Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dead baby pictures.

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'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.


  1. high five sista!! I do what I need to do to survive after the loss of my son and to hell with everyone else. If they don't like it, too bad!! To use your words, they can go "F" themselves! Great post Jess :)

  2. I completely agree! I heard about this debate on a forum I frequent and I was livid! I won't use the same words you use, but kudos to you for saying it. As for me, my dead babies are precious, perfect and beautiful. These few pictures are all I have of them and will show them off everywhere I go. If they don't want to see them-tough cookies!

  3. Here, here! I completely agree with you, Jessica and Marie. My husband & I prematurely delivered our twins, who lived for 10 minutes each, and had NILMDTS come and we now have over 100 pics of our babies. I figured that if other people at my office could display their kids, so could I. So, I bought a digital photo frame, loaded all the pics onto a memory card and every day while I'm at my desk I get to see my beautiful babies. If anyone has a problem with these pictures being displayed, they haven't come to me and if they did I'd say "If they're disturbing to you, then don't look at them".

  4. I'm from Babycenter (lammyluna). AMEN. I love Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. I have friends who are photographers for it. I can't think of a better way to remember and honor a life.

    Babycenter's full of crap 96 percent of the time. When they go through what you went through THEN maybe they can talk. MAYBE.

  5. Very well said Jess. You shouldn't be ashamed. People are too quicl to judge when it isn't them.

  6. you can't see me, but I'm jumping up and down cheering for this post and adding a "yeah! what she said!" to punctuate your paragraphs.

  7. I so could have written this post. You put into words so many things that I feel, and have felt. It brought tears to my eyes! You do what you need to do, put your pictures wherever you want to put them. Everyone else can get over it. No one said they have to look.

  8. Where can I find these bitches? I'd like to give them a piece of my mind as well. Sometimes I don't understand why stillbirth doesn't happen to these ignorant people.

    On another note, Joel Tristan's butterfly is now up. I hope it brings you a smile today. :)

  9. i couldnt have said it better myself!!! nice going!

  10. Heather at MyStolenLight.blogspot.comNovember 11, 2009 at 9:57 PM


    That's all I got! Obviously you WERE meant to be a writter!! Me? Not so much, so like I said...YAH!!

    On another note, I have had an awesomly hard time trying to figure out why my own mother can't seem to quite get it! Always quoting some crap from the bible or coming up with other BS comments that make me want to puke. She had 5 kids, why is it so hard to fathom how insanly horrid it would have been if one of us had died?? Well, I guess, "these things happen!" No shit MOM! Thanks.

    Oh, and here's a picture of MY dead baby!! (enjoy it, he's not on my blog because my DH says it makes him too sad to see it everyday. So I omit it out of kindness for his daddy!)

  11. This post is AWESOME. You have said everything I have ever wanted to say and then some. Awesome! I agree with the "go fuck yourself" mentality and I have to 100% honest and say that it is quite refreshing to "hear" someone else say "dead baby club." Some people tiptoe around the topic and guess what? No need to tiptoe-- we live it.
    Anyway, thanks for writing this. Those people on the regular birthclubs at BBC are something else. When I was pregnant with my rainbow baby, I tried to join up over there, and they acted as if my opinions were nonsense because my second baby had died. WTF ever.

  12. Hey there,
    I'm from June2010, and I just read your post. I knew you wouldn't be back on that thread so I just wanted to say here how sorry I am for your loss. YOU and other Mom's who have had to go through this are exactly why I got a little on the defensive when I read the original posting. I know your baby is beautiful and agree with you wholeheartedly. (((HUGS)))

  13. I am also from the June 2010 post and I am so glad that you wrote this. I completely agree with you! Thank you for writing this!

  14. I understand loss is something that is horrible. I don't think you understood what she meant by disturbing. Its really disturbing to see a dead baby because of what it is a baby a life cut short. It pains me to look at photos of them not because the mother doesnt have a right but because the mother had to go threw that. She loved her baby since the minute she knew it existed. I guess what I am saying is I am not disturbed over the photo more of omg that is someones baby and they had to say good bye. Its not easy losing loved ones.

  15. It's not easy losing loved ones?

    No shit. Preaching to the choir there, don't you think?

    Dawn, did you even read this entry? It almost seems like you just read my post & came here to "explain" it away, which I really don't care to hear. I make it pretty clear I'm not talking about the people who feel bad for the family of the baby (family, not just mother, my husband & other family members went through it to, not just me as the mother), I'm talking about the assholes who say they don't want to look at dead babies because the pictures are gross or the pictures don't have a right to be anywhere any other baby pictures have to be to avoid the discomfort of others & I give examples of that in this blog post, which is why I'm not sure you read it if you felt the need to explain that whoever didn't mean "disturbed" in a bad way. Be sad when you see them, you should. That's the whole point. But if you think you have the right to tell us our pictures need to be put somewhere with some sort of warning to others, like I said in this post, those people can go fuck themselves.

