If the World Understood Baby Loss

November 8, 2013

Grief is hard enough without the additional stress of dealing with a society full of people who don’t understand. Since Samuel died, I’ve dreamed of a world where  babyloss (and the natural grief that follows) were understood. I imagine it would be something like this:

No one would ever feel alone in their heartache because all those facing it would be free to speak openly about their journey.

There would be no such thing as “you’ve gotta be strong”, because everyone would acknowledge the strength it takes just to continue living with a shattered heart.

People would think before they spoke.

The idea that “time heals all wounds” would be known as the lie it is.

No one would ever be told to “get over it” or be asked “don’t you think it’s time to move on?”

People would cry when you say the words “my baby died”.

Nonsense such as “it’s better this way”, “it was meant to be”, “this is part of God’s plan”, or  “everything happens for a reason” would be banned from all conversations regarding the loss of a beautiful little life.

Every hospital would be well-equipped and staff would be educated  and prepared to support a family facing their worst nightmare.

Doctors would cry as they gave you the news, “Your baby will not live” or “there’s no heartbeat”.

The fact that you’ll never be the same again would not be seen as “holding on to the past”. Instead it would be embraced as proof of the value of the life and love that were lost.

When you mention your baby, the response would be “tell me about him”, or “I miss her with you”. It would never be followed by cringing or the changing of subjects.

People would show up with food, Kleenex, helping hands and quiet mouths for months and years on end.

No one would question the snuggling of weighted bears, the creation of sacred spaces/memorials, the wearing of jewelry made of ashes, or the desire to spend hours on end at your baby’s grave.

It would be understood that speaking the baby’s name is the quickest way to bring light to the heart of a hurting parent.

Cards, flowers, and other gifts would show up on your baby’s special days – or simply because you were on the mind of a friend – for the remainder of your life.

Hugs would be offered instead of advice, every single time.

The words “they’re in a better place”, as a means of making the death of a baby seem less horrible that it truly is, would be considered nonsense. Instead, it would be instantly understood that the only place a baby belongs is in the arms of their parents.

Grave sites would be adorned with trinkets, notes, flowers and other gifts of love from people who remember your baby and miss them with you.

Instead of a silence falling when you enter the room, everyone would surround you with hugs, words of encouragement, and unconditional support.

The question, “How many children do you have?” would no longer induce panic and anxiety. Instead it would be the chance to openly and honestly report the true number, regardless of residence here or in heaven.

Everyone would recognize that the love a parent has for their child begins the moment they decide to have children. Not just when the child is born. There is no such thing as “you were only ____ weeks along”.

A loved and wanted life that is cut short would always be missed and never forgotten.

Crying, screaming, ranting, venting and any other form of outward grief would be seen for what it is: the normal and healthy reaction to the lifelong journey of facing a lifetime without the one they were made to love.

Siblings, spouses, or other blessings would not be considered a reason to say “at least you still have ______”.  Nothing and no one can replace who’s missing.

Subsequent pregnancies would not be viewed as the solution to, or resolution of, the grief from the baby who died. It would be seen as the courageous growth of a family that will always be incomplete.

The baby’s name would be uttered without hesitation in normal conversation.

People would understand the courage it takes some days just to get out of bed and face the world. They would also appreciate that some days it’s perfectly acceptable to remind in bed all day long.

Tears would always beget love, understanding and support; Never criticism or embarrassment.

Family gatherings and holidays would always include a sacred time to reflect on the precious life that’s missing.

Things would be done on a regular basis in your baby’s memory to make the world a better place.

The beautiful photos of  treasured babies who died would be doted on and cooed over in the way that all new mothers deserve their babies to be admired.

It would be understood that nothing in life is worse than the death of a loved and wanted child.

No time limits would be enforced and no pressure to “get back to normal” would ever be incited.

Most of all, the families who are forever changed would feel loved, supported and heard. Their beautiful babies would be forever loved and forever missed.

different place

The list could go on and on…How would your journey be different if people understood grief?

  • RaeAnne Fredrickson

    RaeAnne Fredrickson is mother to Samuel Evan. She and her husband made the decision to carry him to birth, after receiving a fatal diagnosis early in pregnancy. You can read their story on her blog, The Love We Carry She created All That Love Can Do to support and encourage other families who make the decision to continue pregnancy after receiving a fatal diagnosis.Find them on Facebook. She is also the co-creator of Still Standing Magazine's sister site, Still Mothers. They offer support to families who are living childless after loss. Find them on Facebook. and learn more about the many support groups they offer for mothers, fathers, and grandparents: Still Mothers Support.

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