Pregnancy announcements. Baby showers. Gender reveals. Maternity photoshoots. Creating registries.
As soon as you see two lines, there are countless ways you are encouraged to prepare and celebrate your pregnancy and baby on the way. It seems like we can’t get enough of a person when they are expecting their little bundle (or bundles) of joy. If you are pregnant, you are encouraged to share, share, share. The message these people receive seems to be one of support and celebration–this is a big moment and we are here for you.
But, what happens when the baby dies?
When your baby dies you realize the harsh reality. Our society is obsessed with pregnancy and babies–until the baby dies.
Once there is no more baby, the expectation for those grieving mamas is to find a quiet place and be sad. Don’t make any more announcements. Don’t share. Please, just take care of yourself and don’t say anything about it because you might make someone uncomfortable.
Why does society react this way? Why do we look the other way when a baby dies?
Because when a baby dies, it’s not very cute. The photos are heartbreaking, there are no more parties to plan, and sending sympathy cards is not as fun as shopping for onesies. We live in a culture obsessed with imagery and it is really hard to make miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death look Pinterest-worthy.
When your baby dies, that initial message of celebration and support changes–Sorry that the baby is gone. Let us know when you get pregnant again and we’ll plan another baby shower.
Because when it comes to pregnancy and babies, we only seem to care when there is something to celebrate. Where does that leave the 1 in 4 people whose pregnancies will end in the death of their baby? What does that mean for the 1 in 160 babies who will be stillborn? How do we explain ourselves to the thousands of families who will experience the death of their child and who need our support?
Families don’t stop needing us because their baby died.
Because if we truly care about those who are pregnant and their babies–that care cannot be conditional on whether or not the baby lives. Because even if the baby does not survive, there is still a family to care for and there is a still a baby to love.