I'm lame & like the internet. More than I should. I've met friends online & even that guy I married. So yeah, the internet (or interwebz as I usually call it) are neato to me.
When you're knocked up the first time, you get online & go crazy. At least, that's what I've always seen. I'm part of the babycenter community. I'm not going to bother linking it, copy & paste it in your browser if you're really concerned.
So whose on babycenter? The smartest, best parents ever. Seriously, everyone knows everything about everything. It's awesome. Of course that's sarcasm, but some people really believe it. The place usually runs a regular course...when you're pregnant you debate things about labor & delivery, with a newborn you debate feeding & if moms who stay at home are better than working moms, & then once the toddler years hit all the debates usually turn passive aggressive. No more blatant insults, people just go on & on about how their 18 month olds can recite the declaration of independence & anyone whose kid can't, well, they must just be stupid. I usually get on just to find the most insane story of the day for Adam & I to make fun of. Hey, it's something to do & sometimes some really interesting things come up. Like one time a woman was confused about why her husband would go "night fishing" & would come home at like 4am smelling like booze, smoke, & cheap perfume & wanted to know if that seemed odd to anyone else.
What does this have to do with dead babies? Simple. The other day I missed the earth shattering debates on if it's wrong for dead baby moms to have pictures of their dead babies online. People went as far as to say the pictures were weird, gross, & disturbing. Some people said it was unfair of us dead baby moms to have them on babycenter, because it's unfair that we scare the pregnant women. So while moms of living babies can display their pictures with pride, dead baby moms should keep them in a private folder somewhere to be seen by no one.
I remember the night we came home after confirming that Joel was dead I googled everything I could. I wanted to know what dead babies looked like. I'd never seen anyone who was dead before. Seriously, even wakes & things have been closed caskets. So the thought of seeing my dead baby was scary as all hell. I don't remember much of anything I found, minus one message board thread somewhere that talked about how disturbed they were to see a picture of a dead baby in the newspaper obituary. People questioned why the newspaper would allow such a disturbing image. One person started the message out by saying it was unfair to judge the parents. I thought, "finally, someone sticking up for the dead baby parents!" But no, as I went on to read they explained that the parents must be grief stricken & one day they'd regret sharing a dead baby picture & how bad we should all feel for them for making such a rash decision in grief.
Here is my formal opinion on people offended by dead baby pictures & want to bitch & moan about them:
Go fuck yourselves.
Seriously. Go do it right now. Come back & read the rest of this when you're done.
I've seen people compare a dead baby picture to a picture of a dead 10 year old, people tried to make the argument "would you show pictures of your dead 10 year old? If not, why show your dead baby?" That's the most fucking ridiculous statement I've ever heard. To compare a child dying & a dead baby is impossible. I would love to share pictures of Joel's first bath, his first birthday, his first day of school...it'd be great. But sadly, all I & many other moms have are those few pictures from the few hours we ever got to spend with our children. It's all we've got, it's all we'll ever have.
I also enjoy the statement that it could scare other pregnant woman. Hey, other pregnant women, here is a message for you, too:
Your baby can die. My baby died & I did nothing wrong. Many other babies die & their mom's did nothing wrong either. No one is immune to this. Do what I wish I had done, demand good medical care & monitoring of any problems. Don't just hear some good news & be so happy to hear it that you are willing to run with it. Worry. Be an advocate for yourself & your child. If you feel like something is up, demand answers. And always remember when you take your baby home from the hospital to care for them like you know you should, some of us wish we had that chance. Realize that your baby isn't a right. It should be, but it isn't.
Trust me, I'm totally aware that to many who have never been in "the club" dead babies are disturbing & upsetting. But good news, you didn't have to live it. You didn't go through a pregnancy, labor, & delivery only to send your baby to the morgue before you go home to your baby free house. You should be upset by the thought, I know I am. Before I lost Joel I never thought about dead babies, I saw them from time to time online & never thought twice about it besides how awful it would be to go through that. As annoyed as I get by things, I was never upset by dead baby pictures. And now, more than ever, I'm not upset by them. In fact, I'm appreciative of them. I'm so happy I decided to go ahead & get Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep to come in when we lost Joel. I wasn't sure I'd ever look at them, but I'm so happy I have them now. I can't imagine going through all of that & having no real proof of his existence.
