Are we over-sharing lost pregnancies?

Devastated by perinatal deaths, parents reach out in sometimes disturbingly public ways

The mourning after

Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Last month, Jay-Z released Glory, a song dedicated to his newborn daughter that triggered a gossip maelstrom. In it, the privacy-obsessed rapper revealed intimate details of a previous pregnancy with his wife, Beyoncé Knowles: “Last time the miscarriage was so tragic / We was afraid you’d disappear / But nah baby you magic.” Lyrical merit aside, the verse signals a watershed as the first rap song to lament a miscarriage—and yet another marker of the evolving openness, even militancy, surrounding perinatal loss.

Miscarriages (legally defined as the death of a fetus of less than 20 weeks) or stillbirths (the death of fetuses over 20 weeks) are a sad reality in at least 20 per cent of pregnancies. In 2002, singer Tori Amos discussed the “emptiness” she felt after her multiple miscarriages, on the U.K.’s Channel 4: “There’s no coffin, there’s no outward symbology, there’s no ritual. There’s just you and your partner. It’s not a reality for anyone else.” A decade later, that landscape has shifted radically. Miscarriage news is splashed in tabloids, as on last month’s OK! cover: “Leah’s heartbreak: she suffers a miscarriage,” about Teen Mom 2 star Leah Messer. Parents express their grief via T-shirts that read, “An angel watches over me.” The Internet hosts myriad “miscarriage” blogs and “stillbirth” tribute pages. One woman in the U.K. even used a photograph of her stillborn child as her Facebook avatar.

Such images are increasingly common. Since 2005, the Colorado-based charity Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has provided volunteer photographers around the world who record gentle images of stillborn children for parents. Hospitals also provide “memory boxes” with footprints and handprints, and remembrance cards. “Mementoes help parents grieve openly,” says Glenn Breen, an ecumenical chaplain at Halifax’s IWK Health Centre: “For them to go home without any way of honouring the lost child isn’t emotionally healthy.” Naming ceremonies also offer solace, Breen says: “Parents haven’t had the chance to parent that child. So the ability to spiritually parent by naming is important.” When the fetus’s sex is indeterminate, a gender-neutral name like Taylor is chosen, he explains. The annual Walk to Remember across North America recognizes perinatal deaths, as do yearly memorials like one held at Toronto’s Mount Sinai, says Rebecca Purdie, a social worker in the hospital: “Ritual legitimizes the magnitude of the loss; it gives families permission to start grieving.” Tangible touchstones help parents cope with the abstract nature of the loss, she says: “It’s not just grieving a baby but a lifetime—who that child would have been.”

The U.S. religious right led the way in public displays of embryonic death, an activity critics call “fetus fetishization.” Recently, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum retold his story about taking the body of his 20-week-old son, delivered in 1996 and named Gabriel, home from the hospital so his young children could hold it and say goodbye. Last December, devout Christians Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the stars of 19 Kids and Counting, stoked furor by posting photos of their 20th child, Jubilee Shalom, who died at 25 weeks, on their blog. Gauzy black and white images of the fetus—a tiny hand holding Michelle’s finger, a little foot—were handed out at the memorial before hitting TMZ.com.

Given the obsession with female fecundity—tabloid scrutiny of “baby bumps,” gushing media coverage over the birth of celebrity babies like Beyoncé’s—it’s hardly surprising perinatal death has migrated into the mainstream. Last year, TV reporter Lisa Ling appeared on The View to discuss her miscarriage—and her new website, Secret Society of Women, which has a forum on the topic. The cultural acceptance that grief trumps others’ discomfort has paved the way as well. Couples were once expected to “deal with it” and “move on.” The newer message is that the loss will never disappear but will shift with time. Writing letters to children who died before birth or sharing their image is healing, not morbid or unseemly, according to some grief counsellors, even if the wider public hasn’t reached such acceptance. When TMZ.com reposted images of the Duggars’ child, commenters voiced disgust: “This is wrong. SO wrong,” one wrote.

We’re watching perinatal death following the trajectory of divorce before it—from stigma and silence to over-sharing as boundaries are tested and even blurred. The week the song Glory dropped, Slate’s “Dear Prudence” columnist Emily Yoffe fielded a question from a woman whose sister delivered a full-term stillborn child and wanted to send out a “birth” announcement with a photo of her and her husband holding their dead child. Yoffe advised against it: though the couple had “suffered a crushing loss,” she wrote, it would be wiser to circulate the image among intimates only; a “birth” notice would be “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred.

The public focus on pregnancy, now routinely announced before the high-risk first trimester via Facebook’s new “Expected: Child” option, can heighten the sense of loss and stoke anger among women whose pregnancies end suddenly, says Purdie. The Web’s virtual nature is a haven for celebrating unborn children, some of whom even have their own Facebook pages. “There’s pregnant people and babies everywhere,” one woman grieving an early-term miscarriage vented on Ling’s website. Purdie notes that returning to work or social circles where women have children or are pregnant can be alienating for those who’ve lost their baby: “Women feel it’s a club they don’t belong to.”

But, as blogs attest, mobilizing around loss can amplify it, and extend the mourning process. “Mother of an Angel,” a regular poster on Ling’s website, reports she’s so mired in grief three years after losing her child she’s neglecting her other children. David Morrison, president of the Strathmor Group, a health consultancy in Charlottetown specializing in grief and palliative-care counselling, has seen the focus on perinatal death stall the healthy grieving process. Putting a lifelike photograph of a stillborn child in an office, for instance, could create awkwardness with co-workers, he says: “Such a public parade of grief risks alienating people who could provided important support.”

Grief counsellors observe that honouring and ritualizing fetal death can also blur legal distinctions of what constitutes life, a topic under debate in the U.S. election and potentially in Canada, as Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth tries to reopen the abortion debate with his proposal that Parliament study whether the definition of “human being” is contemporaneous with medical imaging. As Breen puts it: “You can talk about the legal aspects of how people define life, but in a health centre people don’t say, ‘The fetus died at 16 weeks.’ That’s clinical language. They say, ‘Our baby has died,’ and that goes with a host of grief and life adjustments.” Which means that the evolving focus on perinatal death potentially affects far more than bereaved families.




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Are we over-sharing lost pregnancies?

  1. the person who wrote this has clearly never experienced the loss of a child. Why shouldn’t we share our loss? So it’s OK to talk about losing a parent, losing a sibling, losing a husband, but not about losing our children?  and a stillbirth IS still a birth. Did the woman not have to go through labour, did she not push out a baby, did that baby not once live, even if they died before birth. I am PROUD of my son, he may have only lived for 17 days, but I am PROUD of him and PROUD to share him. If someone has an issue with that they can go away, they can leave. He is my son, I’m a proud parent, if I have to see endless photos of everyone else’s babies, laughing and smiling and cooing, then people can see my son. I never had a chance to get those photos, the ones I have are ALL I have, and I’m not ashamed of them.  And anyone who has ever lost a child will understand this. 

    • AMEN! I pray it never happens to the author. They probably surround themselves with people who think like them right now and will have NO ONE to talk to about it.

    • Why would you be proud of a baby who accomplished nothing?

      • Her Son accomplished a lot. He battled against all of the odds for 17 days, he helped her future pregnancies because of what he went through as the doctors now know ways they can help, he touched the lives and hearts of numerous people around him and will never be forgotten and he changed lives for the better, he brought people closer and gave others a greater sense of what is actually important in this world. I’m sorry that you are too small minded and ignorant to think that he accomplished nothing.

      • What an absolute joke! I’ve never heard of anything as rude and heartless as this. You would not feel this way if you or anyone you know and loved went through this. Having the baby in your life for so long and then that baby being taken away is a major thing. Life itself is an accomplishment and some of us are not as lucky as you who wastes it upsetting people with your disgusting comments. My baby was not meant for this world but I still love her so much and i’m proud that against the odds she made it as far as she did. I will never forget her and I will never stop loving her and I certainly wont stop talking about her or having pictures up just because it may make somone else feel uncomfortable.

      • My son accomplished more in his short life than you have in your entire life. He fought for FOUR weeks with no amniotic fluid, and then he fought for 17 days to stay with us, despite the brain hemmorhages and the lung problems and the seizures. He fought and touched the lives of HUNDREDS of people across the world. And he gave life to all the babies that follow, because we can prevent this happening again. You may have lived a longer life than my son, but look at how heartless and pathetic you are! Ask yourself, what have YOU accomplished?

        • I dont think he understood the extent of what your son went through or what his struggle for life did for the science of pregnancy and birth. 

        • This comment was deleted.

          • You obviously know nothing of preterm premature rupture of membranes, and how unlikely it is for a baby to survive that and live at all. He fought, he could have just given up, but he didn’t. I would also watch out, because the universe has a funny way of paying back people who are cruel. If could happen to you, if you ever have a son or daughter, think of that while you hold them! Genetically my son was perfect, he was just born too son, due to cervical insufficiency (go on google it Mr Ignorant). And talking of bad genetics…look what your mother raised? 

      •  You are one heartless s.o.b.

      • You are a horrible human being

      • What a ridiculous, ignorant comment. Let me tell you what my grandson stillborn at 36 weeks accomplished. When his mother, my wonderful daughter-in-law held him in her arms she said, and these words will live with me forever..”How can something so small with no experience of the world teach us all so much about it” Because in the few hours that we spent with him all of our lives were completely put into perspective.When you are united in an event so profound, your life changes forever. What my grandson accomplished was to teach us this lesson; that life is fragile and take nothing for granted. I’d say that was a huge accomplishement. Thank you Ben. Loved forever.

      • Your a an insensitive jackass, and clearly have no clue. Its idiots like you with comments like that that make people who have experienced the loss of a child want to drive your head through the floor.

  2. This article definitely rubs me the wrong way. As a woman who suffered a miscarriage at 10 1/2 weeks back in 2005, I want people to know what I’ve been through.  Clearly the person who wrote this has, thankfully, never suffered such a loss. We’ve made these losses so public because we can’t hold it in.  We need to know it’s ok to grieve and we want people to ask about it and not just brush it off by saying “It was meant to be” or “You can try again”  Yes it’s a taboo subject, but we want to change that and let women who may experience loss in the future that they have indeed lost a child, someone died.  It’s ok to be sad about it and want to share your feelings, isn’t that part of the whole grieving process?

    •  That’s pretty presumptuous of you to assume the writer has never been through anything like you, just because she is capable of writing something like this. Not all people grieve the same way.

      • By the same thought, Zombie, the author is stomping on how others grieve. The author is wanting everyone to see her side, but refusing to see other’s sides. You have to give respect to others in order to get it back. The author fails at respect with this.

        • Except they’re pointing to issues that don’t make sense. Grieving is fine, which is quite clear from the article; they know that people need to mourn situations in order to overcome them (not forget about, not ignore, but overcome).

          The author is pointing out at how over-sharing isn’t helping. Case in point, the woman who lost one child and is now neglecting THREE who are a live. Sorry, but people like that need to be shown as examples. You have living children who need you, so go get help; go to counselling, go to meetings, join a forum, but don’t dwell on it because you have other children who are depending on you to, you know, be a MOM. It’s the same thing with losing anyone else; you can’t just shut down and stop everything in your life because you lost someone. You need to find healthy ways of dealing with that, and clearly there are people who cannot do it with the way people are now over-sharing it for whatever reason.

          If you push away people who would gladly support you by doing something that is so exceptionally awkward, you’re harming yourself in the grieving process and making it more difficult. That’s what I’m reading here.

          •  Not everyone who is grieving who is sharing DOES neglect their other children. You can’t judge an entire community of people based on one person. That’s stupid.

            It has nothing to do with pushing away people who support you. Do you not realize that losing a child will impact you for LIFE. After a year? These people are no longer there. They vanish and you are forced to go online to try and find people who understand that it STILL hurts even years later.

          • It MUST be helping if so many are doing it. As the mother of a child who was Born Still 3 days before he was due, yes, he was BORN , via c section, just as my other son. He weighed 7 lbs 14 oz), I find that sharing DOES help me, it helps others to know that they’re not alone, and it brings AWARENESS. People talk about their grandmothers who have passed away, their other family members, etc. Since we’re the mothers of these precious babies, we are free to share them with whomever we choose, also. 

    • AMEN. The taboo behind these losses is stupid. We have to edit ourselves for other’s comfort and that’s just WRONG. There is no respect to the people who have experienced the loss!

      • I think editing ourselves for others’ comfort is part of living in a civil society–that’s why people who don’t stop themselves from saying “But you can always have another baby, right?” are creeps, after all.  That doesn’t mean we have to pretend that loss didn’t happen, or is insignificant; our comfort counts too, after all.  But it doesn’t give us carte blanche to do anything we like as long as it helps with the grieving process, either, especially as what feels good at the moment may actually end up being worse for us in the long run. 

      • I completely agree. Why should I edit myself for other’s comfort? Does the woman who was pregnant at the same time I was edit herself? No she flaunts her living baby around without a thought to the pain she is causing. As for pushing away supportive people- seriously? In my life (and sadly so many), people who have never experienced this loss are only supportive until the funeral is over (if there is even a funeral). Then they expect mothers and fathers to move on. That is why so many of us search for other bereaved mothers and fathers, to know we are not alone.

  3. I feel that this article is coming from a person who has NEVER experienced a loss. This isn’t something us mothers, who have lost children want to be apart of, but it is very much our reality. Unless you know how it feels first hand or stood in our shoes you would NEVER understand our expression of the loss of our babies! It is not DISTURBING sharing our unborn children with the world, everyone is entitled to their own ways of expression, and I hope nobody ever has to feel this loss. This is not TABOO, it happens every day. Just let us express our feelings and hurt and leave us alone. 

    • How do you know that the author hasn’t had a miscarriage? 

      • ‘Feeling’ and ‘knowing’ are two separate things

    •  Not all people grieve the same way, and I find it presumptuous of you to suggest the author has never suffered a loss. I found this article to be well-written, and she is simply posing a question. Why are you so pissed off over it? And this (just so you don’t have to get any “feelings” about me) is coming from someone who has suffered a loss.

      • So you believe women should pretend these things never happen? Is it not better for people to know these things happen instead of pretending all pregnancies end in a live birth. Where do you want these women to go to for support? Or would you rather they not get any support?

        • The article mentioned support groups. Oversharing is not support.

          • How is it over sharing? How is what the Duggars did over sharing? How is what the Santorum’s did over sharing? How is what anyone mentioned in the article oversharing? You don’t like it, don’t look. Its how the families are getting through a very hard time and its how they are processing it. No parent should ever outlive their child. It goes against nature and we are left with nothing but questions as to why it had to happen the way it did. Why is there no respect for the people going through the losses? Why are we forced to censor ourselves because it might make others squirm? That doesn’t make sense.
            Support groups don’t work for everyone either. I’ve tried therapy and my therapist didn’t even bother trying to see it from my side, research what happened in our case, and even went so far as to tell me to censor myself for other’s sake. How is that going to help me grieve? I fail to see how anyone mentioned in the article is forcing their deceased down anyone’s throat. Its how they are choosing to grieve, and that should be RESPECTED.

          • Posting the picture of your stillborn son is a massive overshare. 
            And the Santorum’s bringing the 20 week old fetus home and letting their children hold it – thats really weird. 
            Big surprise these people are Pro-Lifers.

            “No parent should ever outlive their child. It goes against nature and we are left with nothing but questions as to why it had to happen the way it did. ”  Its nature that causes a miscarrage…

            Having a miscarriage is hard and sad. Losing a fetus after 20 weeks hard and sad also. But the grieving process should make sense to the amount of “life” the child had.

