The word is a part of my story now, but there was a time when it wasn’t.
It felt clinical. It felt “old”. It sounded like something that happened in days gone by before there was good prenatal care. When people were giving birth without the aid of professionals or in unsterile conditions. It didn’t feel like something that still happened in the year 2015.
Everything I had read led me to believe that if you got pregnant, took good care of yourself, and made it through the first trimester risk of miscarriage, you were home free.
And then in 2011, my very dear friend lost a beautiful baby boy. I watched another friend say goodbye to her sweet boy in 2015.
I still never thought it would happen to me.
A stillbirth is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Stillbirth effects about 23,600 babies each year in the United States alone, 1 in 160 pregnancies. (www.marchofdimes.org)
The stigma and misinformation around perinatal loss and stillbirth is very real. People don’t like to talk about it. They don’t want to ask for fear of saying the wrong thing. They don’t want to ask a question too personal. They don’t want to be witness to the flood of emotions that can happen without warning. They don’t want to say their names.
We can work together to educate ourselves and others. We can continue to put a face and a name to this experience, and provide love and support to others who will go through this.
If you or someone you know has experienced a perinatal loss, Madison’s Closet would be honored to help. You can receive a clothing donation by clicking here. We also have a resource page available with links to groups and organizations for online support, as well some recommended books.
Until I read the number, I never realised how many parents learned the meaning of stillbirth and still feel the impact of it every day.. Even as I learned that crossing the first trimester of pregnancy doesn’t equal that you will be able to bring your baby home in the third trimester and am since 2016 mother of a stillborn baby boy, I find it hard to see how much taboo there still is when it comes to stillbirth.
Even I find it hard to talk about with parents who have no experience with stillbirth.
Thank you, Henderson, for opening my eyes further and showing how important it is to have people educated about it. Not to make them afraid, but to let them know it exists and stillbirth could happen to anyone. More important to show them there’s a support network of wonderful people who will understand you with only 1 single word and will walk with you on this new path of stillbirth. <3
Beautifully said, Sarah. I am so sorry that we share this path but am so grateful for your friendship. <3