    It's not anything I expect anyone but dead baby parents to understand really. And it's fine that people don't understand, it's hard to understand unless you've walked that path. However, have some tact & don't make us dead baby moms feel anymore like freaks than we already do, don't make our children seem any less real than they were. My son was more than a name in a memory thread, as are many other babies. And if that disturbs people, then so be it. I'd rather be on the outside looking in any day & I'd be too thankful to not be in those peoples shoes to worry about "OMG, what did I just see?!"

    BTW, disturbed is the wrong word to use if they mean they feel bad for the family of the baby having to go through the death. Use sad, sorry, heartbroken, etc. Would anyone else want to hear their childrens pictures were "disturbing" or the death of any loved one as "disturbing?" I doubt it.

  16. Jessica,

    I saw the original post on BBC, and just wanted to applaud your raw, real, way of explaining the situation to someone who has no clue--not that anyone would wish them a loss, but Lord, I wish them some common sense!

    I had a m/c this summer at 14 weeks. I know full well it is NOTHING compared to delivering a little one that you can't take home, and it still shook my entire world. That particular post is why I stay in my Angel Baby world--with people who understand, and care, and worry with you. Their biggest stress isn't the color of the nursery, the gender, or whether or not they can drink soda--for God's sake, let's worry about something IMPORTANT like that!

    One of my BBC buddies delivered her little one with a terminal diagnosis on Thanksgiving day, and I've looked at her NILMDTS photos MANY times. I do NOT see a little baby lost. I see PROOF of the love of this beautiful little family. I see a child who has impacted so many lives, even though he was on earth only 75 minutes, and I'm PROUD to have these shared with me--one of Tyler's "online aunties." I grieve with my friend the mommy, but I'm so happy to be part of keeping Tyler's story alive.

    THANK YOU for giving the ignorant a CHANCE for a wake-up call. I envy their innocence at times, but I die to think I made stupid, thoughtless comments like theirs once-upon-a-time. Thank you for sharing about Joel. With your powerful, beautiful words, the fact that he was a much loved, much wanted, and much fought for little boy will never be forgotten.


  17. I also saw the post on the June DDC on babycenter and it led me here to your post.

    First I want to say I am sorry for your loss. And I totally agree with your post. These are the only memories we have of our children. As sad as they are we are still proud of our little ones.

    People that haven't been through this just don't understand. I think they don't want to think of something this terrible really happening so they push it away and want it to disappear. so they shun and put down the ones that have experienced this. I think that everyone should be aware that things like this do happen and they shouldn't be so naive.

    I want to wish you good luck with your pregnancy and will be following you from here on out to show my support.

    With love,

  18. Sorry, one more thing. I heard this on NPR today, and thought it was beautiful. Then I went and posted it on that horrible BBC thread--not that any of the idiots posting to it will probably listen.

    Thought you might be interested. If nothing else, this story is getting out there--it should no longer be a secret.

  19. Melissa PomeranzJune 7, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    I want to commend you for the courage of this post. While I have not been in your shoes, I have suffered the loss of miscarriage, including 2nd trimester... but I also came dangerously close to losing both of my children due to placental insufficiency and preeclampsia, as well as prematurity. In the aftermath of those pregnancies, on, I came to know many women 'online' with outcomes not at fortunate as my own. I would never say what I have been through compares... but I'd like to think that the taste of my grief allows me to feel for you all more than I would likely had I not been where I have. I have always found the pictures of those dead children BEAUTIFUL. Do they bring tears to my eyes, of course. But they are beautiful. Your son is beautiful. My heart aches for you, Mama.

    The idea that other people's dead babies make OTHERS uncomforable is abhorrent, and unfathomable. That was a CHILD. An innocent life, gone too soon... not something to be shamed, or hidden away. That life was a life, no matter how brief.

    I have had friends freak because I posted pictures of my 'dead baby' (ultrasound pics) on my facebook. They find it creepy. I deleted them... it's my child, it's all I have left of him. I can only imagine how hard this must be for you, to be 'expected to get over it' when they cannot even give you the understanding and compassion and empathy to get over THEIR issues with death.

    I found your link and liked the name of your blog, so I clicked... from BBC. Lol ;) I am keeping you and your children in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings to you!

  20. I know this is about a year old but I doubt, sadly, that it's any different today. There are still 'those' people.

    And they make me furious.

    I'd be glad to tell anyone that before they used the word 'disturbing' in any sense of the word, they should know how disturbed I am: It's extremely disturbing to have nightmares of my dead baby.

    It's extremely disturbing to walk into his nursery, wondering what I am going to do with all of his things--unused but forever tainted and heartbreaking.

