7.21.2015

why i talk about stillbirth

I talk about stillbirth not because I'm stuck in some sort of fog where life is passing me by and I'm forgetting to live. I talk about stillbirth not because I want to make someone uncomfortable, though I'm slowly realizing that is inevitable. I talk about stillbirth not because I enjoy feeling like Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club which is basically how others treat you if you dare mention your dead child in conversation. I talk about stillbirth not because I want to be the source of everyone's pity, the one everyone looks at with sad eyes and the one whose Facebook statuses are met with :( emojis. I talk about stillbirth not because I enjoy being the one who is constantly told "you made me cry" whenever I mention my child who passed. I talk about stillbirth not because I enjoy being told to "appreciate the child I have," which is basically the worst insult someone could give me (no, really, cut off my arm next time, it would hurt a lot less).

I talk about stillbirth because someone has to. I talk about stillbirth because it happens and someone has to train the masses to deal with the unthinkable. I talk about it so that one day people will realize that you're not running for the razors simply because you remembered a pregnancy craving or the way childbirth felt. I talk about stillbirth because one day, someone will know someone who loses a baby and they'll be able to react in a way that leaves a grieving parent feeling comforted rather than ostracized. I talk about stillbirth because my pregnancy happened, Wylie's birth happened and there's no shame in either of those things. I talk about stillbirth because there are still women who will e-mail me and say "I lost my child at birth and was too shameful to hold her or name her or remember her even on her birthday" and that's not okay.

I talk about stillbirth because it is an abnormal, wrongful tragedy that happens in a modern day society more than anyone likes to or wants to believe it does and, like all things that are sad and tragic, it has a layer of shame across the top. I talk about stillbirth because I want to peel the layer off. I talk about stillbirth because I want people to know that while it is devastatingly sad that I have a daughter I will never be able to raise or see again, I am so happy to be her mother (and, no, I don't wish your baby was my own). I talk about stillbirth because I want people to know that "you make me appreciate having healthy children" isn't a nice thing to say, either. Piggybacking off of someone's tragedy isn't helpful and I talk about stillbirth so that people know that mentioning Wylie without wide, panicked eyes or a prefaced statement about their own sadness and discomfort feels like a really warm hug.

I talk about stillbirth because I want people to understand that I can love both of my children even if one is dead and I want them to realize that it doesn't change how I parent. I talk about stillbirth so people can see how someone can live their life for their children, the one who is here and the one who isn't. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I'm going to do it because my kids have one pretty awesome mom, if I don't say so myself.

I talk about stillbirth because nothing in life should carry such a stigma, especially not something that no one is at fault for. I talk about stillbirth because we, as a society, have a long way to go until we get it right and, well, if Wylie's legacy can change the world in that way, I'm gladly along for the ride.

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