I'm pissed off. I really am. I'm tired of being treated like I'm treated, being thought about like I'm thought about.
I don't like that some people find out I'm pregnant again & get that "oh god, not again?!" look on their faces. I shouldn't have to worry that when I tell people about this baby I'll get that look from them possibly. I don't like the fact that my doctor broke up with me because they are just convinced babies die in me & don't want to risk it. I don't like people deciding how I should or shouldn't act when it comes to my dead baby. I don't like that I don't get credit as a mom. I'm the woman who had a dead baby. Or, as I've ranted before, a dead fetus. I get no recognition that I delivered a baby. I look back to my first visit with the doctor this pregnancy & he didn't ask anything about my delivery with Joel or his stats, even though he asked for others. He just wrote it off as the "miscarriage" it's marked down on my chart as. I would never argue that a miscarriage isn't painful & emotional, you have still lost your child. But if I had a choice I think I'd much rather had a miscarriage early on than go en entire pregnancy to end up with a dead baby & to have to go through 26 hours of labor in the hospital before pushing out said baby, only to check out of the hospital & go make funeral arrangements. At least then I wouldn't be looked at like a weirdo. Miscarriages are accepted, they are something that happens in the medical community. But a 40 week loss? You become some freak of nature. I can almost understand why it's hard for people to connect to dead babies that aren't theirs. They weren't real to those people like they are to us parents. But the fact that people can write off my experience & the experiences of others really gets to me. My mom, who is sad over Joel, talked before I got pregnant this time about "if Jules ever has any younger brothers or sisters..." & got upset when I reminded her that he does have a younger brother. Her response was some babbling & finally coming up with "well...I can't see him." No shit you can't see him, I can't either. But I see the stretch marks he gave me. I remember the stitches he gave me. I remember feeling & seeing his kicks. I remember seeing that positive pregnancy test. And I remember watching him get wheeled out of the room on his way to the autopsy. Just because we can't see him doesn't mean he never happened.
And that brings me back to the dead baby pictures & talking about how us parents don't know what we're doing because we're so grief stricken we don't know better at the time to not share these awful pictures. I remember reading online one day about a woman who was very upset, all her co-workers have children & their pictures on their desk. Her baby, full term, passed away a few hours after birth due to medical problems. She took a picture into work, put it on her desk, & people were bothered. Everyday she'd come back from lunch & find the picture of her daughter turned around or upside sown. She eventually found out who was doing it, asked them about it, & they admitted that they & several others were disturbed by the picture knowing that it was taken with the baby so close to death & they didn't want to look at it. She was asked to remove it. I'm not sure what happened with that situation, but I like to think she went crazy & burned the building down. I know I would.
I don't claim to speak on behalf of everyone in this unfortunate club, but let me explain something to you...people need to suck it up & get over it. When we're told not to show pictures of our babies or people act awkward on the topic of our babies, that is basically telling us to get over their deaths in my opinion. If I can be expected to just get over a death, I think people can get over some pictures or whatever else.
I'm not sure what I'm most angry about really...that he doesn't get recognition or that I don't get any for all that I went through.
I remember the days of innocence. Days of thinking nothing this bad could happen to me. Thinking that these like this only happen to other people. Of having no worries about simple things in life or things that should be simple. I guess people don't like to see the proof in front of them that bad things can happen & that they do happen. They want to continue to live in that bubble of innocence. Can't say I blame them, that was a much better place. But don't expect me to help you live in that bubble, don't expect me to hide in the shadows, never talking about my son or his death, don't expect me to hide his pictures away in some lock box like a family secret that needs to be buried. You can keep living in your dream world & that is fine, but don't try to ignore my nightmare or expect me to in order for you to be more comfortable. If anything, feel better knowing that you get to live in that wonderful dream instead of in the hell we've been through the past few months.
I'm proud of my son. I'm sad that I didn't get a chance to see what he would be. And I refuse to feel bad for holding onto the few things I have of him. I refuse to hide him away. It's something I can't make you understand unless you've been through it & I hope it's something you never have to understand. Instead, choose to understand we're making the most of what we have & we shouldn't have to hide that or apologize for it.
And, like I said earlier, if you've got a problem with that, seriously, go fuck yourself.