          • kk_belle
            Nature doesn’t cause miscarriage all the time, there are many reasons women miscarry and many preventable reasons.
            Cancer is nature and it kills people but I am sure neither of us would ever say that those people deserve death or need to get over it because it’s nature. In fact the world puts a lot of money and scientific research into finding a cure.
            Have you ever seen a ‘fetus’ at 20 weeks. In Australia from 20 weeks on this ‘fetus’ if born early must be registered as a birth.
            You have to understand that many of the parents that are so outraged by this article knew their unborn children for a lot longer than you and I. Attached to that child is hopes and dreams os a future as well.
            A child develops a personality, behaviours, sleeping patterns, favourite foods and sensations long before birth. All women who have carried a child know this.
            I hope one day you get to experience how amazing pregnancy is and realise how wrong you were to make such insensitive comments.

      • Then the author needs to realize that not everyone ELSE grieves the same way either. People are doing what THEY Need to do, no explanation necessary. correct?

  4. Wow time to step out of the dark ages. The very fact that you refer to 
    Rick Santorum’s son as ‘it’ and that a still birth isn’t a birth, speaks loudly of the taboo still existing around infant loss. Babies die, it is more painful than you can imagine and research has shown that those who were told to forget, go home and have another has brought long term psychological torment. That people especially celebrities are breaking the silence is a truly wonderful thing.Yes it may make you feel uncomfortable for a little while but imagine for a second how much pain exists for bereaved parents for a lifetime. 

    Something to think about borrowed from myths on the death of a child.
    The truth is, thirty years after the death of Elvis Presley, the whole country stops to recognize him with candlelight vigils in Grace land. The event is televised worldwide on CNN and every other news station and television station in the USA. This is a completely acceptable practice which millions of Americans, young and old, partake in. Yet, the same communities would have grieving parents questioning their own sanity when they chose to participate in an event, or for quietly memorializing someone far more important in their life- their own child.  

    Pregnancy loss is no where near ‘over-shared’, if it was there would be more understanding than judging, more support than ridicule and no need for an article like this feeding the taboos and justifying the discomfort people feel when faced with a parent that remembers their child.

    •  Well Said xx

    • Totally agree with you. Thanks for posting your thoughts!

    • Funny that you mentioned Elvis his brother died very young too. I wonder if poor Grace had to endure the death of that child alone.

  5. I agree. As someone who has experienced four miscarriages and someone who was active in the blogging community, how dare you say that others, as they reach out for support in their grief, as “oversharing”?  Why should it be hidden, as if it’s something to be ashamed of?  Why should people have to grieve a loss in silence?

  6. What a ridiculous article! A loss of a child whether it is from miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death is a great heartbreak. Every mother or parent should be allowed to grieve how they see fit even if it is “oversharing” . I hope you never know the pain some women have had to experience. Also your “article” has information that is incorrect. Michelle Duggar did not lose her child at 25 weeks, she found out at 19 weeks the baby’s heart had quit beating. Do your research!

  7. I had to scroll up to the top of this article to check if this was written by a man, total disbelief that a woman wrote these words. If your a mother, I suggest you go home hold the child you have and think of the dreams you had for that child when you first seen those 2 lines. Then think of your life without that child. Us mom’s that are sharing our miscarriages and pregnancy losses are doing so as a way to cope with the grief that will never leave us. Our lives will eventually for most go on, but forever a part of us will be broken, a peice of our heart is forever gone. 

    • Not all pregnant women feel that way. 

      •  Until it happens to them

        • Happened to me and I don’t feel that way. Which I suppose makes me “rude and hateful” and that my feelings are less legitimate than yours.

          • No, vixen. But the way the author is going about talking about this, she’s enhancing the taboo. She’s finding a way to make people justified in treating grieving parents like they are crazy.
            I respect how you choose to process what has happened to you, so why can’t the same be shown in return? I don’t know if the author has gone through it herself, but I get the idea she hasn’t by the cold approach and lack of respect for the methods that other parents take. Its really offensive. Every time I’m asked how many children I have, I have to evaluate the situation so that I don’t have to make the person I’m talking to uncomfortable. I have to either say “I have 3 children, one was lost before we knew them, one is a beautiful and thriving toddler, and the third is a daughter we lost to a devestating lung defect at 20 days.
            This article makes your feelings, vixen, more valid than mine. I have to hear others talk about their children, but I shouldn’t be able to talk about mine, dead or alive?

  8. My son was born at 21w5d gestation. He was born alive and lived for 55 minutes. He was not stillborn and it was not a miscarriage. Get your facts straight.  Why shouldn’t I be able to honor him and remember him the way that I do my other, living child?

    Would it be any different if my son was 2 or 6 or 10 when he passed? Should I not have pictures of him around? Should I not grieve for the life that he didn’t get to live.

    I understand people are sensitive to the images but this was a CHILD. Someone’s baby. Doesn’t matter the age the child was when it passed. Doesn’t matter if the child died in the womb or after. If you don’t like it or it makes you uncomfortable — too bad. Just think about what that mother and father live with every single day.

    The worst thing someone can do to a mother who has lost a child is pretend he/she didn’t exist.

    • Share your pictures and story with me. We will honor our passed children together.

  9. Dear Anne Kingston, 
    Nice of you to report on something you obviously have no experience with. Why did you even waste the time to write this? Has someone offended you with a photo of their dead baby? Were you freaked out by it? Give me a break! When a baby dies there is absolutely no wrong way to grieve! If a parent wants to take photos of their baby that is up to them! A stillborn baby is still a BIRTH. I BIRTHED a stillborn baby myself and consider her a part of our family and always will. What an insensitive article, did you even consider what we go through as women who have given birth to dead babies? Ever stop to wonder what it would be like to be pregnant and then instead of a photographer coming to take photos of your alive newborn they are there to take photos of your dead baby? Do you know how much heartbreak goes on? In the past stillborn babies were not celebrated as they are now and I am sad for the women who weren’t allowed by ‘society’ to celebrate the births of their stillborns. Thank God for companies like Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, thank God for people who understand and sympathize with us when these losses happen. 

    No one can CONTROL HOW SOMEONE GRIEVES. If a woman chooses to talk about her deceased  baby every single day that is up to her. If you are uncomfortable with it that is your problem.

    • First of all, I’m very sorry for your loss. I
      can’t understand what you must have gone through. I would just like to point
      out that nowhere in this article does Ms. Kingston give her own opinion on this
      topic. The line in which I believe you are referring to about the man with the
      picture in his office was a quote by David Morrison, president of the Strathmor Group, not her own
      views.  She gives a very well-rounded article on how
      other people feel. She talks about how some feel you should talk about it and
      that it is not a bad thing to share, and how other people think it is not
      healthy, All she did was inform the public on what other people are thinking
      and asked if you agree with them. There is no need to attack her personally
      because you don’t agree with some of the people she quoted.

    •  Sure, in the sense that being uncomfortable is always a listener’s problem rather than the speaker’s problem; that’s true whether it’s talk of a bereavement or of anything else.

      But I’m not seeing this article as saying that people need to shut up and never talk about loss; I think it’s saying that our publicly lived lives can in this instance encourage a kind of sharing that may not actually be helpful to us in the long run.  Would you be willing to consider that somebody might spend more time than is good for them talking every day about that loss, for years and years, say?  That while it’s good that it’s accepted for people to speak and grieve openly, it is possible for the pendulum to swing too far away from silence? 

  10. a “birth” notice would be “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred.
    Ummmm . . . .a birth DID occur. How do you think the baby emerged from her body? By magic? She just teleported that baby right on out of there? She still had to give birth to her child.

    I do appreciate that this is not the author’s comment but really?
    “fetus fetishization.” – hmmm, interesting concept. I gave birth to twins at 23 weeks, one of whom is now three year and a half. But I guess I should not have loved her from the moment I gave birth, I should have held off until she was a decent enough age to be deemed worthy of maternal love and not mere fetishization. Hmmmm? And as for mourning her sister, that was obviously unseemly and made other people feel awkward. 
    I do wonder what all these pundits would do if they ever found themselves in the situation in which I found myself? 

    • RE: “…a “birth” notice would be “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred…”

      In the specific case referenced I see her point. The woman in question gave birth to a dead child. A birth notice could be confusing to people and result in unfortunate expressions of congratulations rather than the proper expression of condolences.

      I’m not saying one shouldn’t neccesarily announce, but great caution should be taken in ensuring that the situation is made clear.

      Birth is one of the most happy occasions and death the opposite. It affects people very personally and deeply all around.

      Seems to me the author was pretty much correct on that one situation.

      • That point was not made by the author of this article. She was quoting Slate’s Emily Yoffe. 

        I am not debating the rights and wrongs of sending out a birth announcement after the death of a child or a child born still. You have misunderstood my comment and I actually agree with some of the points you make, it could lead to confusion and upset and care needs to be taken.

        However I AM taking issue with the phrase ‘an actual birth hadn’t occurred.’ Of course it did. An actual birth did occur. I am fairly certain on that front. Birth and death are not mutually exclusive, sadly. Sometimes they happen very, very close together and pretending that a child who died in the womb, or during labour, or even after birth, was never born?! That just seems nonsensical. 

        Birth is not just a ‘happy occasion’ – it is a biological process. When it is sad, a child is born dead or who is expected to die shortly after birth, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

        You are confusing birth with sending out a birth announcement. Two different things.

        • As I noted elsewhere, perhaps then there is a misunderstanding concerning the multiple meanings of the term “birth.”
           
          Seems to me she’s thinking of birth not as ”the emergence of a baby or other young from the body of its mother” but instead as the beginning of the experiences one has as a living human being ie “the start of life as a physically separate being”.
           
          Both are definitions of birth after all.
           
          While clearly labour happens in both cases, I would think that rather than a birth announcement, which implies they are alive, one would be sending out a death announcement, you know, because they died?
           
          That’s my thinking on it anyhow.

          • Thank you for the clarification Phil and I do understand your point about birth 

            I suppose I simply find it puzzling. If an ‘actual’ birth is to occur, do you think Ms Yoffe requires it to fulfil both definitions? Not only the emergence of young but that young must, by definition, be alive.  Does the process of labour and producing a child it then become something else (not a birth) if the child is not born alive? A member of the blogging community has referred to the birth of a dead child as a dirth. Perhaps we could agree on sending out a dirth announcement?

            Again, I’m not arguing about the issue of the appropriateness of sending out birth or death announcements. That is a very personal choice that only the parents of the child can make. I happen to live in a culture that doesn’t really ‘do’ birth announcements so it isn’t something I have a great deal of understanding of anyhow.

            It is the phrase ‘since an actual birth hadn’t occurred’ I find hard to understand and somewhat hurtful. To my mind, it sounds a little dismissive although, as this quote is taken out of context, perhaps my initial comment was unnecessarily fiery! 

          • I was only speculating on what I believe is her likely line of thought of course, but that said, it’s still the worst possible word choice on her part. I mean the fact that this could be taken in very different ways should’ve been obvious upon reflection.

            You’d think the editor at least would’ve caught that one. Hopefully they learned something from this, most importantly: Topics like this need to be handled with the greatest care and respect.

            So maybe she had a kick in the teeth coming? I don’t rightfully know. I hate to think so since I don’t think she meant to be offensive.

            I do know that seeing so many people overcome with so much disbelieve and pain makes me want to minimize any misunderstandings and find common ground between what was said and what was likely meant. Probably makes me the cliche guy trying to “fix things” but what can you do? LOL

            I’m always pushing myself to understand what someone is trying to communicate while thinking the best of people, so I glossed it over, but obviously I can see how this could be honestly taken as offensive from a certain perspective.

            As far as the announcements, it’s just my opinion, but personally I’d stick with calling them “death notices” or “obituraries” not because it’s neccesarily the best word choice to express individual interpretations, but because most people understand what that means and know how to respond.

            After all, part of social cohesion is having a common “playbook” right?

            Then again, if people start a movement of “dirth announcements” it could rewrite that playbook, so perhaps what matters most is that we have this discussion in the first place?

            Cheers and best wishes,

            PK

  11.  This
    is just pure ignorance! How dare someone say I shouldn’t talk about my
    children because it might make someone uncomfortable! If what I say or
    post makes people uncomfortable then I don’t need them in my life
    anyways! I am never going to hide the fact that I have 2 angels waiting
    for me in heaven I am proud to be a mommy of ALL 4 of my children!

  12. Sure, stay in your bubble where everything upsetting in the world is swept under the rug and scrubbed from your awareness. Ignorance is bliss. 

    • Ignorance is only bliss to the ignorant, it just pisses everyone else off.  My blood is boiling because of this article.  I don’t think the author knows how isolating this kind of loss is because of views like hers.  Why is grieving the loss of a baby, no matter the age, any different from grieving a parent, spouse or other loved one?

      • Oh believe me, there was sarcasm dripping from my “voice” as I typed what I did! The author is completely ignorant on the subject, and I, unfortunately, know it all too well, with three losses to date.

  13. Wow. How insensitive to judge the way others grieve. I have lost 5 pregnancies and I can tell you that each loss has topped the list of most traumatic things that have happened in my lifetime. Why should we be banished to grieve in silence in an already depressing time? To talk to others, to share, to memorialize helps to get through it. To know that there are others that have been there (and gotten through it) is inspiring. If nothing more, others that have shared before just lets you know that you are not alone, nor a freak. Four years after my sixth (and last) loss and I am still planning the memorial tattoo that I’d put off…just to be sure. I guess it’s innocent ignorance. I hope you always remain innocent in your ignorance. I would not wish the pain of a pregnancy or infant loss on anyone.

    •  Why would you keep getting pregnant after the 3rd miscarriage.  It’s like 1: Holy crap that sucks.  2:  Shit I have horrible luck.  3:  My uterus must not want to host a baby, maybe I should stop.

      • Eli that was uncalled for. Use your words wisely and think of the pain and hurt you could cause by using them carelessly.
        The need to have a child is a very deep natural thing and isn’t so easily dismissed.
        Have heart.

      • Yeah, that stung a bit. But, since you asked (and assuming you’re being genuine in asking), I’ll tell you. I just could not give up hope that I’d be able to have a child of my own. It was never even a consideration for myself or my husband to give up. We learned a lot along the way and with a little help were finally blessed to have one healthy pregnancy go to term. If I’d ever given up, I wouldn’t have my son.

  14. I encourage you to do a bit more research on this subject which you clearly have no experience with. Read some real stories of real mothers who have endured this most tragic loss and try to put yourself in their shoes. http://www.facesofloss.com

    • You tell her!!!!

  15. This article has many inaccuracies. Michelle Duggar lost a baby at 19 weeks (the baby measured 16 weeks), not 25 weeks. Her 19th child, Josie was born prematurely at 25 weeks (I know this and don’t even watch the show). I’ve personally suffered the loss of a child, and it was truly the most devasting experience I have ever been through. Why should I be forced to keep that pain in? Why do we – as a society – find miscarriage, still birth and infant loss – such a taboo topic? I feel completely different than the point this article is trying to convey – too many women choose NOT to talk about these experiences. I needed to talk about what happened to me and I was overwhelmed with the amount of women who had come forward with their own experiences that they had never before shared. The death of ANY baby should be mourned and spoken about, not swept under the rug.

