If You Wouldn’t Say It to a ‘Normal’ Mom, Don’t Say It to a Bereaved Mom.

Throughout this post, I’d like for you to imagine saying these things to both types of moms. This list has been on my heart for the past few months and I hope it will be able to help the way we speak about miscarriage, stillbirth, baby, and child loss.

‘Isn’t it time to move on?’

Have you ever been in a conversation with a mom whose child just learned how to walk or talk? It’s a pretty big deal. They’ll show you pictures, videos, and give you the whole back story on the event. Before Jensen I would just start nodding my head, like yes I hear you and I am so glad your son or daughter has hit this milestone. BUT I would never say, ‘isn’t it time to move on from that huge, important moment of your baby’s life?’

Why? Because it’s rude and obviously means a lot to the mother. It’s a proud moment for her baby and her motherhood. You wouldn’t say this to a mom at this time or any time in her child’s life. So, why would someone say this to a bereaved mother? We only had a short amount of time with our babies and will NEVER get anymore. Yes, we play the time we had with them over and over. We’re just as proud as our babies and want to talk about them. It’s not right or fair to tell a mom to ‘get over’ their child.

Calling a baby an ‘it.’

There have been plenty times in my life that I pass by a stroller, see a baby, and don’t know if it’s a boy or girl. I’ll look at the mom and say your baby is so beautiful. More than likely, she’ll let me know if the baby is a boy or girl or give me some type of clues to the baby’s gender. Then we go merrily on our way.

Calling a baby ‘it’ is just inconsiderate. IF you don’t know, ask. I’m telling you they will let you know. When a mom is pregnant and knows what the baby is, she will call the baby by his or her name and use the pronouns she needs to. So what makes it different when the baby dies? Jensen is still a boy and definitely not an ‘it.’ Calling him ‘it’ devalues his life and makes a disconnect to his humanness. Believe me, I know it’s sad he died, but calling him an ‘it’ does not make him any less of a baby. I’m still connected to my son and always will be.

‘You’re not going to get rid of or donate their things?’

Of course moms donate and sell some of their babies clothes after they grow out of them, but I’m sure special ones are kept. Just like certain blankets, toys, and shoes are too. These hold special memories to a mom that they want to be able to show their child when they grow up. Whether this be the going home outfit or their first birthday crown. It’s not weird that a mom does this at all.

If a loss mama decides to keep her child’s belongings, it’s not weird. They’re not ‘holding on’ or ‘stuck in’ the past. It’s a happy memory we have with our babies. This could be from the baby shower or the first outfit we bought. Instead of showing our babies who have passed when they’re older, we can maybe show future children or others who ask about our children. A lot of these ‘things’ hold sentimental value just like it does for a living child.

Whispering a child’s name.

‘How are you doing? You know with… Jensen.’

Imagine hearing your baby’s or any word whispered or mouthed to you. It instantly feels like it’s a bad word. One that needs hidden and shouldn’t cross anyone’s lips. The name is said almost secret like, wondering what it’ll unleash after it’s said.

The truth is moms love to hear their child’s name and be able to talk about them; no matter if they’re alive or dead. A person wouldn’t go to a new mom and whisper their baby’s name, they would say it proud and full of excitement. This isn’t any different for me. Jensen is not a bad part in my life nor does it unleash a huge cloud of darkness. If you want to know about him or see his picture, I’ll show you. It lets me show him off and hear that beautiful name I chose for him.

‘The pictures you post are disturbing.’

I feel like this is self-explanatory, but I know there’s some people they don’t understand this one. This is really close to my heart because I am terrified to share Jensen’s picture with the world due to nasty comments.

No one would ever go on to a mom’s post of their new, day old, sleeping baby and tell them that the picture is disturbing. I have never seen a comment on a baby freshly born and crying, that it’s gross and needs to be taken down. Mostly because the baby is alive and well and because it’s just something you don’t do. So, why is it so difficult not to say anything when a baby who has passed is shared? For stillborn babies, these are the ONLY pictures we’ll ever have. It’s not like I chose not to have any pictures of Jensen alive. Believe me. if I could, I would.

My son, like any other child, is not disturbing to look at. He looks like a sleeping, freshly born baby. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HE IS IN THAT PICTURE. I have had children look at his picture and not know he is dead and they tell me how adorable he looks sleeping. Some people are surprised to see his picture and realize he’s a fully formed, normal looking baby. Knowing these comments are made to a stillborn baby or a baby that has passed is ridiculous. You wouldn’t say it to a ‘normal’ baby, don’t say it about a stillborn one.

‘Well it’s not like you’re attached.’

‘It’s going to be so hard to leave them for the weekend.’

‘Well it’s not like you’re that attached to your baby, it should be fine.’

Nope. You wouldn’t tell that to a new mom going away for the weekend. Honestly, you probably would get slapped in the face if you did. A mom is connected to that baby as soon as she knows she’s pregnant. Those months you’re pregnant, the baby is literally with them at all times. Obviously, right? No one would say this to a new mom or any mom. It shouldn’t be said to a mom whose baby died.

