“just because publicly grieve doesn’t mean I have too”
“Why do you publicly grieve?”
I have been faced with the topic of my choice to publicly grieve many times, both negative and positive. Now I do not think everyone should do it and I am a firm believer that you should do everything for you and always do what works best for you! I know many baby loss parents who share everything openly, I know parents who share photos but never of their baby’s face as that is just for them, and I know parents who chose to be private about their grief. Every single one of these ways of grieving are perfectly okay and you should never stop doing what you are doing just because someone has a comment on it. You are their parents and you know what is best both for you and your baby.
So Why Do I Chose To Be Public About My Grief?
When Dexy died I chose to announce his birth and death on social media as I had documented my pregnancy and instead of people wondering when he was arriving or how I was doing I wanted to just post it on all platforms and “get it over and done with” I never thought or knew that this would lead me to sharing my personal thoughts and feelings about my son so openly for everyone to see.
I thought after announcing his birth that would be it. I thought I would just have a break off social media and just keep to myself. Leave everything that I had enjoyed and made positive memories on since now how would I ever be happy enough to share anything ever again. I worried about how people would feel about seeing a dead baby and I wondered how people would see me, would I be seen as this crazy lady posting photos of a dead baby or would I be like any other mother sharing her child?
I never knew that there were these parents out their with dead children before Dexy. I only thought that babies that were seriously ill or had illnesses like cancer died. I never knew a healthy baby boy could just die. As simple as that for no reason. So after Dexy was born and I was in hospital I felt so alone, I was so fucking dead myself that I had no clue on how to even function now that my baby had died. About 2am I was on instagram and I looked up the hashtag “Stillborn” and there is was. My new normal. I was greeted by posts of such honestly and love. I saw babies that looked just like Dexy. I saw parents holding their babies and smiling, I saw so much hope. So I started following parents like me. I was so welcomed by these families and I read their stories and there I was. In an online community where I could hurt and be supported. Social media has become a life line for me. I have made such amazing friends and I have a safe space where I can really release how I feel.
I realised that I felt so alone because I never learnt about anything surrounding baby loss and pregnancy loss. If I documented my life now with everything that has happened maybe someone out there would find it helpful, they might know someone or going through it themselves. I don’t want parents to feel how I did when I gave birth. I don’t want them to feel alone and scared.
Why I Feel The Need To Validate My Motherhood?
When you imagine a mum you picture them with a pram or at least a photo as their screensaver of their child smiling. You don’t imagine someone who is walking around with no child and no “proof” they are a mum. When people see me in the street they will never see me pushing a pram or even guess that I’m a mum. I’m not tired from being up all night and I’m not moaning about my child being fussy. I feel if I publicly share Dexy and my motherhood if people see me or hear of me they are at least like “oh yeah the girl whose baby died.” at least then they recognise the fact that I do have a child. I feel so lost with the sense that I am a mother. People if they don’t know me would never know I’m a mum. I’ve already had comments with this baby being my first. I can’t blame people for thinking that because if I saw me I would think it is too.
I really push the “I’m a mum but my baby died” down people’s necks. I feel like I have to just so that I’m seen up there with other mums. I just really want people to know I have a son. Sometimes I want a badge to state I’m one but my child died so it is my equivalent to pushing a pram. People would see it and be like okay she is a mum cool.
What Negativity Do I Get?
Most feedback I get about my blog and sharing my life is positive. I have people who are going through it message me, thanking me. I have people who grew up with a sibling that was stillborn telling me that I have helped them realise what their parents went through and they have had their eyes open. I have people who haven’t gone through any form of baby loss thanking me for educating them because they had no idea that it happened. I get so many messages from people and I am so grateful for their words of support and thanks. It means so much that Dexy is helping so many people. I’m so proud of my son. He may never graduate or become a dad but he is helping so many people open their eyes or helping them to not feel alone. I’m just so proud of him!
I’ve only ever had I think two people make comments of negativity that I don’t know. I think that is a pretty good number. Obviously I would rather it be none but I can’t be picky over other people’s ideas and thoughts. I wrote about it in He’s Dead, Why Are You Smiling? Because someone asked me how I could smile in photos I have with my son because She could never do it herself (she had alive children). The other woman just found it odd that I posted photos of Dexy because it made HER feel uncomfortable. But that was solved by a little block and then my world was a much happier place.
Now I’m not going to mention who or how I know them but most of the shit I get from people is by family. I know fucking ridiculous. Honestly if I screenshot the abuse I got from some of them about my blog and writing my feelings down you would be like WTF! I’ve been told to “piss on my bonfire” “I’m not the only grieving mother” “Wind my fucking neck in” “You’re 21 you have no life experience.” Threatening to write shit on my blog comments (which by the way I control and can approve or not approve to be posted- modern technology aye- who would have thought?) But as my husband had said my blog helps hundreds of parents and people and the 5 people who have a problem don’t really matter. This blog is for people to relate to or open their minds over this. This blog isn’t for people to tell me not to publicly grieve. This blog isn’t for people who have never gone through baby loss to belittle me.
This is why I chose to be public and honest about my experience and feelings. Not to please people who I never see or have contact with. It is for parents like me and Phil to feel safe, supported and validated as the parents we are. Our lives are every parents worst nightmare. This is our reality.