  16. I am in shock…I am sitting at my desk right now staring at my beautiful baby girl that passed away at birth. I cannot believe someone would think or write these horrible things. And please FEEL FREE to check out my blog http://www.lovealwaysleavesamark.blogspot.com I write about our sweet baby girl who will FOREVER be loved and cherished and REMEMBERED…

  17. Miscarriage is not something to be ashamed of and it is something that grieving couples need to talk about. If you think the country is over-sharing, you have NO idea.  Many couples don’t tell anyone or tell very few people.  The reason those people don’t feel comfortable talking about is because of people like you, who don’t want to be bothered with their bad news.  Do you also think that people over-share when grieving the loss of someone in their life?  Do they over-share when they find out they have cancer?  Or, are those situations ok and miscarriage is not?  Clearly, you have never experienced this devastating loss. Especially after experiencing infertility and paying $20,000 just to get pregnant, only to lose it. Shame on you.

  18. Wow– you are amazingly cold and insensitive! How many losses have you had? If you have never had a stillbirth, don’t talk about it without gaining some first-hand knowledge (I doubt seriously you had a personal conversation with anyone mentioned in your article). If the only examples you have are celebrities, politicians and reality stars (though I do not judge them for how they choose to grieve, I have other issues with some of their beliefs), you are very ignorant on this subject. Whatever happened to “write what you know”?

  19. You obviously haven’t lost a child. Your article proves just how much we are under sharing lost pregnancies. Let me grieve the way I want.

  20. Obviously this is a highly subjective topic, and one’s beliefs, spirituality and personal values come into play here far more than anything else.

    We lost our first potential daughter in the second trimester. We had her name decided upon and were very excited while waiting for her to arrive.

    My wife started bleeding and was rushed to hospital while I was away on a business trip. I rushed back to find our potential baby gone and my wife pale, weak and in need of surgery to clear up complications related to the miscarriage. I nearly lost her too.

    Fortunately my wife recovered, and a few years later she became pregnant again and soon after our first daughter was born.

    I’ve always believed that both pregnancies bore the same spirit, ie that my daughter’s spirit was just waiting for a body that could carry her to us. 

    Of course that extends from my belief in reincarnation; that a body is just a vessel, but the spirit is immortal, and will come back into the universe one way or another. So for me it was a loss eventually set right.

    While I am writing this however, I must admit that I understand the author’s perspective. Like all issues related to morbidity, it can seem gruesome to those who have not experienced this type of thing. They have no need to dwell on such horrible things, even if some of us do. So I would suggest that some consideration on both sides should be observed.

    I also do have concerns that this type of very personal experience might be used by some to pass laws that unduly control women who do not agree with the resulting subjective opinions that some of us hold. It seems to me that freewill is fundamental to existence and is not wisely tampered with.

    And so as I often do, I come down on both sides of this issue seeing two equally valid points of view. I merely hope that we can continue to work towards a mutual understanding we all can live with.

  21. Dear Anne Kingston:

    I’m writing as the author one of the “myriad of miscarriage blogs” that you refer to.  And guess what?  I’m proud of it.    Clearly you have never experienced a loss yourself or your insensitivity and lack of empathy wouldn’t have been so obvious in your article. 

    My husband and I tried to have a child for three years.  While trying to have a child, we experienced four miscarriages in a one and a half year time period.  We sought several medical opinions and I underwent numerous procedures, yet I continued to miscarry.  We found out that we were pregnant again in November 2010 and I gave birth to a healthy baby girl in July of 2011. 

    We will never know why.  We will never have answers.  Although we are eternally thankful for our baby girl, the never knowing will always haunt us.

    I tried therapy.  I tried medication.  I eventually retreated emotionally and pretty much suffered in silence.  People didn’t understand.  Sometimes I felt like my husband didn’t understand.  What got me through those three years were the “myriad of miscarriage blogs and stillbirth tribute pages” that you referred to.

    Why?  The infertility and loss community is like no other.   Online, I was able to connect with people who understood and who didn’t minimize my pain.  Sites like http://www.facesofloss.org allowed women to attach a story and name to their face and connect with others.   Though blogging, I “met” countless other people who shared my experience and “got it”.  I finally, finally felt understood.  Had I experienced that type of understanding in real life, coping with the grief would have been much more bearable.

    Those who reach out to others when they are grieving aren’t going “from stigma and silence to over-sharing as boundaries are tested and even blurred”, as you stated in your article.   They are trying to cope and reach out to others for support.   What could the possible harm be in reaching out to others?  

    Because of the stigma attached to miscarriage, here I am at the end of my letter to you and I don’t know how to sign it.  There’s a large part of me that feels it should be anonymous.  Why?  Why should there be  a stigma associated with miscarriage?  Why should I feel ashamed or embarrassed for suffering such painful losses?  I shouldn’t, yet I do.  Why?  Because people like you judge those of us who reach out to others for comfort.

  22. I cant believe you said a StillBIRTH isnt an actual birth… How do you suppose that baby got here? A child can be born alive and with a heartbeat, but not take a breath and is considered stillborn because the lack of taking a single breath… You have never experienced a loss apparently, and it is articles like this that ALIENATE grieving mothers from speaking about their children. I dont care who is uncomfortable… If someone can show photos of their living child without others being uncomfortable, they I should be able to show a photo of my child without people being uncomfortable. After all, a child is a child, deceased or not! I find ALL children to be beautiful and EVERY parent should be able toshare their child with the WORLD without shame and people spouting IGNORANCE from their mouths. If you dont like a photo of any kind, dont look!

    • I dont think theres anything wrong with wanting to have a few photographic mementos or talking to someone who understands what you’ve been through. I also knew a few women/couples that held funerals for their stillborn children (even if they couldn’t take the body home, they put photos & some small trinkets in an urn or coffin) & they felt it greatly helped with being able to say goodbye and let go. But doing things like keeping a 3-5yr old blog for one incident, neglecting the children you already have, posting a public album of 20+ photos of your stillborn child on FB when 1 or 2 private pictures would be more appropriate, & talking/acting as if the child is still alive is a sign you should seek otherwise you’ll just keep extending your mourning period.

  23.  WHAT?! I can’t even comprehend the ignorance, like others before me; it is clear that this woman has never faced such loss. My husband and I suffered the loss of our full term – day after the due date otherwise perfectly healthy son. It was utterly heart breaking and not just for us but our parents who were expecting their grand son (for mine, their first grandchild) our siblings mourned the death of their nephew and our two teen nephews grieved for the cousin they’d never know. We’re all learning how to deal with this, children aren’t supposed to die. The bereaved coming together through online forums, blogs, annual events and organizations is what makes this even remotely bearable. It doesn’t take away the pain, but knowing we’re not alone helps.  I raise awareness for Pregnancy & Infant Loss because there is another story like ours, another family aching to know they are not alone – they deserve comfort.

    I’m absolutely disgusted that there are such small minded people out there.

  24. Two more things:

    1. I have been through labor and delivery 4 times, and I have to take issue with the “statement that an actual birth had not occurred. Did this idiot mean to say “live birth” (because she was uncomfortable with the reality of the loss)? I have been through full labor and delivery 4 times– two of my children passed shortly before delivery (3 and 5 weeks away from schedule induction dates). There wasn’t any difference in what I went through, other than there was no crying at delivery and I left empty-handed and broken-hearted.

    2.  @Phil King: Do you and your wife have  different perspectives on your loss? My husband and I certainly do. My last loss was over 4 years ago, and I am involved in the loss support community. He has acted as if it never happened from the second we left the hospital.

  25. so it’s only over sharing if we talk about our dead babies?  we can “over share” our live babies as much as we want?   this is one of THE most ridiculous articles I’ve seen.  We’re (the babyloss community) is finally starting to get child loss out in the open and then it’s labeled as “over sharing”. Never liked MacLeans,  NEVER will now!

    • Please don’t overshare any of your babies….

  26. I’ve personally been through the hell of losing a baby 3 times. I would not wish it on my worst anybody. It must be spoken about, so that women like me, don’t feel so alone when it does, so that we can ALL access the help and reach out.   People in the limelight have such power to share and make others not feel so lost and isolate. Shame on the author of this article.

  27. I hope you never know the pain you want to pretend is so unnatural. It is not the fault of women who have lost their children that we have open grief, it is yours (an anyone else who has a problem with it) for being so insensitive. It’s awkward to be around ANYONE who is experiencing grief.

    Your insensitivity is astounding and I hope you are forced to issue an apology for making your entire organization look like dark age crusaders.

    PS I am extremely offended you turned this into a religious issue. Atheist women like myself lose and mourn their children. My daughter was born 3 months early and lived for 4 1/2 months. Her name was Olivia Reegan, she was an amazing person you fought hard to live in a world you and people like you take for granted.

    Shame on you.

  28. Also, no one was forced to look at Duggars photos, they chose to out of their sick curiosity for the morbid aspect of the world. They were released by a crappy hollywood blog for entertainment purposes. You act like they showed them on their television show. Women need support and because of people like you we have to turn to the Internet to find it, so stay out of our business and it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

    Correct yourself.

  29. All I can say is wow. I experienced an infant loss in August 2010. My daughter was BORN and DIED 26 days later. What shall I do? Just pretend those 26 days didn’t exist? What an asinine proposal. Ignorance is bliss. Be glad you’ve never experienced such a loss. This is a reason there is no word for a parent who loses a child. It’s something that changes a person permanently.

  30. Written by someone who never had their life touched by an angel. It’s a pity that in this society we can plaster who slept with whom, failed marriages, but we can’t celebrate life that was shorter than it should have been. I suffered a miscarriage in 2009 and even though I never even knew the baby’s gender.

    Why can we greive over some singer we never personally knew but not over our own children? Think before you post.

  31. I have suffered loss. I know what it feels like. The writer is not
    suggesting we keep it to ourselves. There’s sharing & there’s
    over-sharing. Taking a pic of yourself with your baby who died at birth
    then framing it & posting it at your office.. That’s just sick.

    You don’t need anything like that to forget. YOU will never forget
    anyway, and if you’re doing it so that OTHERS around you don’t forget..
    there are other ways. And if they don’t care anyway, you can’t force them to.

    If someone had taken a pic of MY dead baby.. I would have slapped them.
    To me that’s just disrespectful. That is a real person who has died. They deserve better.

    • I’m guessing your loss did not result in an intense labor and delivery of a child. If you don’t like it don’t do, it’s pretty simple.

      No one knows how to mind their damn business and THIS is what’s wrong with the world.

      • Take your own advice; “If you don’t like it don’t do, it’s pretty simple.” – Why did you keep reading and now criticizing others?

        • Because I buried my 4 1/2 month old daughter and I don’t think it yours or anyone else’s place to judge what I do to get to tomorrow. And I will stand up for the amazingly strong women I have met along the way to make sure dumb articles like this don’t scare these and other women away.

          Walk a day in my shoes or practice empathy.

          • But you are judging everybody else, and belittling “kat’s” loss because she didn’t have a full term baby (you assume)?  How is that not heartless and uncaring and judging?  Walk in her shoes. Or anybody else’s you don’t agree with but has suffered.  You are not the only person who suffered.  People grieve in all different ways.

          • I would not belittle anyone else’s loss– however to state someone else is “sick” as though that is a fact and not an opinion is judgmental and offensive. I think it was a provocative statement and no one should be surprised by childless mother’s response. Grieving in different ways should not include name-calling others.

    • Your opinion. I have pictures of both of my “dead babies” (I am in the ones with my son, but not the ones with my daughter). They are one of the few things I have of them. They are my son and daughter as much as my living son and daughter (who were 8 & 9 and 9 & 10 when they were lost and had been involved with my entire pregnancy, so they grieve as well). I have only shared them with a few people, but I do not judge others. I’m sorry for your loss, and sad you feel the need to lash out at other Loss Mothers. Peace.

  32. Are we over sharing lost pregnancies? 
    is it over sharing? or is it the media who report on every aspect of others lives and sensationalise it, like you just have with this title adding ‘parents reach out in sometimes disturbingly public ways’ or is it just the nature of social media that all aspects of our lives are more on display than ever before?

    ‘a sad reality in at least 20 per cent of pregnancies’
    this does not make it more bearable or less devastating if it is a reality, statistics like these do not make me feel better, lessen my grief or help me make sense of what happened.

    ‘Given the obsession with female fecundity’
    This statement hurt the most. I do not grieve, mourn, cry, for my daughter because the media says I should. I did not bond with my child from the moment I knew she existed inside me because the media told me to. I felt her, I felt sick and tired as she was taking nutrients to build her little body, I got a bump that stuck out for the world to see, I felt her move inside me, she developed sleep patterns I knew, and had favourite foods – I FELT LIFE INSIDE ME. I mourn her because I know her and she is my daughter.

    ‘even if the wider public hasn’t reached such acceptance’ and “Such a public parade of grief risks alienating people who could provided important support.”
    All I can say is my grief is not about you, it is about me and my family. If you can not handle my grief, how the hell are you supposed to support me? 

    ‘birth” notice would be “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred.’
    Do your research. I laboured for 12 hours. My husband and mother were there with me, other family visited me before it began. I pushed and screamed. I gave birth vaginally. When she came out, she was placed on my chest and I felt that flood of pure love that every mother knows. Family visited after. She is loved by her mother, father, grandparents, uncles and aunts. To have her just disappear and not share her with them would have been cruel.
    I have also experienced a miscarriage. I do not suffer the same grief for this child as I do my daughter but never would I assume that other women who have had miscarriages feel the same as I do. Their grief is their own and should be respected.
    commenters voiced disgust: “This is wrong. SO wrong,” one wrote.Who was this? a fifteen year old boy, trolling the internet? was it someone who had never suffered a loss of a child? Don’t give credibility where it isn’t deserved. Don’t include statements just for their inflammatory nature. Over sharing? you are over sensationalising by  including this.
     ’Which means that the evolving focus on perinatal death potentially affects far more than bereaved families.’
    Good. What makes me most angry is that I never new the word stillbirth until it happened
     to me. I thought the dangerous period was those first 12 weeks – one of the biggest lies told to pregnant women. I was tested for diseases and conditions that had statistics like 1 in 600, 1 in 1500 but NEVER was told that still birth happens to 1 in 200 women in Australia. I wasn’t told the signs to look for, or how to minimise your risk. If me talking about what happened to me increases awareness around those I know then I think thats fantastic. I have had women who had stillbirths 10 or more years ago approach me and they have finally been able to share their grief. I have been able to support others who are about to go through the loss of a child. I see this as the gift my daughter gave me. I have a deeper empathy and understanding now. Something the author of this article is severely lacking.

    • Very lovely post– I am sorry for your loss!

  33. I suppose this author has never experienced the loss of a child. Shame on you and your ignorance for even having the balls to write this.

    American media wants the bereaved to stuff down our feelings and move on?

    Sorry, but I can’t help but ache on a day to day basis for the life my son will never live, for all the things I can never share with him. That kind of pain NEVER goes away.

  34. I have never read such insensitive, unfeeling, cruelty in my whole life! Clearly Anne Kingston you have never suffered this kind of loss! Half of your information is wrong and the rest is simply ignorant! My son was born full term at 41 week 4 days and lived for 1 hour. He was not stillborn and only died because the Doctor’s made mistakes during my labor and delivery. I would never wish that pain on anyone! I do think you need a serious lesson in Empathy!!!!!

  35. I don’t think this author understands how horrible child loss is! As much as I can’t stand the duggars, when they lost their child, I was sad for them. When her pictures were released to the public, I wasn’t disgusted, it broke my heart. All of the miscarried, stillborn, SIDS and infant deaths, these were all children who are loved. These parents grieve because they lost someone (not something) they wanted to love. If a celebrity talks of their loss, it shows you that we are all human, no one is better than anyone else. If someone sharing their grief makes you uncomfortable than I suggest you either get over it or never leave your house, read a magazine or watch your tv again. Sharing your story with others helps create a community for those who used to have to keep silent but can now share their story.

