Monday, August 9, 2010

Why have this blog?

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.

19 comments:

  1. Agree with your post 100%. :)

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  2. I am so glad I didn't see her original post, it would have made me HOT!

    Lara you hit the nail on the head, our blogs are healing for us and why should anyone have any right to say what we blog about. It comes back to why the US was started: to be a free country!!! Just wanted to say thank you for posting this because I believe it will help our family and friends. I believe my blog helped my family understand things better. Plus, i was able to post the stuff NOT to say and it helped them recognized the reasons behind why the things they said might hurt. Anyway, not that I needed to repeat all that to you b/c you understand, but my main point was, thank you for your eloquently written response to her post and creating awareness.

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  3. which blogger? how could i have missed this!?

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  4. from baby loss momma's everywhere, thank you for this! Very well said!!!

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  5. I also read the (what I would call heartless) words of that blogger. They were incredibly hurtful and written by someone who has clearly never experienced anything remotely close to baby loss. Or maybe she has and because, unlike us, she had nowhere to turn for comfort she became the angry individual she is. (I say "angry" not only because she seems so angry in her blog-but because she openly admits it on there.)

    I really appreciate your response to the things she said. I don't think she realized the strong reaction she would receive from this community. Not that I think she really cares, but still.

    And please don't be afraid to share pictures of your Caleb with us. We are all here for eachother, and anyone who has an issue with it can just not look.

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  6. Beautiful, eloquent and well written. Thank you.

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  7. Very well said, you said everything I would have wanted to say, and you said it beautifully.

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  8. Thank you for that response to her! You always explain things so well. I think you should never feel bad about it if you decide to show pics of Caleb on your blog. When I am blogging and I question whether or not it would bother someone to see or read it, I tell myself they are coming here knowing that this blog is about my daughter-nonbody is forcing them to visit my site! I want my blog to honor Ella and be a place that I can share my feelings. I am glad I didn't see her blog.

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  9. I'm so proud of our community for explaining so eloquently why we do this. You did it do well in this post!!! I don't know where I'd be without the compassion and support of this group. Hugs!!

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  10. Beautifully said! Truthfully, this blogging community has been more helpful for me to work through this loss than my therapist and I'm grateful every day for other moms like you that share their story so I don't feel so alone.

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  11. Wow! You took gave a very classy response to such an insensitive person....thank you for answering on the behalf of all of us baby loss mamas. I am so thankful for this blogging community, it has provided me so much more comfort than I ever could have imagined!

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  12. You are so strong. I'm glad you told that woman how it was... and in such a respectable way. good for you... and I'm happy to hear how helpful writing in your blog is for you! You are awesome!

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  13. Great response! I agree 100% that blogging is so healing and anyone who doesn't like it, doesn't have to read our blogs!

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  14. Ha ha. I too felt, reading some of her other posts that 'yeah her and I probably would get along not too badly in real life...we have a lot of the same opinions on all things non-babyloss related'.

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  15. I'm glad I too didn't see this blog post because it would have made me angry, and unnecessarily so. The things we feel as baby loss mamas are normal and even though the people standing inside the veil do not think so, they are. Even before my loss I never questioned the blogs, groups, and forums for baby loss mamas, in fact my heart broke for the mommies that had to say good bye to their children. Now that I am also a baby loss mama I understand even less the resentment and hatred that is spewed by others. They truly will never understand and I hope to God that they never have to experience the things we have.

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  16. You go girl. I think you said this perfectly.
    *hugs*

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  17. Just reading this now and I wanted to say that your response was perfect. Thank you so much for saying it. I've been reluctant to start a blog particularly because of that kind of reaction, even though I have been finding writing to be therapeutic for me. But I have found blogs like yours to be so helpful for me.

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