So today I realised just how important talking about baby loss is, not just the fact that babies die but everything else involved around that.
I remember so clearly when we found out Dexy died and what my thought process was around telling people. I didn’t want to break the news because I didn’t want to be a disappointment or be the reason for everyone’s heartbreak. I put a no crying rule in place up until he was born because I just couldn’t handle knowing that I was the cause of sadness. When Dexy was born a few days later the conversation of how we are going to tell everyone came about. Everyone knew I was pregnancy and that our baby was due the same month that he had now died in I didn’t even know where to start. So I got my Mum, Dad and my sister Heidi to tell close family and friends and the rest I guess we had to announce on social media. I had no way of telling everyone any other way other than on instagram and facebook.
I don’t know if I was more scared of what people would say or how they would react to the photos I had posted of Dexy. I kinda forgot for a brief moment that these people haven’t been around for the last few days so they didn’t know that I wanted everything to be normal. I wanted people to talk to me, Phil and about Dexy like any other new family. I had a pretty quick snap back to reality when the congratulations were only said when people had misread my post and thought Dexy was alive. These then were quickly taken back and replaced with “I’m Sorry” “I don’t know what to say.” I wondered why not one single person congratulated or even complimented him without “I’m sorry” somewhere attached to it. I was like any other mum. My baby lived but my baby also died. I had shared my whole pregnancy with this online world, videos of his heartbeat, him kicking, scan photos, our excitement of getting everything ready and I shared his birth.
I think this is why I struggle with pregnancy and birth announcements because every bit of happiness people shared with us up until the second he died was taken back, people were not happy for us anymore, they were awkward. His birth was not greeted by “congratulations, 7lb11oz at 36 weeks what a big boy.” or “Oh Hannah, Phil he is beautiful, I bet you two are proud parents”. His birth was treated like something that is a quick sorry, delete you off social media if I feel uncomfortable and then never talk about it again. I felt like I lost every part of being a new mum. I should be posting photos of him everywhere and telling the world I’m a mum and have a warm reception instead I was just left feeling like my baby is less. May I add I had a really horrific after birth and I think I need a congratulations for even producing that much blood to come out my body and still be okay.
Why am I voicing this now? Because I’m ashamed of the congratulations I’m going to get with this baby. I’m ashamed of the cards and gifts I’m going to receive when he arrives. I’m sad that my baby that had lived and died would have been greeted with sadness and sorrow when this one is greeted with nothing more than excitement and happiness. Two boys, two heathy pregnancies, two births but seen in this world as completely different.
Every day new families join us when they bring their babies into the world. They join us as new parents, scared parents (every parent is scared, so don’t say you weren’t), first time parents, 11th time parents, twin parents, triplet parents, but most importantly they all have children. This doesn’t matter if they children are only 8weeks gestation, 36 weeks gestation, been alive for a second, 6 weeks or 46 years they are all born and they have all lived inside the womb or outside so why can’t we congratulate their births? Why can’t we show our support with a hint of happiness and positivity instead of sorry. I’m not sorry for the birth of my son. I’m not sorry that he lived for 36 weeks. I’m not sorry I got to hold him. I’m not sorry I’m a mum. Dexy’s memory box is full of bits from his life outside the womb, yes he may have been dead but we still have memories of him. In this memory box is moulds of his flat feet like his dads and his long fingers like mine. It is full of love, happiness, photos of us as a family and it is full of his life. If I got one congratulations when he was born without it being taken back or replaced I would have been so happy. If I got a “new baby” card with a sweet message in that I could have put in his box I would have been happy.
Sometimes we have to put our feelings of sadness aside because you know what, I know you are sad that my baby died, I know you are sorry for us, heartbroken for us, we are too. But we are also proud parents of a little boy who has brought us so much love and happiness, just like any other baby. Our son lived, just like your children, be happy he lived and gave us the chance to be his mum and dad, don’t be sorry he died before sharing that with us.