  36. So I am one of the people who write Letters to their daughter. That’s right Daughter! NOT fetus. Obviously the writer has been blessed with never having to deliver a stillborn baby.  I watched my baby grow inside of me for almost 40 weeks. 8 and half months! I felt her movie, I saw her in ultrasounds and heard her heartbeat.

    I had 4 long days of labor to deliver a baby who would NOT cry. Who wouldn’t ever cry.  I am glad celebrities are coming out of the closet and talking about it. It’s too bad I still feel so blindsided now – babies don’t die! Or so I thought before that day in Oct.

    Shame on the author for even suggesting that it is over – sharing.  How dare you refer to someone’s baby as an IT. 

    I had started my blog before my baby came into the world sleeping, and felt like I needed to continue it, not just for my readers. But for me.  I struggled long and hard about sharing her photos, but once I did. I was so happy.

    When a family member dies, people talk about them. They show and share photos of said loved one.  It is part of the grieving process.

    I am so angry with this article right now I’m cancelling my subscription to this magazine.

  37. oh and ps I am also one of those people who use their daughter’s photo as my avatar from facebook!

    “One woman in the U.K. even used a photograph of her stillborn child as her Facebook avatar.”

  38. This is not a political issue and never should be.  It’s about the loss of a child.  Is the loss of a 5 year old more tragic than the loss of a 2 year old?  That’s essentially what I’m getting from your claim that miscarriages and pregnancy loss shouldn’t be talked about so openly.  Regardless of when you believe life begins, the parent of a child has hopes and dreams of their child from the moment they realize they are pregnant.  Even if you don’t think a pregnancy is “worth” mourning, how about all the dreams the parents had for that child that will now never have a chance to be realized?

    I have (thankfully) never suffered this loss, but I know and love many who have.  It is real, it is horrific, and it should NOT be hidden and shamed like it has been in the past.  If we talk about it, we develop support.  Support means better healing.  Better healing is good.

  39. I patiently read through this article with an open mind until I hit the comment about stillbirth not being a birth.  This article is a clear display of the lack of cultural awareness around miscarriage and stillbirth. For example, no one would question a mother’s sanity, her grief, a memorial service or her desire to display pictures of a baby that has died of SIDS.  At least in North American culture that baby is accepted and “real” because it lived outside of the womb and it was seen by others.  They have a personal connection to this life.  Well stillbirths are 10 TIMES more common than SIDS yet it remains a taboo subject in our culture.  I assure you my son, Isaiah, was born because I spent 25 hours in labor to push him out myself and I held his beautiful 3lb, 10oz body.  I love the pictures I have of him and proud to share his life with others.  Had he been delivered alive our cultures response would be the exact opposite.  He would be accepted and my love & grief would be accepted as well.  I also openly talk about my other “losses” if I feel the time is appropriate.  I don’t harrass people with my stories but when asked how many children I have I decide how much of the truth I would like to share and I often share more that some people expect to hear.  I don’t have a political agenda, I am just a mom who loves and misses her children. After enduring 3.5 years of awkward silences and ridiculous responses from people finding out that I had a stillborn child, I can assure the author that stillbirth and miscarriage are far from over-shared.  The fact that another mother would marvel that I had to deliver a 29.5 week baby tells me that most people in our culture have no idea what the experience of stillbirth entails.  However, on the other hand there are countless women who have thanked me for my honesty and have finally found the courage to share their heartache with me.  That is why I share – so they don’t feel the isolation and lonliness that is status quo in our culture today.  I hope this author rethinks their ignorance and considers a more compassionate perspective in the future.

  40. I lost my father when I was 15 years old. I lost my son when I was 20 years old. My father lived for 48 years, my son never drew a breath he was 30 weeks gestation. My grief has profoundly changed and shaped who I am as a person. I became an atheist, if  I forget/don’t speak of/remember/share those I loved who have died nothing of them remains. I have helped other children through loss of a parent, I have helped other women through loss of their babies. People like you who wrote such an insensitive article should be pitied.  I hope when you experience loss you eat your words.  

  41. Your article says, “Slate’s “Dear Prudence” columnist Emily Yoffe fielded a question
    from a woman whose sister delivered a full-term stillborn child and
    wanted to send out a “birth” announcement with a photo of her and her
    husband holding their dead child. Yoffe advised against it: though the
    couple had “suffered a crushing loss,” she wrote, it would be wiser to
    circulate the image among intimates only; a “birth” notice would be
    “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred.” Really? You think a full-term stillborn baby is not a “real” birth? I have living children and sadly birthed a child who died during my labour due to a cord accident. I assure you that his birth was every bit as real as my other births, except he didn’t breathe or cry. I can assure you as well that he was a real baby and that if sharing that frightens pro-choicers that they will lose ground maybe they have to consider why they are disturbed by the reality of infant loss. I find it outrageous that anyone who has not had a child die would stand in judgement of those of us who have been bereaved. Our older children held George’s body. They were at his visitation and funeral. Why? Because he was our child and their brother – and a very real baby who is missed and remembered with love.

    • In the specific case referenced I see her point. The woman in question gave birth to a dead child. A birth notice could be confusing to people and result in unfortunate expressions of congratulations rather than the proper expression of condolences.I’m not saying one shouldn’t neccesarily announce, but great caution should be taken in ensuring that the situation is made clear.Birth is one of the most happy occasions and death the opposite. It affects people very personally and deeply all around.Seems to me the author was pretty much correct on that one situation.

      • Again, Phil, I believe you are confusing the act of giving birth with the act of sending out a birth announcement. The sending of a birth announcement does not valid a birth as an ‘actual birth.’ A woman labouring and giving birth does. 

        Again I don’t think George’s mum is taking issue with Emily Yoffe’s advice as to whether or not to send out a birth announcement (please do correct me if I am wrong George’s mum!) but with Ms Yoffe’s reference to the birth of a full-term stillborn child  with the words “an actual birth hadn’t occurred.” I am most certain that it did.

        • * does not validate* a birth! 

        • Just to ensure you caught my response, since this is an incredibly long comment string:

          Perhaps then there is a misunderstanding concerning the multiple meanings of the term “birth.”
           
          Seems to me she’s thinking of birth not as ”the emergence of a baby or other young from the body of its mother” but instead as the beginning of the experiences one has as a living human being ie “the start of life as a physically separate being”.
           
          Both are definitions of birth after all.
           
          While clearly labour happens in both cases, I would think that rather than a birth announcement (which again implies they are alive), one would be sending out a death announcement, you know, because they died?
           
          That’s my thinking on it anyhow.

      • Phil, my problem here (as is my problem with this article in general) is the word choice. Since “an actual birth did not occur” is not a direct quote, I am assuming (and I could be wrong) that those are the author’s words. You can see the response of those who have delivered children who are alive and those who are not– I went through labor and delivery, how did I not give birth. Was Ms. Yoffe clear on the facts about said “birth” announcement. We really don’t know the details of the “specific case referenced”. I know many loss parents who sent out announcements– they weren’t sent to the general public, but to family and friends. They included birth information, death information and the vast majority of the time funeral arrangements. How is this confusing?

        This article is awash in what, in my opinion, are poor and slanted word choices.

        • Perhaps then there is a misunderstanding concerning the multiple meanings of the term “birth.”

          Seems to me she’s thinking of birth not as ”the emergence of a baby or other young from the body of its mother” but instead as the beginning of the experiences one has as a living human being ie “the start of life as a physically separate being”.

          Both are definitions of birth after all.

          While clearly labour happens in both cases, I would think that rather than a birth announcement (which again implies they are alive), one would be sending out a death announcement, you know, because they died?

          That’s my thinking on it anyhow.

  42. I’m reading this as an opening to discuss the topic. I suffered a miscarriage as well, and I think Anne is just opening the door to discussion. More likely, stating facts on the public opinion, not necessarily her own opinions on the matter. I don’t know, I found the article to be impartial and well researched. I blog occasionally about my loss: http://leavethebourbon.blogspot.com

    • In my opinion, such a basic mistake as an incorrect gestation of the Duggar baby (their daughter born at 25 weeks is alive) severely diminishes the credablity of this being a “well-researched” article.

    • I have to agree with 2kids + 2Angels. I don’t think this article is well researched. To me it seems she has tried to be objective but has only included extreme views (either way) to create an article sure to get the responses it has had. I guess the author has done her job to increase traffic to this site but it is a shame it isn’t in a positive or enlightening way way. Surely there is a better way to open discussion on this topic?
      I am sorry for your loss Graciecuse – I blog too :) now there is a great way to open discussion :)

  43. I love how all of you
    assume the author has had no experience with a miscarriage. She did not
    say one way or the other, as far as I can tell.

  44. There isn’t enough talking about lost babies.  We get shoved into the background because no one wants to hear about something so tragic.  But it happens, we need support.  We need to talk about our babies.  We dishonor them by not talking about them, and forgetting them.  We need to have more support out there.  I love the celebrities who come out and tell their story!  Maybe there will be more support out there if they keep coming out and speaking about it.  Everyone knows October is Breast Cancer Awareness month but no one truly knows that it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Breast Cancer claims 1 in 8 lives  1 in 4 women loses a baby having her hopes and dreams crushed because you plan out this baby, some have nurseries set up that have to be taken down.  Many are multiple losses as a woman can lose more than one baby in her lifetime.  I know because I’ve lost two now.  It’s a hard road to walk down after losing a baby.  

  45. This article is ridiculous and incredibly hurtful. We mourn with parents
    and recognize their heartbreak when a older child dies, and that
    respect should be paid to people who have lost a child at any age or
    gestation. The loss of my baby was absolutely gruesome but I promise you
    that it was much, much worse for me to experience than it would be for
    you to listen to me talk about it. How dare you suggest that people who
    have suffered the unthinkable in losing a child should hush up because
    it makes other people uncomfortable!

    And who cares if mourning a baby who died before it could take a breath
    might “blur legal distinctions of what constitutes life”? I Does
    disagreeing on when life starts mean that you can’t support someone in
    mourning?

  46. This is a horrible article.  I’m embarrassed it came from a Canadian magazine. 

    Would you think it was ‘over sharing’ if a relative of yours was diagnosed with cancer and chose to tell people about it? Would it be ‘over sharing’ if your best friend died in a car accident and a notice about her death was in the paper?  How about if your house caught on fire and burned to the ground?  In all of these cases, people share these events with others because they are hoping for support and acceptance. How someone copes with tragedy is a personal decision and how someone chooses to grieve is none of your concern.  Especially when it’s their CHILD they lost.  To you, it might be a fetus…to them it’s their future.

    My son was born at 23 weeks and 3 days.  He lived 54 minutes.  He died in his father’s arms.  He was and always will be a PERSON to me.  He will always be missing.

    I am pro-choice and in my mind the loss of my son doesn’t have anything to do with a woman’s right to choose.  I wish people would stop confusing the issue of abortion and perinatal loss.  In the former a choice is made, in the latter a choice is taken away.  Stop making it all about ‘society’ or ‘right wing vs. left wing’.  I can assure you, politics is the last thing on the mind of a family who has just buried their child.

    • Well said. The death of a child should never be about religion or politics. I’m pro choice too and I would never tell a family she couldn’t mourn the loss of their child because of how the law defines viability.
      I am sorry for your loss Emily.

  47. Everyone has a different opinion.  I don’t think this author is wrong or being insensitive.  She’s pointing out that there is this weird phenomenon that people want to over share, from way too early ultrasound pics to talking about their miscarriages on Facebook.  Here’s a tip, if you never mentioned your pregnancy at 7 weeks, you wouldn’t have to talk about your miscarriage at 10 weeks.

    I’m sorry, I’m someone who has HAD a miscarriage and I would never in a million years post an ultrasound pic, announce my pregnancy on Facebook, and never EVER talk about my miscarriage in such a public forum.  My 315 “friends” on FB don’t need to know this information.  The over share factor is overwhelming.  I share my personal stuff with my family and close friends, when I needed to grieve I turned to them.  The same would be true with any loss, not just with a baby.

    Yes, having a miscarriage is a huge loss (as I know fully) and of course you should grieve, but to share it with the world or your 500 closest friends, WHY?  In my mind it’s very self centered.  People post tragedy on sharing sites because they want the attention, they WANT people to say, “Oh I’m so sorry.”  But is that what we need?  I’m sorry if one doesn’t have actual people they can call or turn to during these times and if they feel like public sharing is the only way to get support, I guess it’s their choice, but there’s something really bizarre about WANTING to share so much all the time, especially during grief.

    That’s just my opinion, I know I’m in the minority, but I fully understand the grief of miscarriage, I don’t consider myself insensitive to the issue.  And I think that’s all this author is saying, just commenting on the phenomenon at hand.  She doesn’t have to have had a m/c to comment on this.

    • I am not one who publicly shares very much, but I shared my first pregnancy very early with friends and co-workers (it was way back when before I ever thought of Facebook). I was so excited! My second pregnancy, same thing– it was a tough time getting pregnant the first time (though I did not share how long it took me to get pregnant!), that to get pregnant a second time so fast was awesome. It never occurred to me anything could go wrong! There are probably many women who are in that boat– you are utterly naive until something goes wrong. There are even those who think they are “safe” after the first trimester. You get to a point where people who know you KNOW you are pregnant (what are you supposed to do, hide for 9 months?). What then… my losses came much later. Sorry you don’t consider yourself insensitive to the issue– why judge then? You do your thing at let others do theirs. It’s OK for you to feel the way you do– not everyone shares your feelings. In my opinion, this author should have gone more in depth and talked with actual people instead of quoting third party sources and celebrities.

      • Not everyone shares my feelings, nor do I share theirs.  I’m not judging people for their opinions, I just have a problem with seriously oversharing extremely personal ordeals on social networks like Facebook.  I guess I just don’t get it.  Certainly I understand looking for support during grief but NOT on Facebook where the majority of people are not experiencing the same thing you’re going through.  Forums and support groups are great, people should use them, but to force a very serious subject down 500 “friends” throats is too much for me. It’s personal, and I’m not insensitive.  You don’t agree with my opinion, fine, I don’t agree with yours fine.  We’re both judging each other, surely you can see that.  And you don’t know me, nor I you so let’s just leave it.

        • The only reason I have a problem with this is because when I got pregnant my husband and I have just moved to a new base and had been here a month. Instead of calling every single person it was easier to put it on Facebook. Everyone I know and love that I wanted to share with was over 2000 miles away. And when I lost my son 3 months later, I still did not have anyone at this base to fall on other than my husband. It isn’t over sharing if that is your line to the people you love. For all I know you might be in a military family as well. But I don’t expect everyone to comment or even care for that matter. If you don’t want to see it then keep on scrolling. But it is my right to share with those that I know care. I respect your views but this is just mine from one side of it.

          • That’s fine, of course it’s your right, just as it is my right not to. I respect your views and like I said, it’s personal, I personally don’t feel comfortable sharing like that on FB.  
            I guess it comes down to whatever one feels comfortable with.

            Personally, I didn’t want to share my pregnancy on FB because most of my FB contacts aren’t close to me and I figured I could just email or call the ones who mattered, also, I didn’t know if it would last.  And it didn’t, I miscarried at 11 weeks, and I’m glad of my choice not to share it in the first place because I certainly cannot imagine having to share that awful news via FB.