Saying this doesn’t soften the blow. It, again, devalues the life of a baby that is so very loved and wanted. A mom is attached to their child, no matter if they’re here or not.

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From Saying Goodbye.

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15 thoughts on “If You Wouldn’t Say It to a ‘Normal’ Mom, Don’t Say It to a Bereaved Mom.

  1. Thank you for posting this. I have been wanting to see a picture of your Jensen ever since we met. However, I completely respect your decision not to post pictures of him. It’s so unfortunate that others feel that it’s ‘disturbing’ to see pictures of babies after they have died. They are just babies! And for those whose babies are stillborn, those are the only pictures of their babies! Why aren’t proud moms and dads who lost their child afforded the same respect to share them? It’s not right.

    Thank you for doing what you do by writing about the topic surrounding miscarriage, stillbirth, infantloss and grief. You are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree. I don’t understand why comments are made. All babies are so beautiful and it’s sad that moms and dads feel shamed in sharing the only pictures they have. It’s so very hard. I’m getting to a place where I’m feeling more comfortable sharing his picture. Hopefully sometime soon I will. Much love to you, Kara.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this Danielle, it is everything I feel. I talk about my beautiful baby boy Dominic Leo all the time & would shout his name from the rooftops if I had to. He is & always will be a huge part of my life. I love him, I miss him & I wish he was here. So I write about him & help other bereaved parents as best as I can all in his precious memory 👼🏻💙 I am proud of my boy & how he made me a mummy, here on earth or in heaven xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll sing Dominic Leo’s name from the rooftops with you. We’ll always talk about them and continue to share their stories. We will forever be their mamas and do our best to parent them in heaven. Much love to you and continue writing! It helps break this silence around miscarriage, stillbirth, baby, and child loss. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I always love to read your story as is very similar to mine, and express exactly how I feel. I couldn’t put my self on a better way. Is like if your talking about my story/life. It’s beautiful what you writing and very inspiring. Thank you, as for many of us in same situation are unable to express those feelings to the world. Ps.. I don’t what go and share this on my page without asking you first, so I’m asking you permission to share your post. Thank you again from another grieving mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barbara, thank you so much for reading and commenting. Bereaved mamas share similar experiences, which is both heartbreaking and lets us know we’re not alone. Please feel free to share any posts of mine whenever you’d like. I appreciate you asking. Much love to you mama!

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  4. I lost both my babies Andrew & Lisa at birth in the early 70’s. No one ever mentioned them & I was expected to just act like they never happened. They still sit nestled in my heart & always will be. I am thankful that we have moved forward a little but not enough. I f i had photos I would publish them to the world but I never even got to see them. Hugs to you & all who grieve there will never be a time when I don’t grieve for my sweet babies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barbara, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet babies, Andrew and Lisa. They will never ever be forgotten in my heart. I’m thankful for the little strides we have made as a society, but we have huge steps to continue to make. Hugs to you and thank you for sharing your story with me. Hugs!

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    • Daisy, as much as I agree with you, I can only speak from what I know. Jensen’s dad left in September and I don’t hear from the dads perspective. I encourage and would love to hear from a dads point of view, but I only know this loss by being Jensen’s mom.

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  5. Danielle,

    You’re amazing and have advocated and validated so many loss parents. I appreciate you so much. You’re making Jensen so proud. All the love to you.

    Others reading this blog… Jensen’s mom is a single mother. She’s sharing her very complicated and private grief journey with all of us out of the kindness of her heart and the love for her baby boy. Everyone should feel honored for her to share any of this with us, not complain about what she isn’t covering, especially from perspectives she is not familiar with.

    Please go troll somewhere else and leave my dear friend to carry on with what she is doing. Some of us need her to continue.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are amazing person Danielle! Thank you for sharing your story. I feel the EXACT same way every single day. I recently lost my darling baby boy Tyler Michael in December 2016 and it’s been so hard path to follow. Everyday is a task within itself to stay strong. I talk/write about him everyday. He is my pride and joy! Sometimes it’s hard to talk to people who do not fully understand what we are going through. They don’t realize that their comments can be very hurtful. I’ve been told that me posting a picture of Tyler was ” not normal” to put up! Of course this made me very angry and upset. I felt like I was being criticized and scold for putting his picture up. Since then I’ve kept everything private and to myself and to be honest it really hurts.Reading your story gives me the courage to share my story with others as well!

    Thank you again for sharing your story! You will forever be in my prayers!

    Tyler’s Mom

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    • Tyler’s Mom,

      Thank you for sharing a little bit of your and Tyler Michael’s story with me. Child loss is a life changing experience and effects the people around us constantly. I am so glad you’re writing and talking about him everyday, as you should. Our babies are so very important and deserve that. I hope to one day be able to share Jensen pictures and I really wish that when I do he’ll be seen as beautiful as I see him. Keep sharing your story and letting the world know about your son.

      You are an amazing mama! Hugs!

      Like

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