Twice in two days I read about people surrounding bereaved parents shutting out their stories and even berating them for it. One family told they shouldn’t share the pictures of their stillborn child, people who I can only assume don’t know all that it is to lose a child claiming this isn’t a moment they would want to capture and share if it were them. Another bereaved mother told by her HR department that she couldn’t share her stillborn baby’s death announcement.
Please, please if you find yourself reading this help me accept these babies and all the babies gone before us into our hearts and our lives. Pictures of our stillborn children capture the only memories we have of their precious lives. Lives that changed us just as you other parents have been forever changed by your children. These are ours and we have a right to share our children just as you can share yours and expect to be on the receiving end of love and support for your babies.
On Monday, the day after I got home from the hospital, my work told me I couldn’t have maternity leave. I was allowed five bereavement days and would then need to apply for short term disability. I was horrified: I wasn’t disabled, I was just a new mother except instead of a newborn keeping me up all night crying I was keeping my husband up all night crying for the baby that I couldn’t cradle and sooth until morning.
“Can you help me understand why this isn’t considered maternity leave since I delivered a baby by c-section and require the same amount of recovery time, even though I was not able to bring him home?”
They reconsidered. Apparently they have never had a situation like this before which explained their lack of protocol for such a thing. We can change the way we approach baby loss. We can make those people, who know nothing about it before they learn the hard way, like my former self, understand what it is to lose a baby. We just have to keep sharing our stories. And to share we need to be surrounded by ears who will listen to show compassion instead of to judge.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.Colossians 3:12 NLT
Not only did they give me maternity leave but also the five days bereavement. I am a new mom. I’m a bereaved mom.
I will share my love for my baby in ways God tells me to. And I will not only acknowledge but accept the love other parents share for their baby, in any way that makes meaning for them.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:14 NLT