            But I get it if the only way to share to a mass amount of people you want to share with is via social media.

            Again, it’s personal choice, it’s not in my comfort zone.  That’s also the point, everyone responds to things differently, it’s not really fair to judge either way I guess.

          • Again, that works fine if you’re talking about announcing a pregnancy at 6 weeks, but it does not work very well for late term losses. A pregnancy becomes the kind of day-to-day thing you talk to your Facebook friends about if you are on Facebook at all (I do not have very many Facebook friends and those I have, I am either good friends with or friends through a group which only get my posts about the group topic). And that only partially covers the topic of over-sharing in-terms of social media, not in any other realm. Good conclusion– not fair to judge either way.

    • I find it interesting that we blame FB. My FB is my account, I put what I want on there. I don’t have 500+ ‘friends’. I have moved a lot and use it as a way to keep in touch, see pics etc, so I have actual friends on my FB. I manage my FB account. When I’m confronted by someone’s post or comment I can delete and I can stop their newsfeed coming through.
      I have posted about my daughter I lost, I have recently posted my 8 week ultrasound. I don’t do this for attention. With my daughter I was tired of explaining over and over again what happened and why I couldn’t ‘get over it’ in a week. Posting her picture allowed people to see her as a real person, it helped them understand and be supportive. As for the ultrasound pic – well I guess I do want attention because I’m so excited, and if tragedy should strike well at least my friends will know and can be supportive instead of being in the dark about it.

      I think the author misses this point. Are we over sharing or are people not taking responsibility for what they are accessing? We chose to be part of these groups, or to be ‘friends’ with certain people, we chose to have their statuses and post come through our news feed, we chose to look at and read what they are posting.

      I am sorry for your loss LuluD. You sound like you are surrounded by a great support network, which must bring you much comfort.

  48. Ok I see all these comments going against the writer but… as someone who has suffered two miscarriages (one at 11weeks one at 13 weeks) I totally agree with the writer. I always just shrugged them off because I could never possibly know what they were goin through till I went through it. At my first follow appointment after my first miscarriage the doctor asked how I was doing and I replied, “I am just glad my bodies natural selection process is working” Both children would have had down syndrome. That is no reason for me to self abort but I have one ridiculously active 2 year old and that life would have been hard and God/my body knows that and did what it thought was best. 

    So now having gone through it i think most women are nuts and need to quit holding on to everything. I just the other day got an invite to a friends daughters “death day” there will be cake and games and balloons and everything!…. she “died” at 15 weeks…. not that much farther along than I. My husband and family and few select coworkers are the only ones who even knew I was expecting let alone that we lost the child. Here she is almost EVERY DAY posting something about her daughter that isnt….. I’m goin to sound rude and hateful but get over it and move on with your life.

    • Totally agree.  Just the fact alone that you mention that your husband and only a few other people knew you were expecting says it all.  That’s how it should be, especially because why would you want to go through the agony of having to tell EVERYONE about the loss.  It’s exhausting.  My first pregnancy ended at 11 weeks, nobody knew except my parents, my husband, 2 friends and my shrink.  And when it ended, those were the only people I had to tell, thankfully.  It was horrible and sad but I’ve moved on, you have to.  Glad I’m not the only one NOT bashing this author.  Thanks.

    • Wow– you are pretty rude and hateful. My daughter and son were 3 and 5 weeks away from scheduled delivery. I don’t do the things you mention (I grieve them every day, though), but I do not judge others for it. Hundreds of people knew I was pregnant– I was very involved in our town and our elementary school. Until you walk a mile in another’s shoes, you have no idea what they go through– the only shoes we walk in are our own, so to each his own. Who are you to judge?

      • You are being just as judgmental. You called her rude and hateful for not grieving the same way you did. You certainly haven’t walked a mile in her shoes. Pot meet kettle. 

        • I only agreed with her words– those were not my words.

    • I feel the same way you do. Not “rude and hateful” – funny how some other people are doing the same thing and feel justified doing because not everyone share’s their opinion. I wasn’t devastated by my miscarriage. I could barely handle the thought of being pregnant. I took it as an indication that there was a problem and not meant to be. 
      And feeling/thinking about things doesn’t mean you shout it from the rooftops. It’s possible to be empathetic without agreeing with someone. A lot of people here are yelling about being respected without offering it. 

      • I think you are comparing apples to oranges– my daughter died from a cord accident, my son from a massive, aggressive infection that almost killed me, too. This was shortly before their scheduled arrivals. These were incredibly wanted children eagerly anticipated by their older siblings. Everyone I knew in my town and my other friends and family knew I was pregnant (I was not on Facebook, so never posted there, but I may have as I neared delivery). I don’t make any public displays or force anything on anyone. I think your method of delivery is not at all empathetic– you expect everyone to share your feelings. Yes, there are ways of disagreeing while being empathetic– the above post is not it. Telling someone to “get over it and move on with your life”– IS rude, hateful and disrespectful. Talking to someone else like that has nothing to offer anyone.

        • Think what ever you like, makes no difference to me.

          • Ditto.

    • This article was not just about first term miscarriages and should stop being treated as such.

    • I think the point most of us are trying to make is that it is no one’s place to judge.
      I’m sorry for your losses Shaha and I am glad you were able to find peace and move on. But please don’t judge others for how they grieve.
      You were given a clear reason for your losses, which I’m sure helped with coming to terms with it. Unfortunately for many women they do not get reasons. They may have had years of infertility struggles that finally resulted in a longed for child, so a loss at only a few weeks is devastating. The baby might have miscarried for no good reason, so there is no justification of ‘my bodies natural process is working’. There may be many reasons behind their strong attachment to their child. They may just have a different definition on a valid life than you do.
      Where do we set the bar at ‘you should get over it’ and ‘you are allowed to mourn’? Who says how many weeks that is? what diseases or disability discounts mourning? what hopes and dreams should or should not be tangled up with it?
      My daughter died at 29 weeks because there was a small tear in the placenta and she bled out, when I birthed her vaginally she was whole and perfect. That’s just my story, there are so many different versions from our own out there. We shouldn’t judge how I, you, Lulu, 2Kids + 2Angels or anyone else grieves.
      I only hope that by talking about it and sharing (if that is what they need to do) they are able to find support and move forward with their lives – however long that takes.

  49. How do any of the people commenting know the author’s medical history? 
    Not all miscarriages are devastating. Mine wasn’t. Having said that; I wish it wasn’t such a taboo subject, so those affected could receive more support. I take my clues from the person telling me if it comes up – I try not to assume how they feel. However, I don’t want to see photos so I’d prefer FB stuff was in an album – it might also be very triggering for someone who’s struggling.

  50. It is obvious that you do wish that the author would suffer. Shame on you for being just a judgmental. 

  51. I have just suffered a miscarriage. It was devastating, and the loss was distinctly and only felt by me, and my husband to a lesser degree. It could not be shared with anyone in the same way, because this person had not come into the world, and no one had a chance to meet the child yet. But to me, at 12 weeks pregnant, it was a very real person with a future and a life.
    I am very pro-choice, so I don’t advocate defining the life as a legal entity having rights, but the loss is nonetheless profound. I agree that anyone who hasn’t suffered this experience will have a hard time relating to the need to express the loss. Why shouldn’t we openly mourn, the way others do when a parent, sibling, spouse, or existing child dies? To expect us to suffer in silence is cruel and senseless. Let us mourn. If it bothers someone, don’t look.

  52. Up Yours Lady! My son whose heart stopped 4 days before he was due will always be a part of my life ~a part of the family. How dare you suggest that these pics of our very wanted children are disturbing.  Who cares if you or others feel uncomfy anyway?! Your uncomfyness will only last a few minutes while those of us who are living with baby losses will be uncomfortable for the rest of our lives. 

    One woman in the U.K. even used a photograph of her stillborn child as her Facebook avatar.
    Good for her!!  There is no shame in sharing our children! But shame on you for suggesting there should be!!

    a “birth” notice would be “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred.
    How the heck do you think my son was born?   He was birthed vaginally just like my 1st born  living son. I also had 2 surgical extractions(c-sections) to 2 healthy living babies. 

    I suggest that if your going to write an article on pregnacy and infant loss that you first educate yourself on the subject.  You come off as a jerk ~ definitly no shortage in the idiot department in your office huh?

  53.  “birth” notice would be “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred…….

    Um really???? are you kidding? Still BORN! BORN!  That child was born just like any other, and loved just as much as any other child who is BORN. The fact that the baby had died prior to BIRTH does not make it any less of a BIRTH!!!!!!

    • I think, rather than focusing on the literal meaning of “birth”, the columnist was focusing – albeit in a vague way – on the general meaning: “birth” generally triggers in people’s minds that the baby was born alive and healthy. I know if I received a birth notice, that is what I would think. (Think along the lines of the separation in definition between Births, Deaths and Marriages notices and records.) It can be misunderstood by well-meaning friends and family that receiving a birth notice is cause for congratulations and gifts, not consolation and grief.

  54. I agree.  This was not really an article laced with opinion.  It was factual and interesting.

  55. I couldn’t agree more.

  56. oh yeah… I was wondering when the discussion of crossed boundaries between the abortion debate and the public greif surrounding  “fetal death” would occur!

  57. Ok. *SIGH* A few years ago, I miscarried a baby almost 10 weeks into my second pregnancy. It was very, very painful–to date, the most painful, heartbreaking thing I’ve ever been through. I chose to share about it with my partner, of course, as well as my mother, sister, and my 2 best friends. I even posted a few times on a pregnancy loss board, anonymously. However, I did not share about it on Facebook. Granted, I hadn’t yet shared about the pregnancy on Facebook, so I didn’t feel socially obligated to share about losing the baby. I think what the author is saying–a bit insensitively, maybe–is that in this day and age, everyone is sharing EVERYTHING about their lives on these social media sites, often without giving much thought as to how what they are sharing might affect others, or if it’s appropriate to share with people you may only know casually or professionally. Would I talk about my miscarriage in a job interview? Of course not. Would I discuss it with my accountant, my 9th grade boyfriend, my dad’s best friend from college? No. But I’m “friends” with all of them on Facebook. No one is saying we should run and hide or be silent in our grief. There’s a time and a place and, thanks to the internet, many other forums for discussing pregnancy loss. There are places to share your grief, and thank God for that. Facebook shouldn’t really be one of those places.

    • I agree.  There are many private battles fought everyday that do not need to be shared on social media.  Yes miscarriages are not a normal topic of conversation, neither is crystal meth addiction or child molestation.  By making this so public it becomes normal, and I don’t think that normalizing such devastating loss makes it easier to manage.  It probably makes it harder.  It makes it an acceptable part of life, which it is in a way, but not in a way that makes the pain go away.  Yes we need to talk about tough subjects, but not in such a personal, yet still public way.

      • There’s this show, I think you may have heard of it…it’s called “Intervention” and it’s where meth addicts bitch about their past and why they can’t pull it together enough to come off the crystal meth and act like the adults they are. If you haven’t it’s on A&E, Netflix, Hulu, and most likely YouTube. Its won “best reality program” multiple times at every award show it is nominated in. Much more sharing than a woman going to an online support group to share photos of her child with women who know what it’s like to lose a child.

    • Agreed. FB is not the place. 

    • This article wasn’t Facebook directed and we shouldn’t shrug off the insensitive, poorly thought out ideas because you don’t feel Facebook status messages aren’t the place to grieve a child. To each his own, but it is not your place to judge.

      If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.

      • I’m not sure what you mean by that. I was stating my opinion about how I feel about over sharing in certain forums, as it relates to my own experience. I didn’t say anything judgmental or “not nice” to or about anyone.

        • I was saying the author had nothing nice to say about women who do choose (and that’s what it is, a choice) to share their feelings/experiences and how it helped them. This article was directly related to people without a loss and catering to the moment of awkwardness they might feel because of our lifetime of tragedy.

          Why would reaching out to women in a similar situation be awkward for anyone? Why is Rick Santorum and his wife briging their baby back to their private home so horrifying? Why are we vilifying the duggars for mourning in a private ceremony (which was made private by the very media who is now complaining about it)?

          • *public

      • What other forum do you think of when you think of oversharing?  The ideas were not insensitive, they were well researched, and because you feel a certain way you disagree, calling them such.  This is an article about health and the effects of oversharing on the mourning process as well as the effects on society.  I was just putting in my 2 cents, as are you.  

        • This article was poorly researched! And had nothing to do with the effects of “over sharing” on those experiencing the loss, just those who will have to deal with those experiencing the loss.

          The Duggars baby mentioned in this article, is still alive.
          The author posted a quote about how during a stillbirth no birth occurs, how does the child come out?
          The author referred to baby whose sex she had previously just stated as “it”.

          None of these scream journalistic integrity.

          I think of the pregnancy and infant loss boards I now frequent following the death of my daughter. I don’t see the need to post about it on Facebook, they were all at her funeral. But if I did and someone was offended by it I would rather lose them as a friend than devalue the life of my daughter.

  58. Oh head-desk head-desk head-desk. Let’s mourn people who were alive before they died. I pity parents who suffer such a loss, but at 7 billion people you’re being selfish. ADOPT! Spare yourself the loss. Sometimes its better to die before being born than to be born into a world of suffering, here read this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericagies/2011/10/31/why-im-not-having-kids-and-you-shouldnt-either/

    I don’t understand, you were pregnant then you weren’t you can (selfishly) get pregnant again. SO you’re set back and upset at what could have been but that’s life you can’t always get what you want when you want.

    • i assure you my son is alive right now, as he is digging his feet into my ribs and punching my insides as I type this. He hasn’t been born yet, but to say he isn’t alive is laughable. This whole comment is laughable actually.

      • i was laughing, too!…apparently too much head banging on a desk isnt that great for your intelligence….

    • How do you know I can get pregnant again (selfishly)? That’s only one thing that’s wrong with your completely ignorant comment. I’m going to share a laugh with guest…

    • I agree blatant attempt to get you to click on there link. Too strong buddy.

  59. The article seems to suggest that the public nature of mourning has extended the period of mourning a miscarriage. I don’t think that is true, however. My mother had a miscarriage over twenty years ago. For years, she would cry every time she thought about her lost child. To this day, she still gets emotional thinking of the daughter that she might have had.

  60.  Please be more journalistically responsible. When delivering a 7.5 pound stillborn child, I believe the correct term would be *birthing* the child…..that is, after all, what the doctor who preformed the *delivery* is paid for. How ignorant and insensitive!….as if coverage on a dead celebrity, due to drug usage isn’t over sharing……Thanks for the laugh!

  61. Look, it’s good to be honest and open about a loss, and to acknowledge the baby’s death as the death of your child, regardless of whether it was before or after birth. It’s encouraging when high-profile people discuss such things openly, and certainly parents should not feel the need to keep quiet about it (unless of course that’s what they want). 

    However, I think one needs to be sensitive with photos. Lots of people have lost babies that you may not know about, and it could be very triggering- or people may not want to see pictures of a dead person, whether an early miscarriage or a 100-year-old. To me, photos would be something to share with people who ask or whom you know would be comfortable, not the entire world. It’s one thing to have your child’s photo in a picture album, where you can look at it- but to walk by a coworker’s desk and suddenly see a stillborn baby’s picture might be very upsetting, and I think that would be where you have to start considering others.  