    It's horribly disturbing to still feel phantom kicks over 6 months later and know it's not his body--his body is in the ground.

    I could go on and on.

    Those people on those boards are ignorant and arrogant. I honestly pray that nothing like this ever happens to them--don't know that they'd have the character to survive.

  21. Hi! I hope you don't mind my commenting ;) I'm not a babyloss mama myself but there have been a few infant losses in my close family and in my circle of friends.. I just wanted to say.. RIGHT ON! Tell those f*ckers! lol. That makes me so mad they find anyone's sweet little baby "disturbing" I swear I think if I heard someone say that I'd punch them in the face!
    One of the most ignorant things I've heard someone say came out of my mother-in-laws mouth. I was days away from giving birth to my 2nd child. She said something about my oldest not being there "in case something happened." We were like um what do you mean. Then she rambled off something about how you wouldn't want pictures if something happened to the baby. My husband not so politely informed her that if something happened to our child of course we would want pictures! It is OUR CHILD. He then asked her "You don't think M & A have pictures of there baby?" (our friends newborn died after open heart surgery.) And she replied "Well yeah but it lived".. ugh bitch.
    I don't see why people can't understand that a baby is a baby whether it is born screaming or born still. It's still someones child that they love more than life itself! Sorry I'm rambling =) I get a little excited over ignorance.

  22. Very well put. I'm from BBC too (farmmom03). I don't have any pictures on there of my baby because I've been too lazy to scan them on to the computer - she was born before we had the digital camera. I do however, have them hanging up around my house - the "family picture wall". If people are "disturbed" or whatever about it, they can leave!!! It is my house and I will have pictures up of my baby. People make me SO damn mad about this.

  23. This is late, I don't always get comment notices from older post, but I'm happy to see others still read it & agree. :)

  24. This is phenomenal! I had a miscarriage at 11wks and have one sunshine and one rainbow baby. I don't what it's like to be in your shoes or of anybody's that has given birth to their stillborn baby. I simply never met mine and won't till the day I pass. I don't even know the gender, so my baby is still called by the nickname my oldest daughter gave, Baby B. Miscarriages are so taboo that I can't even speak of that child with out getting crazy looks, sometimes even from my husband.
    I loved the article. You should write a book or something to help other Moms with angel babies.

  25. These babies happened and I am sorry people can't handle seeing but we had to live through it!

  26. First, I am sorry that you have had to walk this path.

    FOr what ever it is worth, our society has grown so incredibly insular. I distinctly recall having pictures of my brother, Clifford, who died at the age of two. Yes, Mom and other members of the family took pictures of him in his coffin. The pictures were never disturbing to me or members of my family...these pictures were of a loved one that we all had to let go. I suppose with the passing of time "norms" change. However, a mother's love will not. I lost my baby when he turned 20. I have the "selfie" he took prior to jumping into the resevoir which ultimatley claimed his life. The time and date is stamped on the photo. His parting shot. Don't tell me to remove this picture...that is my baby. I must hold on to proof that he did walk this earth; he loved; he was loved by others.

    I will not spew any words of wisdom...many folks did that to me...But even though I proclaim myself a Christian, none of the words eased my pain. The only REAL message I received from a friend is: "This will not get easier with time; this will just get different." God bless her for the honesty.

    Our society shies away from the reality of death because death reminds us or our own mortality.

  27. Hi, I loved your post, and your visceral and whitty way of writing and agree on almost everything; through my work with parents i believe that we cannot and should not compare early and late losses, a loss is a loss and mostly it's what the loss means to that family.

  28. Well done momma. I completly aggree with you I lost my daughter during my sixth month. A lot of people don't understand what we have to go through but if they don't like our pictures than f### them.

  29. How is this my first time reading this? I wrote an article for an English class about this after reading a post on the MISS forums about a woman who was theatened with losing her job if she didn't remove her son's photograph. In 2006 fmily asked me to remove photos of my son from an on-line memorial bevause they are "graphic". I didn't know to be angry at the time. This poin of view needs to be shared more so loss mom's know it's okay. Thanks for writing this!

  30. Bloody well said every word true ive had 8 mc and that nearly destroyed me i could never imagine going thru what you did are many.other parents .every parent of an angel/s need to unite to change this twisted world and change ignorance. A picture of a angel is precious .beautiful and someone s son are daughter .sad it happens yes .discusted .ashamed never x x fly high all angels <3

  31. I'm in a 100% agreement with this post. to be honest with you, I've never thought about what people would think if I posted pictures of my daughter. I've them around the house, but I don't have any pictures on my desk. However, if I did, they would just have to deal with it.

  32. I have shared pictures of my murdered toddler from the funeral home, Because I'm his mom and that's part of his story and you bet I will share it! People need to learn that life and death is a messy agony. I love what you have to said here!



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