Yep, I'm doing it. I'm spending days and nights reading through newspaper articles that mention stillbirth for my research project.
Why? To find out how stillbirth is represented in the news media.
I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the number of good reports out there on care and compassion needed by the bereaved parents and how to give it best.
I'm also appalled by reports of hospitals "losing" stillborn babies' bodies, leaving parents without closure. Sadly, those reports fail to mention the psychological trauma added to the already grief stricken parents.
And there are times when people refer to stillborn babies as "unborn" or "fetus." In the dictionary, fetus means "before birth" and unborn means "prenatal development stage." So why are children that have been born still called that? Do they stop being children with their last heartbeat in the womb?
As a parent, when your child doesn't take a first breath and goes to the morgue with a nurse, instead of home with mom and dad, you need all the help you can get to get through the pain of loss. Please don't underestimate the intensity of this event.
For many months of my pregnancy we have dreamed about spending the rest of our lives with our baby, sang to her, played her jazz and The Beatles, read to her. After she was born we only got 5.5 hours to spend with her. And another hour shaperoning her to the Children's Hospital for her autopsy. And another hour before we buried her. Followed by a lifetime without her. Amelia's life, no matter how short, is very important to us.
And we are not alone in this. Every stillborn parent I've met, in person and online, struggles with the lack of acknowledgement of their stillborn child. As if their child lost meaning since he or she didn't live outside the womb. Why? This same child was so important before...