  62. Wow, all you whiners need to learn the difference between grieving a loss and over-sharing that loss. I didn’t go ’round posting photos of my dead brother, cousin, or grandparents, just as I didn’t go posting photos of the unborn fetus that I lost. I grieved openly to those who knew me well and wanted listen, and sought council. I grieved in a healthy way that worked for me and did not take advantage of others. I did NOT go posting photos onto my FB account and forcing people who may be sensitive to the issue to listen about my own. Yes, it is sad and you are welcome to grieve your loss, but I think it is self-centered and rude to force people on your social networking pages to see and read about things that they maybe don’t feel like hearing about.

    • I think we’re losing the point of the discussion here. This article was not about forcing people to look at photos of dead “fetuses” (I prefer to refer to my CHILDREN as my son or my daughter). Even the Duggars (who I am not any kind of fan of) used their photos in way that people had to SEEK THEM OUT to see them. I hate to break it to you, but if I posted a photo of either one of my children and didn’t’ tell you they were dead– you wouldn’t know it! They look like sleeping babies. That said, I choose to share my pictures with a very few (they have never been on the internet). Those pictures are the only thing I have of two of my children– I have photos of my father and grandparents alive (I don’t need to take photos of them dead). It wasn’t very long ago when it was quite common to take photos of dead relatives and display them.

      I think the important lesson this article could teach (I wish some of the language had been better chosen, but it is what it is), is not to judge. We all grieve in ways that “work for” us. What works for you may not work for me– it doesn’t make you or me right. If you don’t want to look or hear, don’t. I really think there is a lot less “forcing” going on than some of these comments suggest.

  63. I definitely understand wanting to honor the dead child, but to do so in a way that forces others to see images of him/her is disturbing. Would you take a picture of a 2 month old dead child to hand out at the funeral? No. Keeping pictures for yourself is fine, I understand that those pictures are all the parents have; that does not mean that other people want to see them.

    • Just to clarify – sharing your FEELINGS is one thing. Sharing PICTURES is completely different, and in my opinion inappropriate. 

    • Then don’t look at them. I don’t believe anyone is making you click on them and see them.

      All I have is the pictures of my daughter, I didn’t have 2 months to take pictures of her living. Sharing these photos has been a way for me to show people that she was whole and perfect. It helped people understand that she was a child I gave birth to, it helped them understand my grief better, it helped them be more supportive. 
      I have never held someone down and shoved a picture in their face. I have never held a gun to their head and told them to look. I have never forced anyone to look at her pictures. 
      For those who find her pictures disturbing – I find their lack of compassion and inability to deal with death disturbing and I feel sorry for them that need to close that part of themselves.
      I’ll admit I do have people who can not deal with my openness. What I hope most dearly for them is that they never have to go through what I did, because they obviously would not be able to cope.
      I also have people seek me out for support when they were faced with a similar situation, because those around them were ‘uncomfortable’ they couldn’t be true friends and support them in difficult times.
      Part of honouring your child is recognition, love and support you receive and give.

  64. You wrote, ” Couples were once expected to “deal with it” and “move on.” The newer message is that the loss will never disappear but will shift with time. ”
    Who in the babyloss community did you ask to get this information? I know of two separate women who each had their losses over 50 years ago who would disagree with you. One told me not a day went by she didn’t think about the baby born still. The other told me how she had brushed aside her feelings and grief for years, and 40 years later, working with her counsellor, she discovered the depression that had plagued her life stemmed from the baby she lost years ago, and so she created a children’s garden at the cemetery in the area where the hospital disposed of all the remains.
    My point is, as a mother, you never forget any baby, whether they survive or not. Each pregnancy becomes part of your story, both medically and emotionally. And this is regardless of

  65. Reading some of these comments, I wonder if I read the same article they did. There’s not even a “yes, we are over sharing” or “no, we are not over sharing” statement; the question is just asked in the title. A lot of people are upset with the author over things that she quoted other people as saying. Yeah, the subtitle including the phrase “disturbingly public” is a little biased, but I would say that people are sharing every aspect of their lives in “disturbingly public” ways with Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. Not just that one thing. As a society, I think we all could use a little more compassion and understanding and it would benefit us all.

  66. For years, decades, centuries, women have been to told to shut up, keep it to yourself, get over it,
    don’t tell people before 12 weeks cause if you loose your baby we don’t
    want to hear about it. Having a miscarriage is the most isolating thing,
    and yet so many women go through it. I APPLAUD all these women who do
    speak out. You will never know how many women will feel less alone and
    have someone to go to. To those women who lose their full term babies
    YOU ARE A MUM, SHARE IT! This article just makes me sad as again women’s are again being asked to keep it to themselves. SHOUT out I say and share your loss, pain and BIRTH of your children. They are your babies. To those that want to silence women you belong in another century.  

  67. I support the author on this completely. I STILL expect couples to deal with and move on. Privately. Without involving the rest of us in the process. None of us care, and none of us has reason to. Well done, Ms. Kingston; I hope you won’t let the oversensitive, over-sharers bully you into adopting a view on this that you don’t actually share.

    • Your village called.

    • Who involved you? If you don’t care, don’t pay attention. But ultimately, you are making my case for the tone of the article– I totally agree with you that the author shares your opinion!

    • Yeah f-you guys. I was totally tweeting and then I had to know that someone’s kid died. Ughh. How ickky of them to think I might care. I totally lost the x-box game I was playing. I blogger about it, but people told me to just get over it. Dude I was at level 20!

  68. This author has clearly never suffered a loss because Santorum’s son is referred to as “it” and the fact that Prudence’s statement “an actual birth had not taken place’ was not clarified. I would like you to find me the mother who labors and delivers a dead baby and feels a birth has not taken place. 

  69. This article makes me sick.  Grief is something that everyone gets to handle on their own, in their own way.  How dare you minimize someone else’s grief the way you have.  You don’t tell someone else how they should grieve the loss of a child.  What is wrong with you?

  70. I find it interesting that so many of you are angered by Ms. Kingston’s article, and that your almost universal response is to declare that she must never have been through a perinatal loss. I happen to agree with her. I lost my son at 24 weeks, through no fault of my own. In fact, I look upon his death as murder, since it was violence done to me which caused it. I do not broadcast it. I have ultrasound photos, I have books filled with letters, poems, thoughts and the dreams I had for him. But only my closest circle get to see them, though they know of my grief. I think it’s important for parents and families to know that they are not alone in their grief, but holding on to grief is never healthy. I think, personally, that grief is a private matter. Let those around you know, so they can support you and respect your loss, but in turn you should also respect that the rest of the world might not be comfortable having it paraded around.
    For those of you who have lost a child, think to how you feel when you are reminded of your own child.

    • Yet, you are telling us about it (I don’t meant this in a bad way– it is important information for your reader to have for the rest of you post!). I’m not saying the author hasn’t had a loss– I have to leave as I am on my son’s computer and it’s bedtime!  I have been looking very closely at the author’s word choices and choice of those she has quoted. I think if you or I had written this article, we would have made a brief mention of our loss for disclosure purposes more than anything else. My personal opinion is that the word choice throughout this article is biased. More on that another day.

      I am sorry for your loss. I am very private about my losses as well, but that’s just me. I simply don’t judge others in their grief.

  71. I hope that you’ve read Jjiraffe’s response to this article at http://jjiraffe.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/rebuttal-to-macleans-we-are-not-oversharing-we-are-grieving-and-its-healthy.  First, most expressions of loss I’ve known hardly count as “public parades of grief.”  Because honestly?  There’s very little support out there for it anyway.  It’s an amazing thing that people are being more public about perinatal loss … we *need* to create support structures, so that parents don’t feel as alone as I did when I was experiencing my miscarriages.  We grieve our lost children, we grieve the bodies that failed us … and we have every right to talk about it and to seek support if it’s available.  We suck at dealing with death, in my culture, at least.  It’s about time that this topic gets stricken from the “taboo” list.

  72. This article smacked of a pro-choice agenda by attempting to whitewash others’ ability to grieve their miscarriages.  The author should be ashamed.  She should not be using others’ misfortune to promote an agenda.

    • It’s not a pro-choice agenda that I’m aware of. Just because I suffered a miscarriage after years of infertility treatment doesn’t make me any less pro-choice. How would stopping another woman’s right to choose bring my baby back?

      Nor do I think that women should suffer in silence over a miscarriage or a still birth. Please do not confuse ‘pro-choice’ with the insensitivity displayed by the author of this piece. The reality is far more complex than that.

      • For the record, I’m neither pro-choice or pro-life.

        But I felt that the author was basically saying ‘Please don’t talk about your miscarriages and treat them as if a baby has died because this will influence the way the unborn are viewed’ (ie, as babies vs. fetuses).  

        This is extremely callous and made me mad.  To me, there is no difference in what this author is requesting vs. the Westboro Baptist Church going out and protesting gay marriages at funerals.  Both are making use of tragedies to promote a political agenda and I find it disgusting.

        I just feel that political agendas should be left aside when it is people’s personal tragedies that we are dealing with.

        I think the irony is that the author is making a case for etiquette (of sorts) when she made the worst one by writing this article.

        So no, I did not confuse ‘pro-choice’ with this silly article nor did I mean to imply that all ‘pro-choice’ supporters feel this way.  It is just a comment about how this particular article was framed.

  73. This is the most freakin’ idiotic thing I have ever seen. Bring us back to the Dark Ages Macleans! My son was stillborn and I loved him dearly. I held him in my arms and sobbed that no one else got to tell me if he looked like mom or dad. His birth was very real unlike your article suggests, and in fact, labour was so painful that I had an epidural – I have 3 other living children, all of which I birthed without epidurals. So don’t tell me that it was somehow fake labour and that he magically vaporized and that I didn’t go through the same process in birthing my other children. Honestly, I think your dark ages lack of knowledge and discernment owes an apology to the world for your ignorance.

  74. What’s with the personal attacks?  Miscarriages and stillbirths are tragic, yes.  These events leave behind trauma that takes time to heal, even if it never completely goes away.  However, I think the author makes a valid point.  There is a line between grieving and reaching out for support during the healing process, but constant and unrelenting reminders of such a loss may be counter-productive over time.  I don’t think the author is trying to say that people should stop talking about their loss, or that losing a child doesn’t deserve to be discussed.  She’s just saying that perpetually talking about such a loss isn’t healthy, for either the parent or for society as a whole.  We all carry around grief and loss, but focusing solely on those losses can make us lose sight of what we have to celebrate and be thankful for. 

    • I guess it is because the death of a child is so different from any other loss. It is mixed in with many hopes and dreams, visions for the future, life expectations, dreams of family and so much more. Everyone around you is wrapped up in it too. If you have ever been pregnant you know most people have this desire to reach out and touch your belly. Every one recognises new life and the amazing thing that is. As a woman feeling this life grow inside you is a truly profound, life defining moment. To have that snatched from you is life defining too, whether you are someone who is ‘quick to get over it’ or carry it with you for a life time – no one who has been through it can say it didn’t change them in some way.
      We all die, yet it seems we are so uncomfortable with death. Why is it we are seen to be just perpetually talking about it and not celebrating a short life?
      I don’t think baby loss Mum’s are focusing too much on it – I just think the media is at the moment.

  75. This article is appalling and down right disgusting, why should parents of angels, whether they were stillborn, a miscarriage or born and passed not long after, suffer in silence! why should they not celebrate the life that they created, why should they not mourn openly, as if one would do if a sibling, parent or friend passes? 
     ”
    The week the song Glory dropped, Slate’s “Dear Prudence” columnist Emily Yoffe fielded a question from a woman whose sister delivered a full-term stillborn child and wanted to send out a “birth” announcement with a photo of her and her husband holding their dead child. Yoffe advised against it: though the couple had “suffered a crushing loss,” she wrote, it would be wiser to circulate the image among intimates only; a “birth” notice would be “confusing and disturbing” since an actual birth hadn’t occurred.”Not an actual birth? what is the meaning of birth? Birth: an act or instance of being born OR the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring… this does not specify that the child must be alive for it to be classified as an “actual birth”. How dare the birth of a stillborn baby be classified as not an actual birth. I found out that I had lost my son at 21 weeks gestation, I was induced, I had contractions, My cervix was dilated, and I gave BIRTH to my son, it was an actual birth, but sadly he was born sleeping. My partner and I made a birth notice on the social network facebook, because all our family and friends were aware of my pregnancy, they knew his sex, they knew his name, and I had given birth and they all had a right to know!! Imagine if I was to say nothing, not to have written a birth notice? I would have people asking me how the pregnancy going, how far along i was, how long to go, how big my belly is now? would those constant questions be good for my grieving process, wouldn’t answering all those questions make my grief so much worse, YES it would! I believe all parents who have miscarriages, stillbirths or a baby who passes after birth have the right to openly mourn there child in today’s society, as they are a human being no matter how small and no matter how young, they were living, and these parents have the right to share photo’s, and openly talk about their child, this is apart of their grieving. Any person who agree’s with this article needs to get their head out of their arse, and realise were not living in the 60′s! If you do not like looking at these images, DONT, if you feel uncomfortable about talking about a lost child SUCK IT UP, because what if it happens to you? If you lost your child, even if they were 2, 4, 10 or even an adult, you would not want people to pretend they never existed, you would want people to talk about them, these parents want the same for their children!!!I WILL talk about my stillborn son, I WILL honour his memory in every way possible, I WILL share photo’s of him, and I WILL talk about him on facebook, because I am proud to be his mum

  76. Articles like this are exactly why we need to mourn the way we do. We aren’t given any justification at all when we lose a child. I’ve lost a very early pregnancy (4w4d) and I’ve lost a child soon after birth (20 days). I can speak on this quite well. I’m offended by the author talking like this. Obviously she hasn’t lost a pregnancy or a child. To talk about something like this, you need compassion. Author, you missed that mark by a mile.
    When you are pregnant (no matter how far along), that baby means a lot of things. In that little body are hopes, dreams, beliefs, love, the future…everything. When that life is lost, everything it held is lost too. You lose birthdays, holidays, school functions, the future grandchildren, memories, all of it. Its like a young branch on a tree that is cut off. That tree is forever marked where that branch was. Same with the human soul. To be told “you are making others uncomfortable with your actions” is being insensitive to the loss felt. They didn’t lose a blob of tissue, they lost so much more. Its something you will never understand if you don’t have it happen to you or if you lack compassion. If you lose a pet, you will celebrate their life, bury them, mourn them, grieve, the works. But when its a pregnancy, still birth, or neonatal death, we are told not to make others feel uncomfortable. Where do you think the depression after a loss comes from when they are told to keep it in? Where do you expect those feelings to go? They don’t just disappear. That’s why there are so many books out there about this. How about you get off your high horse and before you think about writing on this subject again, you read a book called “When A Baby Dies”. Its a short read that will bring to light so much that you are missing.
    I can’t believe that you think its ok to tell someone that they shouldn’t talk about their dead child. If you believe that, then no one can talk about their dead pets (which have NO genetic link to you, tyvm) or anything of the sort. I’ve been told that the death of my daughter offends people, that she’s better off where she is, and that I should be thankful that she died when she did. And I’m supposed to accept that? What about the fact that I carried that body around with me everywhere for months? That I gave up things like alcohol, caffiene, and many activities that could be harmful to the baby’s health just to ensure she was healthy and given every advantage. What about the time I spent preparing for her? What about the fact that she was going to grow our family, make our son a big brother, and enrich our lives? If it makes you uncomfortable, that’s YOUR problem, not mine. I get numerous cards every Christmas that are filled with beautiful pictures of beautiful families and their stories for the year bragging about everything that is going great in their lives. I wanted to send out a family photo taken of my husband, my son, myself, and our daughter’s headstone. I was told not to because it was too morbid. Why is this morbid? Its the only thing I have left that symbolizes my daughter, her life, her death, and its the only thing I can show for her life. I have her memory box, yes, but this is something everyone can see, touch, talk to, and experience. I don’t have my daughter’s body, so this is the next best thing I can share. But I was told not to, so I didn’t. I didn’t even get to send out birth announcements because she was so sick and I had no chance to do anything else but care for her. But I’m suppose to make sure everyone else is comfortable? I think not.
    This article is disgusting and I pray that the author never has to go through a loss. I fear if they do, they’ll have surrounded themselves with people who believe that things like this shouldn’t be shared or even talked about and will have NO ONE to turn to.
    Thanks for making prenatal and neonatal death EVEN MORE taboo. And I didn’t even do anything to you!! WTF???

