While I was pregnant I read lots and lots of preggo blogs. I had no idea what was happening to my body and LORD, people don’t tell you 80% of what pregnancy involves. They wait until AFTER you are pregnant to start droppin’ bombs. No one told me I’d want to sleep 23 hours a day or that I would be horribly crabby if you dared to wake me up. No one told me about discharge or weird smells or what Braxton Hicks would feel like.
I would see comments about miscarriages or death of a baby and I would feel sad for those women. Those women who weren’t as healthy as me. Those women who didn’t take care of themselves like I did. Those women who must have done something to not have a perfectly healthy baby. I believed that I was doing things the right way and when you do things the right way, the right outcome happens.
Then my son was born crazy premature and he died 30 days later.
I am one of THOSE women.
And it is so hard to bear that I didn’t do anything wrong. That I couldn’t have stopped it.
So now, as I look back at those same preggo websites, it seems like there is a glaring void to me. Here are communities that pregnant women flock to to read and absorb what the heck is happening and then, if something goes wrong, they kind of get booted from the community that they belonged to just moments before.
Within the Parenting blogs, there are subdivisions. There are pregnancy blogs. There are baby blogs. There are toddler blogs. There are health and nutrition blogs and celebutants and baby names and will-your-baby-be-president blogs, but the community ends if or when babies die. If that happens to a set of parents, they have to start over within a new internet community. At the time in their lives when community means the most, quite often they have to go somewhere else to speak freely on their pain.
If life is about birth and death, but we only praise one side of the equation… doesn’t that mean we have less appreciation for both?
We had over 400 people following our son’s story as it unfolded online over 25 days. We had cards come in from people we had never met. Notes from people who related to our situation. A supportive community grew around us and you can bet the house that it was easier to go through because of the people who showed up, delivered meals and sat with us in the silence that follows death.
I hope that the online parenting magazines set up a corner of the interwebs for grieving parents. We need space right next to happy parents to work through our sorrow, to make plans for the future… We want to talk about our sweet babies too and often in real life, people stop asking how we’re doing after a month or two. We don’t feel whole or normal after 2 months. We want to say our children’s names. We want to remember and honor their faces. And we want to find other people who relate to that need. Online parenting magazines are a perfectly naturally place to find that support. The comments within the articles reflect that. It would be a beautiful, loving gesture to embrace the parents who have lost children and provide tools for healing…
- Online support for parents after pregnancy losses (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope (Putting A Face on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss)
- Compassionate Friends (Supporting Family After A Child Dies)