say studies show grief should pass in “six months” or what have you. But loss isn’t science; it’s a human reckoning."

What those who haven't suffered profound grief have yet to learn is that the anguish doesn't "go away." That those suffering don't "get over it." Grief stays, weaves its way into your DNA and is carried along with you, changing as the days march on, ebbing and flowing like the tides.

There are no absolutes in grief, no timelines, no maps. No day when you are "over it." It is not a malady which can be cured with pills or potions or the passing of days and years. I'd like to live in a world where there is more compassion for the bereaved, more understanding, less trying to hurry through. Less quantification by scientists and therapists and researchers, and more human understanding. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Depression After Stillbirth Can Last Years

Doctors in England and the US recently completed a long-term study on depression in women after the loss of a baby, says an article from the BBC. The study shows that women who lost a baby experienced significant levels of anxiety and depression in subsequent pregnancies, which continued for about three years after the baby's death.

Said Prof. Jean Golding of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, "This study is important to the families of women who have lost a baby, since it is so often assumed that they get over the event quickly, yet as shown here, many do not.

This has implications for the medical profession as well as the woman and her family."

No. We don't get over the "event" quickly. As a matter of fact, we never get over it.