Speaking about your baby that died
When you experience pregnancy loss or a loss of your baby shortly after birth it can be very upsetting to feel that you can’t speak openly about you baby.
When someone asks how many children you have, many bereaved parents don’t know how to comfortably answer that.
Do you want to tell your hairdresser about your loss, do you want to tell the mothers at the school gate your deepest heartbreak? Are you strong enough to endure the head tilt, sad smile, or awkward silence if you do? Do you feel guilty NOT mentioning your baby that has died? Will you feel worse walking away from that conversation not acknowledging them?
How I (Jen) include my daughter when I do not necessarily want to explain the whole story, is by saying that “I have 4 children at home”. For me this is truthful and accurate but not discounting Jess who is sadly not at home. I have found that those who have also experienced pregnancy loss, or the loss of a baby or child pick up on this and instantly know that I am a bereaved mother. I find this opens up a conversation and we can speak about our babies and losses in pregnancy.
We (Jen and Claire) have spoken with lots of bereaved mothers and fathers who do not have other children, for them it can be very difficult as they don’t have the “at home” line to use. Some bereaved parents have told us that they are very open, if asked they tell the person straight, “We had a son/daughter who died during pregnancy, their name is _________ and we miss him/her”. We also have other bereaved parents who would rather keep their loss more private. They feel it is personal and they don’t feel comfortable with sharing that with people outside their circle. Both of these, and the many other ways bereaved parents speak about their loss is completely right and acceptable.
Our advice is always do what feels comfortable to you in that moment. This is your life and your loss that you carry daily. Whether you prefer to tell everyone you meet about your baby that has died, or keep that information private is completely personal.
Image used is "Dandelion Card"