  77. How is what the families in the article over sharing? Did the Santorum’s parade around the neighborhood, door to door, and shove their child’s body in people’s faces? No. Rick’s wife wrote a book about it. Read it if you like or not. Get over that. The Duggar’s shared a photo of their daughter on a bulletin that was handed to people as they came in to the funeral. That isn’t shoving their child down other’s throats. That isn’t oversharing. If it offended someone there, that’s their problem, not the grieving family.
    The author helped to give more power to the taboo of losses like this. I don’t see ANYWHERE in this article that people should be respecting how a family processes the grief. I don’t see anywhere the author herself respecting how the families have chosen how to deal with this. Its not well rounded at all. It only gives the side of the argument that we need to worry about not making others squirm when we talk about our passed children. I don’t see anything for the other side.

  78. OMG Eli, really?
    First, your mother should be ashamed of how you turned out. That was utterly disrespectful. Do you know how this poster lost her babies? Do you know if it was a simple problem or if it was something else? You don’t know anything and you obviously don’t get it and never will.
    I would continue to try to keep getting pregnant no matter how many losses I had.
    You are a disgusting human being with no heart. I can’t even believe you said that. I pray that you learn some respect and the error of your comment.

  79. I will add your blog to my blogroll. And I join in celebrating your beautiful baby girl.

  80. Adding your blog to my blogroll. I join you in celebrating your beautiful angel.

  81. write what you know is dead. Now its “tell people how to feel, even though you have no experience and write about what will get the most responses.”

  82. No need to be cold and cruel, ellemsee. That is uncalled for. Have some respect.
    I hope no one tells you you are oversharing your kids.

  83. Very good point. The Duggar child that was lost was used for entertainment purposes. The Duggar family gave the photos to family and friends, not tmz. But TMZ and their lack of respect for anyone turned it into something much different.

  84. Chew on this. I respect your choice of what to do with your grief. Now how about some respect for what I choose to do. I have a blog (3 actually) that I use to talk about my children (alive and passed). My husband has a photo of our daughter after she passed on his desk. Should he really take it down because others find it sick to look at? Well, if it does, that’s YOUR problem.
    Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is a very good thing. They aren’t disrespectful, the photos are done free of charge for families that ask for it as something they can use to remember their lost child. I often look at the photos of my daughter and remember everything that happened in those 20 days. If you opted to not have it done, that’s your thing. If you find it disrespectful, that’s your thing. I’m not going to stomp on your belief and I’m not going to tell you that you are a lesser person for not having photos of your baby. I expect only the same level of respect in return. I won’t ever forget, but those photos also show that my daughter lived. She lived, she breathed, she fought, she held my finger, she cried, she fought for every breath she could. I don’t care if others don’t want to see. I don’t force them to look. But I’m not going to conform to how others think I should go about things.
    And last point for you. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep isn’t something done without permission. Its 100% optional. Get that right, please.

  85. vixen, stop adding to the taboo. You aren’t helping the subject progress. News about celebrities latest marriages, divorces, illegitimate children, break ups, make ups, and the likes are shoved down our throats, but we can’t choose how to grieve because it makes others uncomfortable? That makes NO sense!!!

  86. Respect needs to be shown before its reciprocated.
    I respect how others mourn and I expect the same respect given to me and what I choose to do. But I don’t respect people telling me that the way I’m doing things is wrong. Don’t want to be judged, don’t judge.

  87. Amen. Very well put. Much respect to you, fellow loss momma.

  88. My passed daughter is also my avatar. Its from when she was alive, but none the less.

  89. I thank you for your support. Not feeling what a loss feels like but still having that deep sympathy is priceless. You, Amber, are a rare thing. Thank you. Deeply.

  90. Sadly the columnist is probably thinking along the lines of the fact that stillbirths aren’t issued birth certificates (which I think is just sickening, it deserves to be acknowledged!).
    My son still mourns his sister, even though she was born when he was only 20 months old and he didn’t get to see her very often because we were in the NICU setting.
    My condolences.

  91. The incorrect dates on the Duggar baby negates this as being well researched. I don’t see anything coming from the side of a grieving parent. Also calling the baby loss blogs a “myriad”. That word sits poorly with me. Very bad choice there. There are a lot of cold facts in this article that could stand to have a person (putting a face to the loss) talk about what happened to them. Thereby removing the taboo and giving a balanced article, rather than one that is cold and feels so one sided.

  92. No, she didn’t. But she also showed no respect for how people have chosen to mourn. Her lack of respect leads me to have none for her and her one sided article. Had she added a personal touch (“I have experienced loss before” or “I’ve never experienced loss before”), I might have a little more respect. But she didn’t. I feel like I’ve been duped into reading about what others expect a mourning parent to do.

  93. I have a different view on abortion, but I have respect for how you have stated your post and given a great argument for oversharing a lost baby vs oversharing other losses or other difficult situations.

  94. Starting off, I am sorry for your loss and understand and respect the way you have mourned.
    That said, when we miscarried our first pregnancy, we had just annouced to everyone that we were expecting. We found out we were pregnant at 4w, told our parents at 4w1d, started having cramps at 4w2d, started showing signs of losing the baby at 4w3d, and at 4w4d, we had the hospital confirm the baby was gone. Does that mean that I should shut up about it because the gestation age was so young? Because I never had an ultrasound or got to hear a heartbeat? I was due December 26, 2008 and was actually told by my dad’s whole side of the family that I was mentally ill and needed to get over it. I only had a very VERY small circle of people in my FAMILY who would listen. Who would acknowledge that I was pregnant and I lost a baby.
    With my daughter, I gave birth to a 8lb1oz 38w5d baby who was born with some BIG birth defects that eventually took her life after 20 days of struggling for each and every breath. I shared EVERY detail on facebook and in a personal blog. Should I then shut up after her death and lock away every detail of her life and death, because it will make others uncomfortable? Should I stop talking about her (even now, 7 months after passing) because others think I should mourn differently? Is having her photo as my avatar oversharing? Is me continuing a 3 blogs that mention her oversharing? If so, then people need to get a grip. I’ve tried therapy and the therapist couldn’t be bothered to pay attention, do her research, and stop arguing with me about how I was choosing to go about doing things. I’ve turned to a support group and I’ve turned to my blogs.
    To finish, if I stopped talking about my daughter and every detail of her life, then that would make what she died of EVEN MORE RARE. By talking about her and what happened, drs and nurses in our area have educated themselves. Its spread the word about things like this and its gotten more people talking about neonatal death. By me “oversharing”, I’ve helped bring to light that this rare defect is actually not rare, its just unknown.
    Knowledge is power. How each person chooses to mourn is their own. By respecting how you have chosen, I only hope you extend the same respect.
    And this article only shows one side of the situation. It shows nothing from the “oversharer’s” side. The Duggars didn’t give the photos to the press, the press took the photos (which were handed out at the funeral for family and friends) and MADE it public. The Santorums didn’t go door to door shoving their baby in people’s faces, they spent time as a family before the wake and funeral in their own home. The book that Rick’s wife has written isn’t oversharing either. Its her choice of how to mourn their baby.

  95. To be fair, if you have that many people who don’t want to see what you have to post about your child, then it might be time to rethink who you have as friends. To me, facebook is how I share details about my family (alive and passed, adults and children) with my family and friends that I see maybe once every 5-10 years. If they don’t want to read about my passed children, they can either unsubscribe or they can unfriend. Lord knows many have since my daughter died.

  96. Maybe the person doing the invite hasn’t gotten the support she is looking for and needs people to reach out to her. Just because your view is different doesn’t mean that she needs to feel the same way as you. Its how she’s dealing with things. Let her have her method.
    I respect that you have found your own way to deal with what you have been through. I only ask that you extend that same respect to others and the methods they use.

  97. Given this poster said “I’m goin to sound rude and hateful but get over it and move on with your life.”, 2kids isn’t judging. She’s agreeing with the wording that the poster stated herself. Re-read the post please.

  98. I am glad that I can agree with you on some points. I’m glad you want the taboo gone just as much as me in hopes that people can get support and I’m glad that you try not to assume someone’s feelings. I respect that idea GREATLY.

  99. Wow, a little cold hearted. Maybe when the author has experienced this kind of loss, they’ll change their tune.

  100. Can I ask a simple question?  Why is a miscarried child called a ‘baby’ and an aborted child a ‘fetus’? Is there a difference in the child?

    • Because the issue is so highly subjective in nature, the difference is a matter of perspective isn’t it?

      From my own point of view the body is a vessel. A construct. 

      What matters is the immortal soul that wishes to embody it.

    • I would say because generally when people refer to a baby (whether it be on the day of conception or all the way through to everyone else’s definition of baby) it is because the parents see it as a baby. They have created a new life, they are starting or continuing their family. As women you feel the effects of this little growing body inside you. It’s your baby and the thought makes you smile.
      Foetus is a medical term. Generally speaking (but not always) people have made the choice to abort. I imagine that would be a hard decision for the parents and the Doctor who had to perform it. So using the term foetus may allow some emotional separation.
      There are lots of medical terms out there that serve the same purpose. But no there is no difference medically speaking in the development of baby.
      I use to use the term foetus, but then I saw my baby’s heartbeat at 5 weeks. Definitely my baby now :)

      • You may be surprised to hear what Canadian law says about children in the womb:  

        Canadian
        law provides no human rights protection whatsoever for children before the
        moment of complete birth.  This results
        from an unusual Canadian statute which defines a human being as a child who has
        completely proceeded in a living state from the mother’s body, whether or not
        the child has breathed.  This means that
        in Canada a child is legally considered to be sub-human while his or her little
        toe remains in the birth canal, even if he or she is breathing.

         

        This law
        was first formulated prior to the seventeenth century, when an early version of
        it was recorded in Coke’s Institutes of Law. 
        In those times, medical science and principles of human rights were not
        sufficiently advanced to challenge such a law.

         

        The
        important question is whether this 400 year old Canadian law is supported by 21st
        century medical science and principles of human rights.  Perhaps Canadians should at least examine
        this question.  MP Stephen Woodworth
        proposes that Parliament has a responsibility to lead that examination.

        • It is and isn’t surprising. I do understand the laws definition of life is very different from what each individual may feel. And that these laws are different form country to country.
          All I know is I’m 10 weeks pregnant and have considered the life inside me my child since I saw the first flicker of a heart beat at 5 weeks. If that heart beat was to stop I would definitely see it as the death of my child.

  101. This post is a sad articulation of a society that, decades ago, told parents to just forget and try again.  In my experience, these parents have a deep rooted grief- 30, 40, 50+ years later, that they are only now about to deal with BECAUSE society told them to hide their grief and to “move on”.  I see many more couples today that, because of an open sharing, are able to process and move forward in life, even as their hearts always remain broken at the loss of their older children/previous pregnancies. 
    Michele HaytkoMending Heart Bellieswww.mendingheartbellies.com  

  102. I do feel there is rampant over-sharing these days – not just about loss, but also about love, life, work, fortune and so on. It’s somewhat like reality TV is these days with nothing that’s too taboo or private to share with a broad audience.

    Do I think people who have experienced loss – and I’m not just talking unborn/newborn, but ANY loss, such as that of a sibling, a father, a cousin – over-share? No. Some grieve privately to their closest family and friends. Some share it, wear it on their sleeves like their hearts. Do I judge? I try not to. A loss is a loss, pain is pain, regardless of how many people know about it.

    I keep in mind there are two sides to the question of “are we over-sharing?” One camp
    (those who have experience loss) are generally saying no, that they deal with their grief as
    they wish and as they are entitled to. There’s another camp, though: those who bear witness to it – at times, it’s not by their choice. As heartless as it sounds, some online friends/acquaintances/readers have no emotion invested in us – they could be co-workers, friends of friends, distant relatives or the like. It can be awkward to be one of those people and come across such a painful and emotionally wrenching update. These people could feel that yes, we’re over-sharing. My second cousin in Europe might have sympathy for my loss, but he has no direct involvement, no real communication with me and cannot offer any support. It is not something he needs to know about, just as I don’t need his particular support for my grieving process.

    I didn’t find the article particularly offensive, but I do see where others can take offense. To both camps, I say to each their own. However, I’m a little disgusted that some of the people here would go so far as to wish a tragedy on this author so they can “feel the same pain” they have felt, or deride her opinion because she’s clearly never suffered in the same way. As I said, loss is loss, I have empathy for you regardless of who you’ve lost in your life.

  103. Death is uncomfortable in our society and the death of a baby, especially stillbirth, is more so. The fact that medical science seems to fix everything makes the loss of a child all the more shocking and disturbing for some.

    100 years ago death (of mother or child) was a more common occurrence and sad but not shocking. Perhaps with a return to the discussion of life, birth and death (in no particular order), people will begin to understand that there’s no guarantee of a live baby once a pregnancy test shows positive.

    I disagree with the author – whether she has suffered a loss or not is a moot point. The author doesn’t seem comfortable with the grieving process of individuals and couples. Grieving the loss of a child is very personal, life-changing process.

    I treasure the images I have of my deceased son. I don’t share them, much to the chagrin of the grandparents, but that’s what I’m comfortable doing. For those who want to show off their much loved babies, alive or dead, let them. You (in general) don’t have to look.

  104. you thinking something is not oversharing does not mean that others don’t think of it as oversharing. i think engagement pictures are oversharing. i think facebook groups started after someone dies tacky. somethingd are between you and your family and that’s it. feel the need to share without being prosecuted? join a group in your community. no one can help you move through the grief like someone who has been there. telling the world about it is one thing, as you may have been telling your coworkers etc. about the pregnancy that will not result in a child you hold onto, but pictures on facebook is disgusting. i know we’re all getting used to this new technology thing, but somethings are for smaller groups.

    • Lauren,

      More than five years ago, I joined an on-line group that is specifically for perinatal loss (two of them, in fact). We have since abandoned our original site and moved our groups over to PRIVATE groups on Facebook, and a third group was started to offer support to newly grieving mothers (or fathers). In your opinion putting pictures on Facebook is disgusting– that’s your opinion. If you don’t like Facebook, don’t go on it– I have never encountered a picture on Facebook that I did not in some way seek out, so you must be really Facebook Famous if you are being forced by crazy “oversharers” to look at their pictures. And again, I guarantee you, if you saw photos of my son or daughter, you wouldn’t know they were dead unless I told you (as I said before, less than 10 people have seen my photos, only upon request and never on the internet). There have been many cases of “fake” loss moms who have stolen pictures off the internet, made up a backstory and joined the new group on Facebook (it usually doesn’t take very long before they are found out). If you feel Facebook is replete with these oversharers (who should be “prosecuted”??), “you” (as you start your post with– who is this “you”?) should stay far away from it.

