I was sharing some pictures with my husband tonight from my Stillbirthday Bereavement Doula Training. We have a group on Facebook that is comprised of many of the doulas-in-training for this particular semester. It is a wonderful group of women and I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing and transpiring group.
The other night, the women from the group felt compelled to share the pictures of their stillborn and miscarried baby’s. Those with the weak stomach, would feel very upset to see some of these pictures. They are raw, completed with all the details of their baby’s including the raw emotions the parents experienced at the time of their loss.
I am proud that these mothers were compelled and comfortable enough to share their beautiful baby’s with all of us. It takes a strong person to feel okay with showing some of these graphic pictures. Many people who see them are appalled and some images have been reported and asked to be removed from Facebook (on other pages, not this one).
I shared some of the pictures with my husband. I had to, because I needed to process my emotions from these pictures. While I was in awe at the natural beauty of human creation, I was so saddened to see these babies. My heart ached for the mothers who endured this loss. I have had a first trimester miscarriage (obviously) but I had no “physical baby” to share with anyone.
In fact, I was so scared that I would see my baby, I wasn’t sure how I would react or what I would do if I saw her. Yet, I WANTED to see her. I LONGED to see her.
When I showed my husband, he was upset that someone would share those pictures on Facebook. I told him it was a private group and no one else could see them but us and he felt better. Then I asked him, “If that were our baby, wouldn’t you want to share him?” He said, “Not on Facebook.”
I was a bit curious about his feelings so I waited a little while and I told him, “You know how I have to be supportive and available to hear what about what you see and are involved in (he is a police/SWAT officer)? Well, I need you to be just as supportive and available. What bothers you about those pictures?”
Then he opened up. “It bothers me because those are people’s dead children. It bothers me because it’s painful to see others suffering from the loss of their baby.” Then he continued to talk about a recent funeral he attended. The funeral was for a 10yr old boy who had been made an honorary Aurora Police Officer. It bothered him dramatically. He came home in tears and had tears for several hours following this funeral.
My husband is a musician (we both are) and he frequently plays “Taps” for military and police funerals (because many now use a recording). My husband attended the funeral because he was giving “honors” to this little boy. As he continued to talk, he stated, “I just couldn’t imagine leaving him.” He couldn’t imagine leaving his dead child behind.
As he talked, he began to cry. It was too painful for him to even think about how hard losing a child is. He knows…he lost his only daughter (at that time) to miscarriage. The innocence was lost.
I have talked about this innocence before. Most people live in it. “It’s not going to happen to me.” “It couldn’t happen to me.” “Wow, that happened to my best friend and it was really sad to see but it didn’t happen to me.” Part of that is a coping mechanism but the other part really is the fact that they have never experienced such heartache and loss.
It’s not the same as losing a parent. In fact, we expect to lose our parents. It’s inevitable. We plan for their funerals, talk about their wills, etc. But, you never “expect” your child to die. You never plan for your child’s funeral (obviously there are some exceptions to this). We aren’t made to do this really. It’s not the “natural order” of things.
So here I was, sharing with my husband and processing my own emotions, and I see him well up with tears and emotions because he knows what it’s like to suffer a loss. Not their loss, but his own. He wasn’t upset at all at the graphic nature of the pictures, or really the fact that they were posted on Facebook. He was upset because these parents suffered through the death of their child. No matter how early it was. He knew it hurt.