May 15, 2010

Be not afraid of gentle words, but don't forget the hard ones

Finally, a "Blog This" challenge I can properly participate in! This week's challenge is to

"...shout out your cause, your gripe, your mission. Get on your soapbox and talk about something that really matters to you. Something you think about but perhaps don't talk about. Start a conversation, be heard!"

And that's what I intend to do. Guess what my chosen theme is?

Stillbirth.
  • Something that's important to me? Check.
  • Something I think about but don't often talk about (in real life)? Check.
  • Something that should be talked about? Check, check, checkity check check!
I know many followers of my blog are babylost mummas too, so I'm preaching to the converted (love that phrase, don't get to say it often enough...) but stillbirth is not talked about as often as it should be. Of course not, no-one wants to consider that babies die. People grow old, and then they die! Don't they?

...but no. Babies do die. My baby died. Maybe yours did too. Maybe someone close to you had a baby die. Maybe you don't even know about it. Ask your mother, maybe she had a miscarriage before you were conceived. (well, no, probably not a good idea to actually do that, but you see my point.)

How many people out there are afraid of the word "cancer"?

Before I was roughly shoved into the darkness of baby loss, "stillbirth" was almost a dirty word to me. I couldn't hear it without feeling sick. Yeah, I knew some women online who had had "one of them" but I couldn't stand the word. It's still hard for me to say now, because it sounds so... yucky. There's a line the movie Jawbreaker - "eww, you got a stillborn..." by this weirdo goth chick (I'm using words to describe how she was meant to come across) about one of the characters breaking an egg into a bowl and seeing that it was full of blood. I could never listen to that line. Stillborn? Yuck. What a disgusting word. But now, one that fills my entire life. Stillborn. Stillbirth. Life for me.

Last night I had a very awkward phone conversation. In January I won a free PIXI photo session for when my baby arrived. I told them I was due at the end of April, and to give me a call back around then. And I promptly forgot about it. Well, last night they called. Young girl, maybe around my age, probably a little younger. When she said where she was calling from, I let out one of those "Ah."s. The "Ah." meaning "please don't continue talking, the situation's different now and you're making it worse for yourself."

But she kept talking. She didn't hear my "Ah." so she continued with asking me when I wanted to schedule my baby in to have professional photos taken. So I had to tell her. I tried to use "gentle" words, I didn't use the words "stillbirth" or "dead," I merely said that he wasn't born alive. She pretty much broke down crying right there on the phone. I was comforting her, saying that it was okay, I've kinda gotten used to it now, etc. I even told her that I felt horrible for having to tell her. She cleared her throat a few times and told me that she'd never told anyone else this, but her mum actually had a stillbirth when she was a little girl. My heart went out to this poor girl, thinking she was just going to be booking a photo session with another cute little baby, but ending up spilling one of her greatest secrets.

I suppose that's what I'm getting at. It shouldn't be a secret. We should be talking about stillbirth, but no-one wants to hear the words "dead baby" or even "stillbirth" or "stillborn." But "not born alive," that's something we can all say. "Died before birth" is another we could use. Then maybe we can build up to those heavier words. I'm slowly making it there myself, I can now only imagine what it's like for someone who hasn't been through this. I'll make a promise to you today, readers. Next time I introduce myself to someone new, it will be like this:

"Hello, my name is Tenielle, and my son was stillborn. I have a dead baby."

"Would you like to see a photo of him?"
I might get some strange looks, but I'm going to do it. Because the fact of the matter is, stillbirth does happen. And we should all be talking about it.

ETA: I did it! Someone asked me if I was trying for a baby, and I said "yes, I had a stillborn boy in February, and we're trying for another." I'm so proud of myself.

10 comments:

  1. Tenielle, I just want to tell you how brave I think you are. You dont know me, and everytime you post a blog, I read it silently, sometimes I cry (most of the time actually). I always want to post something back to you- but never quite have the words... I was very lucky, my son was born on Dec 29 2009, and everytime I read your blog, it makes me so much more grateful to have him. I believe that your little angel is smiling down on you, and helping you get through the days. Some children are just too beautiful for this world. Little Ianto loves his Mummy and he will always be with you. I wish you all the best for your future :)

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  2. Proud of you girl! Honour your Motherhood to your Sweet boy, even if it means other people feel uncomfortable x

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  3. What a brave post, and what a beautiful and precious little boy.

    I also have photos of my baby son that I delivered at 16weeks, but I've never showed others because I feared they would think him strange and ugly, when to me, he was absolutely perfect.

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  4. I just found your blog on blog this. WOW!! So brave, so honest. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I found your blog through the Blog This! challenge - bless your heart for having the courage to own a blog like this. I say " own " instead of " write " because thats what your doing - your owning what happened to you and your baby,not running from it. I had my first baby in December and i admit that i was terrified that i could possibly have a still born. My wish today is for the luck that smiled on me to smile on someone like you also...

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  6. Thank you for all your comments, it's nice to know that people care :)

    I admit this post isn't well-written, I wrote it all in one hit and didn't change anything (except a couple of spelling/formatting mistakes and adding a little to the end)- but I like it.

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  7. I couldn't agree more that these subjects need to come out of the closet.

    I didn't know anything about miscarriage or stillbirth or anything really until it happened to me, and when i talk about it, it is almost like it opens a door for people, like your little pixie photo girl, to share their story.

    A wonderful post. Expect my vote.

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  8. I also found you through the Blog This challenge, and I'm in awe of this post. Thankyou for sharing so honestly and openly.
    Your little boy is beautiful and I love the hands and feet photos you've used.
    I'm going to read through your back-posts now, getting the tissues handy.

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  9. I am 27 weeks pregnant. All I want is to bring my daughter safely and healthily into the world. Stillbirth is the most heartbreaking thing I can imagine happening to anyone, and well done to you for wanting to encourage discussion about it, through your own experience. There is not nearly enough attention paid to stillbirth, considering the rate at which it happens to thousands of families each year. Please accept my sincerest sympathies for the loss of your little boy and although he will never be replaced... I do pray you will be blessed with a healthy baby soon.

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  10. I had a stillbirth at 38 weeks, as you said, my baby was perfect too. I got up today and the first thought when I opened my eyes was about my son. I know one thing for sure, just before I take my last breath I will think of him.

    I wish you the best.

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Thank you for reading!