Friday, September 12, 2008

Babies Born "Asleep"

Since giving birth to a stillborn beautiful baby boy (Gabriel) 4 weeks ago who was only 21 weeks gestation; I am still just "going through the motions" in a kind of auto-pilot in life, and to be honest, I am wondering if the intensity of pain that I am feeling is ever going to subside with time!

The best way that I know how to start the healing process, is to keep Gabriel alive in my own way - by honouring him in little ways like creating this blog in memory of him.

What has really become apparent to me since the dark day this occurred, is that where I really thought that I had a small appreciation of what it must feel like when a mother and father lose their baby to either miscarriage, stillbirth or cot-death; I didn't even have one iota of an idea. How could I? I now ask myself "Was I one of those well-meaning" people who, in attempting to comfort theparents suffering the loss of their baby, said things like " horrible as this is, imagine how much worse it would be if you were in an even later stage of pregnancy - like at 37 weeks when your baby would've been bigger"? OR " had a imagine if you had needed to actually deliver the baby, going through the entire labour"? and even
" know, they say that when a baby/fetus doesn't survive the pregnancy/birth, that there was probably a very good reason why they didn't live for example, a severe disability..." Most common has been the old "You just need to jump straight back in, and have another child immediately..." comment.

Now, I don't know about all of you reading this, but these sort of idiotic (sorry, but yes, idiotic!), unthought-out comments can often inadvertently do more damage to the emotional state of the parents on the receiving end of such well-meaning advice-givers!

Look, I do realise that it is extremely difficult to know what to say to someone who has lost their baby, regardless of how, and at what gestational age the baby passed away. However, I urge friends, family and co-workers of such distraught parents to stop...rethink your words, and contemplate for a moment that such comments are not only remarkably insensitive because of their ability to uknowingly almost "minimize" the death and loss of the child and it's impact on the parents; but also because, it is safe to assume that those that are making such comments, have almost never actually experienced such a paralysing, heart-breaking and emotionally broken feeling like that experienced by the parents of those babies that are lost.

For all of you out there who have a friend or family member who has experienced this type of loss; none of the above comments are helpful, and I know that what I have needed from those that are attempting to comfort me, is to simply "be" with me. I don't need or want their advice on why the death of my angel was justifiable, nor do I want to hear how much worse it could've been. You see, IT DOESN'T GET ANY WORSE!

So let's hug, pray for and just "be" there for those that have lost, and help them (when and if they are are ready) to honour their baby's life, and not to instead try and "help" them to forget.

Although there is a time for everything - including a time to share your story of losing your own child with a newly-grieving parent who may show interest and empathy to hear about your own story...let's not share it IF the intention is to make those newly grieving parents almost feel "grateful" for how things turned out - because to a mother, no matter whether she loses her fetus/baby at 1 month, 3 months, 18 weeks or 37 weeks - her baby's life was worth everything to her, and to her, she will always wonder what could've been.

All life that is lost, was a life that was worth living!