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.