Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crossing the lines

There are so many lines drawn in baby loss. I'm not even sure who draws them, society, I suppose. I guess that's another reason I write, maybe I'm trying desperately to cross the lines or even do my part in making them disappear.

You lost the baby? Lost it? where did it go? These words always feel strange coming out of my mouth. There is a line that is drawn here based on how far along the mother was. Miscarriage is defined as the natural end of pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. To me, the natural end of pregnancy would having a baby, you know, the kind that cries, coos, and is alive.

I always find it necessary to correct someone who tells me I've had a miscarriage. It's not because I don't think a miscarriage is painful or tragic but it's because I want others to be educated on the difference. Stillbirth, is what happens when the baby dies after 20 weeks. Here is where things get fuzzy to me. Why is there a line drawn here? I know the medical reason is because if the baby were born at 20 weeks, alive, their chance of survival is, well, not good at all but ask the mother who is holding her 20 week baby for the first and last time where she thinks the line should be drawn. And others find it very necessary to point out that the person they know who has lost a baby was....FULL TERM. My goodness, well, that makes it soooo much harder than a 30 week loss. Right?. Each loss is very painful, no matter the gestational age. Each loss is different and the same in many ways too. We are all still mothers with empty arms when it comes down to it.

Here is another line that confuses me. Why is it okay to talk about your baby's future when they are still in the womb and not okay to acknowledge he would of had a future when he dies. You know what I mean, Everyone wants to play matchmaker. Marry him off to their sister's husband's cousin's little girl. Awe, they could get married. What are you naming him/her?, they will ask you before you have even found out the sex(most of the time before 20 weeks gestation, mind you).

Lets face it, everyone has an opinion when your pregnant. You look small, you look huge, He is going to be such a big boy! They want to know details. Are you sick? Are you wearing maternity clothes? Will you breastfeed?... But sadly, when he is born still, everyone wants to forget he existed. His future is gone so now what? Bury his memory along with him and act like he never happened? No, that's a line I dare to cross and will continue to as long as I live.

The birth story. I was reminded by another baby loss mom how difficult it was to get people to realize that Brody was birthed. Yep, that's right folks, I gave birth. I was in labor, I pushed, I had a baby. I heard everything from "I don't know how you did that" to "How could they make you do that?".

I was so fearful of those moments. At eight weeks, I cried, I was so scared to deliver him. Lets be honest, I'm not great with pain. I just kept reminding myself that millions of other moms did it before me, without medication even...and they survived, so I could too. I had even had day dreams of doing it all naturally. I wish I could be that strong, I thought to myself.

Anyway, back to the line. I stood once, in a circle of women, talking about their birth stories of their children and grandchildren. Stories of pain, stories of complete and utter joy, stories of how their little angels came into this world. No one asked about my story and when I would mention a small detail, no one looked my way. I guess in their eyes, my story put their "horror story" to shame. Maybe to them, birthing MY angel seemed like, not a birth? Maybe their stitches and screaming were somehow overshadowed by the fact that my son never cried or by the fact that when the nurse came in to take him away, she never brought him back. It's not like that for me though. Even though my story is very different, it is still my birth story. My son had a birthday: August 21st 2011

So what makes it acceptable to be able to talk about all your relatives that have passed but unacceptable to talk about your baby that has passed? I have my own opinions on the reason, which I will keep to myself.

I got an email from a woman the other day, requesting that I put her baby's name on shell for the release. Hers and a friend of hers. They were both miscarriages. She then began to tell me how they both had to grieve in silence. I felt sad for her. Why has society made it so that we can announce we are pregnant, throw baby showers, name our babies, talk about their future, but when the baby dies, we have to be very hush hush about it?

I had a family member tell me after Brody died that he was explaining to a coworker what happened to us. He told him there was a death in his family. Whenever he asked further questions, the man responded by saying, Oh, well, it wasn't really a baby yet. Yes, I was tempted to take Brody's picture to him and ask him "If he wasn't a baby, then what exactly, was he?" I didn't, but I wish I had. But, would that be crossing a whole different kind of line?

Oh, on another note, I'm trying very hard to get the spoken word video posted before I leave for Florida. I've only recorded myself half a dozen times so hopefully soon. :)


  1. Perfect Tia...absolute truth to this entire post. Also, if you would not mind I would love for you to add our miscarried baby to the shells along with Ellersley. If you would be so kind. He or she was miscarried on March 29th, 2012 and baby Deem is fine. Thank you so much and I think about you and your family all the time...


  2. Hi Tia I love this post!!!! I have visited you before but I do not know if I commented. I am having a weekly link up to connect grieving mommies I would love if you joined us. I say (lost) quite often because I hate saying died I try to remember to say Jonathan went to heaven. I love what you said about showing that guy the photo....people are so rude I would like to carry around a photo of Jonathan just to say here he is he was real and I really loved him! HUgs

  3. Hey Tia, just thinking about you today and hoping all is well in your world! Miss your updates! I will be praying for you and thinking of you this Mother's Day...I hope it's a wonderful day for you.