A blogger - who in all other regards I would generally agree with and probably get along with in person - recently devoted two posts to these "baby loss" blogs. She questioned why anyone would have one, why people feel the need to post pictures of their children who have passed away, and the general mental health of someone who keeps this type of blog. She believes it "cheapens" death and the emotions of grief and sadness, and is disrespectful to the dead. It obviously sent a ripple through our little close-knit community and hurt deeply many of the bloggers that I love. Because I know that these aren't uncommon thoughts, I wanted to share the response I posted to her blog (things I added afterward for clarification in brackets):
I just wanted to let you know another side, maybe. I lost my son at 20 weeks pregnant. I loved him for five months that I carried him, and for the 20 minutes he lived after he was born. Losing him is the worst thing that's ever happened to me. It absolutely broke my heart. I blog about it for many reasons, but mostly because it's cathartic for me to get my feelings down on paper (per se) and because it allows me to point friends and family to one place for updates on how I'm doing, rather than having to repeat it constantly. In five months of pregnancy, I grew attached to the little being I was feeling every day, and I had plans for the future of our family. So many plans. On top of the loss of an actual physical person, I'm mourning the loss of all my plans for the future.
I started my blog as a pregnancy blog, and after he died it turned into a loss blog. Hopefully if I become pregnant again in the future, it will be about that. While right now it certainly talks about my son a lot, it's a life blog...and right now, in this point of my life, I'm mourning him.
I know it bothers you, and I know it bothers other people, but the other "baby loss" blogs out there have helped me tremendously in the healing process. Knowing that I'm not the other one who has suffered this loss, knowing that the feelings I've felt are normal, knowing that missing my son is totally okay - that has helped me come to a good place. While obviously the subject is controversial, I also enjoy the pictures. It makes their children more real, and gives them substance. It lets me see other babies that passed away around the same time as my son, and validates my experience and my journey. Believe me, blogging has not hindered my healing or caused me to focus on my loss. It's been the complete opposite. If those blogs didn't exist, I'd probably be in a dark corner cradling his baby blanket and trying to feed it.
I have pictures of my son. I took them while he was alive, but it's likely that they would bother you or anyone else just as much as dead baby pictures do. People see a small, under developed baby...I see my son. I think he was beautiful and I'm proud of him, and I enjoy sharing his pictures when people ask to see them. No, I don't have any on my blog, but it's not because I don't want to post them. It's because I'm scared of the reactions of people who might stumble across them. No one should have to censor what they post on their personal blogs - your posts are great examples of that - and I hate that I'm scared shitless to share my pictures.
For many years, taking pictures and celebrating the dead was the norm. Death is and was an everyday occurrence. It's only been fairly recently that people have stopped talking about it and stopped being open about it. The community is trying to change that and to get rid of the stigma associated with dead babies. Yes, it's disconcerting and maybe even traumatic for people who haven't suffered losses to come across these types of blogs, but they are vital to our little community and essential for our healing - since death [particularly baby death] has become such a terrible, unnamed thing in our society, we have to find connections through things like these blogs. And it is terrible and unnamed - after my loss, six people who I've known my entire life came up to me and told me that they suffered similar losses....and I had no idea. These people all have carried an enormous amount of pain inside them for years (one was 80 and still cried on a regular basis because of a loss 60 years ago) because of that stigma - if it was a brother or parent that died, they wouldn't have thought twice about sharing their grief. And yes, these babies didn't life a full life, but we imagined a full life for them, and losing that hurts as much as anything else. Hopefully [because I've had the chance to be open about my loss], when I'm 80, instead of having this secret [grief], I'll remember my son and the small amount of time we had with happiness, and to everyone who knows me it will just be a part of me - not a good thing, certainly, but not a bad thing. I had a baby who died, I loved him, and that's just a part of my life.
Anyway. I would never expect you or most people to be comfortable with these blogs. But perhaps this will give you some small insight into the world of why they exist.