Thursday, February 19, 2015

I am the face of stillbirth

There's a website entitled Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope in which women who have lost their babies can tell their stories.  The purpose is to help women connect through their stories, and to help them not feel as alone in their grief.

The founder Kristin, wrote:

Of all the feelings I experienced after my daughter died, loneliness was by far the hardest. I felt completely and utterly alone. I felt like some sort of freak of nature. This sort of thing doesn’t happen to healthy, normal people like me, I thought.

    But I was wrong. After spending hours and hours scouring the internet for other stories like mine, I realized pregnancy loss is more common than I ever thought, and that it does not discriminate. It affects women of all ages, of all races, of all walks of life. It’s not just something that happens to “other people,” it can happen to anyone. I realized there were so many other nice, normal people like me who had gone through the death of a child. And they were surviving. That realization gave me hope. If they could do it, maybe, just maybe I could survive this too.

Because let's face it, baby loss is rare (and it feels completely isolating so when all your friends are popping out living, breathing babies that grow into living, breathing toddlers), but it is also so terribly common.  To put this into perspective: 1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth.  So if you're pregnant, you might feel pretty comfortable with those odds.  But let's remember that this is about pregnancies, not women.  Most women have more than one pregnancy.  And now let's take 160 of your friends (you do, in fact, have 160 friends.  Just think about Facebook), and put them in a room together.   One of you will have a stillborn baby.  Thinking about that doesn't make you feel as safe anymore, does it?

And that's only stillbirth, which is defined as 20-42 weeks gestation.   Miscarriage?  That's a whole 'nother story.  Oh and there's SIDS too. And bacterial meningitis.  And all the trisomies.  There are far too many reasons that babies die.  Sometimes, there's no reason at all.

So point being, what happened to Lydie is rare.  But not all that rare.  There are so many women out there who are also desperately missing their babies.

And Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope is designed to help them find each other.

Until it became defunct.

Months ago, I stumbled upon this site and was disappointed to see it hadn't been updated in over a year.    But now, a group of women that I've befriended has picked it up and it is now up and running (thanks to all of you!)  Molly let me know to get my story ready to share.

So I sat down to write it.  And just like looking at the photos, I found it was taking me back to a place where I really didn't want to be.

"Can't you just use the first entry from your blog?" my husband asked.

Well, yes.  I could.  But it would need to be changed a bit.  And the problem was, I had such a hard time reading my own story, even though I wrote it, I lived it, it happened to me.  And in the weeks following, I must have reread it a dozen times.   Now, suddenly, I found myself unable to even read our own story.

So, whether my therapist would suggest this or not, I eventually forced myself to.   I sat down, I got out the tissues, I relived my experience and reworked our story for the Faces of Loss website.

You can find me and Lydia featured here.

This is the photo I used for the website:

Lydie and me at 26 weeks.  Little did I know how much I would be missing that bump 8 short weeks later.








2 comments:

  1. You are so brave to share your most raw and honest emotions. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was juuuuuuust about to submit mine too. By the time I was ready to sit down and write something for the site, I noticed that it seemed to be defunct...and I just never did it.

    I'm glad you did it. We all need a place where it seems like everyone else is like us. That for SURE is it.

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