Saturday, June 26, 2010

awkward silences

It's been over two years now since my son's heart stopped beating and my world was torn open. It has become such a part of my every day life that I barely recognise how horrific an occurence stillbirth is, and that not everyone has come to the acceptance of it that I have.

At playgroup the other day someone asked quite innocently of another mum who her OB was, we started discussing it. I mentioned that we went through a different hospital than them because we wanted a specific OB - the head of obstetrics at the major public hospital in our city. I rambled on abut how great he was, how he was the one who delivered the autopsy results to us and he gave us scans at every appt with Monster because of my anxiety.


The room was silent. AWKWARD. Then I realised what I had said. No one commented on it, as they all know my story by now (well, except for one new mum who I am sure was sitting there thinking "WTF is this woman talking about???") and it dawned on me that while I feel completely comfortable discussing his death, to them it is a scary unknown. I can imagine how I would have reacted had I been sitting in their position only 3 years ago.

I remember when I was pregnant with our Starbaby we watched a tv show that followed a bunch of couples through pregnancy and birth. One of these couples were pregnant after a stillbirth. We were horrified. Both that "that" really happens, and by the fact that she was pregnant so soon afterwards. "How would you live with that!?!" we asked "I cannot even begin to imagine that!" we said.

Only a few months later we were in the hospital delivery our little man, and a few months later we were back there, pregnant with Monster.

These things just keep happening, me rambling on and then looking up to see the horrified expressions on people faces...I refuse to censor myself, but I am frequently surprised when I catch myself mentioning it so casually. People must think I am so callous, but the fact is, I have made my peace with it. I don't believe it ever could have happened any other way, and this was always meant to happen.

But I had a dream the other morning that they discovered his trisomy earlier and we managed to get him out alive. That he lived for a few months. I dreamt of a party we threw him, how beautiful it was to have all our friends and family there to meet him, to see how amazing he was. I woke up smiling. I wish every day that we had managed to have just a few days with him. It's my only regret about the entire story...


  1. I'm glad that you mention it in conversations. It's a part of life - and a huge part of yours! I admire you for putting it out there, and not hiding it, or pretending it didn't happen. Even though those people don't know what to say when you say it, you know they're mulling over it later. And that part makes the world a better place - your Starbaby is touching people's lives, and making them think, be more sensitive and appreciate their own lives and children more - two years later.

  2. I hope I can get to the point of acceptance that you seem to be at now. I like how you can talk about your son and miss him and love him, but have let go of the "what ifs" and "why mes" that still consume me most of the time. Your attitude is inspiring.

    Off to read more of your story.


  3. Stillbirth is very much a taboo. I can talk about it easily and sympathetically (without wailing etc) because I've experienced it in my family. But I know vast swathes of women are deeply uncomfortable even considering such a thing can happen 'in these days of modern medicine'. Time is a great healer, and while his death is a deep scar on your soul, scars become easier to talk about.
    Muchly loves x

  4. I can certainly imagine how varied the reactions can be. I have two dear close friends who lost babies they delivered (one stillborn and one who died two hours later). Both have drastically different approaches. My husband is horrified at the one approach which involves video and photos of her daughter on fac.ebook. I keep having to explain to him that this was their daughter regardless of whether she is here now or not. People just do not understand that there are different ways to heal and deal with such a tragedy, and it should not be swept under a rug.

    Oh, and I LOVED your posts about marriage. As I was raised Catholic, it always struck me that the opposition to gay marriage (and gay adoption and other rights) is so contrary to what most religions are REALLY about: loving others and doing unto others as you would have done to you. Plus, regardless of what the church folk might think about it, there still should be the ability to formalize your union legally, with all the rights that entails. Ok. I will stop now.

  5. Suzy,

    You have such a beautiful perspective on such a taboo subject. I'm honored that you stopped by my blog.

    (ICLW #125)

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog!

    It always amazes me how afraid people are to talk about stillbirth. I have to be able to talk about about it, not inappropriately or accompanied with tears and screaming, but it's a HUGE part of my life.

    And, I think your dream was beautiful....

  7. Funny, I wrote I post just like this and it will be posting tomorrow.

    And your dream is beautiful. And for what its worth, you may not have had a party for him, but all of us bloggers around the world have him in our hearts.

    Sending you hugs!

  8. I think both the stillbirth and your ability tospeak abt it is what catches others off-guard. It's ashame that it has to be that way. But as someone said, speaking of StarBaby puts awareness out there and has ppl see that it happens and it's not something that 'just' happens but that with time healing can help to speak about it and have some sort of acceptance. Thinking of you.

  9. I'm stopping in for the first time and your post has touched my heart. While our pregnancies have never lasted long, I get the same deafening silence when I speak of our miscarriages. I've reached a peace about them, on most days, and I can speak without sobs. I've had a dream like yours of my first miscarriage of meeting my child I lost for the first time, it's a cherished one for me.
    many hugs

  10. I know the crickets...I've become comfortable talking about my starbaby also. It rolls off of my tongue and I've stopped caring whether other people are uncomfortable. I came to the conclusion that people die and so do babies. Everyone might as well get used to it. I, too, wished Norah had lived outside of the womb, even for just a little bit so that I could see her eyes and tell her that I love her...



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