    • I agree with the over sharing of all aspects of our lives. I have those friends on FB who will put 20 pictures up of their night out (mostly consisting of photos in bathrooms  - now that’s weird), but I chose not to view them, I simply scroll down or turn off the news feed, I don’t seek out what makes me feel uncomfortable.
      I have never shared my story or shown my daughters pictures in hopes that she will come to life. I assume anyone who feels uncomfortable with the pictures, simply wont look at them. I acknowledge their choice – that is why I post it in my space and not theirs. If they are not managing the information coming to them – that is not my fault.
      Me sharing my daughter has enabled others to have a connection with her and has deepened many of my friendships. Support groups are great, but nothing beats being able to feel free to talk about my daughter (when it comes up) with my friends and family. Sharing photos, memorial days, the volunteering and fundraising I do in her name is just like any other of my friends who share what is in their life now.

  105. I hope the writer never has to go through it.  The Walk To Remember is always a very powerful experience. I have met women with the pain of a stillbirth as fresh as when it happend over 20 years ago.  My Alex would be 10 this year and I miss him every day.  The pain DOES NOT GO AWAY.  I am glad it is becoming more main stream.  This writer proved Abraham Lincoln right when he said better to let them think you a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  106. I’m sorry but the Santorum story nearly made me gag. In my opinion the action falls into the area of child abuse. Whatever your faith, some people just push the envelope until it tears. Losing a child is indeed a loss such a magnitude that I can’t imagine what it must be like. I take no issue with the grief that must follow but I cannot get a grip on the Santorum comment.

  107. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to write a letter to the dead child or wanting to have a few photos or a memento box. Those are what I would count as normal healthy ways to grieve. Taking home the dead body of your baby for the other child to hold, or becoming so mired in grief that you neglect the children you already have? Absolutely not. And as harsh as it sounds, Part of grieving in a healthy manner is knowing when it’s time to start moving forward again. (this was advice from a friend who miscarried at 9wks)

    • Your friend obviously handled the her miscarriage in a different way, which is her right to do. But is actually quite a different thing to actually birth a child. My family all came to see my daughter and held her. It felt perfectly natural. Yes there is healthy grieving and moving forward but I guarantee that time is not straight after birth. Once upon a time babies were taken from their mothers without them even knowing if they had a boy or girl. What we know now is how damaging and traumatising this has been to those women, which is why things are changing, why parents are offered photography services, foot/hand prints, locks of hair, time to hold and love the longed for baby, or even allowing siblings the chance to meet their longed for sister/brother. This IS part of healthy grieving.

  108. I think the vast majority of you people are absurd. A person who hasn’t suffered loss? You’re all clinically insane (or just plain stupid) if you even think that’s possible. Everyone has, in some way, suffered loss. What the article is talking about is that the HEALTHY grieving cycle is being disturbed by the over-sharing of lost pregnancies; it’s not saying that it’s bad to mourn a dead baby or to grieve a miscarriage. This is just a question of literacy for you folks who can’t seem to get past what you -want- to read rather than what you -are- reading.

    I do tend to agree with this sentiment, though. It is confusing for me to deal with a person who wants to put up a picture on their desk of a stillborn child or seems to think it’s okay to send out a “birth announcement” even though it’d be really baffling for the person receiving it. Don’t just think about yourselves here; think about the people you’re communicating with. I would be slightly appalled to receive the announcement because it’s supposed to be a joyous occasion! And here you are telling me that I need to send my condolences rather than communicating that tragic situation with those closest to you. In all honesty, if my closest female friend had this happen to her, I’d want her to TALK to me about it rather than do something completely asinine and assume everyone would want to know about this event in that fashion. It’s more disgusting.

    I’m fine with musicians and lyricists or authors or anyone who wants to make it public. The concept of forums is applicable here; meeting people who have gone through similar events makes things easier. It doesn’t make things easier to alienate yourself by doing things that push people away because the vast majority of people do not know how to respond to “WE HAD A BABY! :D It’s dead. :(” sorts of messages that things like the announcement or pictures would cause; it’s the conflicting emotion that disturbs people

    • The point is it is not about you, it is about the grieving parent trying to deal with what has happened. Yes it is meant to be a joyous occasion, that many people were anticipating, not just the parents, but tragedy happened. It is not the fault of the parents. It is exactly this ‘conflicting of emotion’ that leaves you so devastated. If death and others emotions is something you are uncomfortable with you have to realise that is YOUR issue.
      No one would ever put - ”WE HAD A BABY! :D It’s dead. :(”
      I chose to put out a ‘birth announcement’, I made sure I clearly stated our daughter was stillborn. I did this because it is not just your closest friends that know you are pregnant – everyone around you knows, I couldn’t call every single person and have that personal conversation, it was too draining on me when I was already stretched to limits. Weeks after her birth I was still running into people at the shops, or just in the street, or even getting calls asking ‘how’s the bub going?’ ‘ you should be about to pop soon!’ It was very confronting and emotional on me CONSTANTLY when I was trying my hardest to get myself together. I chose an announcement as a way of letting everyone know in what I though was the most personal way I was strong enough to do. If it caused you a moments unease after opening that letter, I’m sorry, but believe me it is far less awkward than putting your big foot in your mouth the next time you see me. I was thinking about others when I sent this out, I saw the look on people’s faces as they realised what had happened and what they had just said. I was also thinking of myself and my husband. As a result of me sending out this, my husband who couldn’t open up about it, had some amazing friends call and give him the chance to finally talk about how devastating it was for him. I have had many friendships deepen and learnt of people close who had suffered the same and were able to support us more fully. Many called to thank me for sharing part of her with them, because they had been so looking forward to meeting her.
      Pregnancy ends in tragedy more often than people like to acknowledge. The still birth rate hasn’t changed in 40 years, even with all our medical and technological advancements.  Yes everyone has suffered loss in their life, but I can tell you one thing, criticising someone for they way their grief is effecting you is NOT healthy.

    • This type of loss is expected to be mourned in a different way than any other loss– THAT’S the problem. You clearly have no empathy for or understanding of the difference. That’s where this article could have helpful, but Ms. Kingston chose to use verbiage that, in my opinion, is only slightly less “absurd”, “clinically insane” or “stupid” as yours. Really– couldn’t you offer up anything to provoke some kind of intelligent discussion?

  109. Re: Emily Yoffe’s column, It’s Anne Kingston’s choice of words here that is offensive: Yoffe DIDN’T say that “an actual birth hadn’t occurred,” just that a birth announcement would be confusing. That’s quite different.

    By the way, it’s possible to grieve a lost pregnancy and still be pro-choice. I know that’s the case for me.

    • I have repeatedly said that it’s Ms. Kingston’s word choice throughout the piece that’s offensive. However, I do not necessarily agree with Ms. Yoffe’s answer either– I haven’t read the complete question or answer as it is not printed here. Sometimes with some friends, they are just as offended NOT knowing things as they would be knowing them. When you suffer this type of loss (and I almost died with my second loss)– you just don’t have the mindset to call each friend individually. I did not send any kind of announcement myself, and I was EXTREMELY involved in our elementary school which led to many awkward moments with friends who though I was still pregnant or had delivered a healthy baby. Of course an advice column is just someone’s opinion anyway…

      And I am also pro-choice.

  110. Oh you are so right, people who suffer a loss should totally just suffer in silence– don’t share any tender moments that you had with your child in utero or after birth, I mean, they were so tiny, right?  Maybe we should extend that to the elderly, too.  Old wrinkly people give me the creeps…

    *sarcasm over*

    Think about what you wrote!  I am a babyloss mom– unexpectedly– my child died at one day old, all 9 lbs 1 oz of his perfection.  The feelings I feel for him are the same as a mother who lost a baby who never got to cry in this world.  I cannot imagine for one moment trying to take that away from any mother or to attempt to decree what grief can be shared— if you think it’s not comfortable for you, imagine how the parents and families feel.

    Oh, too, if you “alienate potential support” I would think they were not truly support in the first place.  This is not about abortion issues (pro choice lady here!).  It is about the loss of a child suffered by a family who loved the baby, wanted the baby, and misses the baby.  It really is that simple.

  111. This article is pure garbage written by a naive individual who’s never had a loss. Get over yourself.  If you haven’t experienced it, you have no right to judge how someone else grieves. My child lived for 23 days here on earth. 23 days. I can remember her and celebrate her all I want. 

  112. I know we should all have the right to express our views but I want to know what Miss Annie Kingston’s was trying to achieve by writing such an article?!?!?!?! I can tell by the 224 comments posted that she was trying to get a reaction and maybe 5 minutes of FAME!!!
    REALLY is preying on people when thay are down and out a means to an end?!?!?!A loss is a loss!!!!! A death is a death!!!! How dare you insinuate that people are overreacting!!! If there is so much talk about it, it might insinuate a NEED and belief that IT IS A DEVASTING experience that should be addressed MORE!!!I have never had to experience such grief but I have known MANY MANY MANY family and friends who have gone through this horrible experience and I would not want to wish it on anyone:(IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE SHHHHHHHHHHHH SAY NOTHING!!! TAKE A BIT OF GOOD ADVICE SHHHHHH SAY NOTHINGI wish Miss Annie Kingston would dedicate her penmanship to USEFUL causes…and God knows there are so many in today’s day and age…..I have now reserved MY right to express MY views…

  113. This article has nothing to do with stillborn children or with grieving for them. It’s all about suppressing the topic and burying it, because talking about it reinforces the anti-abortion movement. So this is politics disguised (poorly) as a human-interest story. Pure unadulterated, dishonest, feminist propaganda.

  114. My full term normal son died 36 years ago this coming July when a doctor in a hurry made a mistake and tried to force the birth.  It took me 2 days plus 8 hrs to deliver him, stillborn.  I still long for him. 

    I think that because no one knew what to say, they tried to pretend he never existed.  He did exist, and he mattered, and that made it harder.  The periods of profound mourning get farther apart, but they will never go away entirely.  Sometimes I feel depressed and don’t know why, then realize that his birthday is near.  The loss of a full term (or late pregnancy, or preemie) is not the same as an early miscarriage, I’ve had both.  These babies were prepared for and already loved.  At one point my son stuck out a foot so far that I could feel the shape of it.  I wish I could have seen his feet, but even the nurses who let me see him would not allow me to have a moment alone with him or unwrap him.  Just ignorance and the misguided idea that I would more easily “forget”.

    While talking and crying with my mother some years after the birth and loss, my mother also burst into tears.  She had lost a son at age one, 45 years before, and still mourned him. 

    As for the 3 other children needing to be cared for, some people are assuming that children are interchangeable, and that you can focus on the others.  My baby was #4.  One doctor (the one who killed him) actually had the nerve to tell me that he’d done me a favour, no one needed a fourth child!
    Early on I lost great chunks of time, when I would forget what I had started to do, might start dinner and then forget to turn the stove on.  Or it would be getting dark and I’d forgotten to call the other kids in.  Thankfully, that only lasted a few months.

    When my baby died, I didn’t think I knew anyone who had shared my experience.  I found that several people had, but that it had been a taboo subject.  They were the only ones who could relate to what I was going through.

    I think that sharing loss is a positive and healing thing, and that it is unfortunate if it makes some others uncomfortable.  It couldn’t possibly be as uncomfortable as knowing exactly how we feel.

  115. This issue has always been a little bit bizarre for me. I had an abortion at 8 weeks when I was 20 years old. I’ve never felt like I needed or wanted to mourn the loss of that fetus. To me, it was just a mass of cells that was making me sick and threatened to ruin my young life. The day of the abortion was an uplifting and happy day, actually. I know that will enrage a lot of people, but I’m being honest. I’ve never felt sad about my abortion. 

    So it’s always been a little bit hard for me to empathize with people who have had miscarriages, especially when they go to such great lengths to express their grief as detailed in the article. It’s not that I don’t want to empathize. I do recognize the loss as legitimate. If it’s a wanted child, it’s the death of your hopes and dreams of what your child would have been, and you’re robbed of your chance to parent. Or maybe it’s different. I don’t know how it feels. Nothing I’m saying here is meant to cast aspersions on anyone else’s sense of loss.

    I just don’t think it’s a black and white issue. Had I had the baby at 20, and something later happened to it as a toddler or something, I’m sure that I would have been a devastated mother. But I was certainly not devastated to lose the fetus.

    I think people’s feelings toward embryos and fetuses is highly culturally determined. In places like the Scandinavian countries, women rarely regret abortions and they are largely not expected to. In Canada, women still don’t often regret abortions (according to the statistics–the reliable ones, not the ones handed out by pro-life groups) but they are expected to at least feel sad that it had to happen if not regret it completely. There’s a huge focus on this emotional aftermath that is supposed to happen, and for many women, like me, it never does. It makes these women feel that there is something wrong with them for not experiencing a sense of loss. For me the procedure was about as emotional as a root canal (and less physically painful). The emotional part of the experience was that I felt like I had a second chance, like I could do anything I wanted with my life and the world was my oyster. I felt more strong and independent than ever, because I was making a decision I felt was right despite all the people who would judge me for it. It was a big turning point in my life. I’ve never looked back. 

    •  An abortion and a still birth, miscarriage or neonatal loss are not the same things.  I find it interesting that you are comparing them.  Unless the decision to abort was made due to a medical diagnosis that makes the fetus incompatible with life, these things are vastly different and the emotional affect on the parents are not even comparable.  It must be as you said, you are ignorant of the loss of a life you prepared for, hoped for, planned for and then never got to experience.  That is not an abortion, that is the death of your child and that is different than your decision at 20yrs old.

  116. I think people are being unfair to condemn the author so harshly, although I see it is coming from a raw place of hurt and grief. The way I understood it is that we’re watching a pendulum swing, moving from “go home, pretend it never happened, and keep trying” to circulating lifelike pictures of dead children and neglecting live children. Commenters are phrasing it as if it’s a choice between the two. I think the real message of this article is that something in between is probably most healthy. My stepsister and her husband had a still birth a few years ago. They named the child and they had a small funeral. They recognized the loss and they didn’t hide it from family or friends. But they didn’t circulate pictures of the dead child’s body or neglect their living children three years later. If they had done either of those things I’m sure the family would have tried to get them some professional help. It’s not that I’m judging people who do those things, like it’s morally wrong, it’s just that it really doesn’t seem like it’s for their own good. Neglecting children, for obvious, reasons, is unacceptable, and circulating pictures of anyone’s dead body, adult, child, fetus, whatever, is…not really kosher.

    I’ve never experienced any kind of meaningful grief, I admit. I can’t appreciate just how hard it is to live your life after the loss of a child. But I think as long as you are still alive, you owe it to yourself and your living children to try to find a way to live with the pain in a healthy way, such that you are able to function as a parent, spouse, and individual. Far easier said than done, yes, but still necessary. 

  117. Unless you have experineced the loss of a child you should not write about what you do not know

  118. Misscarriage and stillborn is very common and most suffer in silence.  There is that deep agony.  Personally myself I have suffered infant loss.  I was blessed to get photogaphy done of my baby from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  The longer you suffer in silence the more it is going to hurt.  Our bad experiences will enable us to be there and understand how someone is going through and is able to help them with their grief.  So it is about time that we all come out and share our experience.

  119. Seriously?!!!  If anything, it’s not talked about enough that’s why there are so much ignorance out there. I have 2 living children and a beautiful angel!!!  I gave birth to Annaya at 37 weeks on my 37th birthday, August 27, 2010.  She was perfect in every way except the fact that she died while I was on my way to the hospital for a routine appointment.  She died as the result of a med increase that I was told was “perfectly safe”.  After 2 doses, she was gone.  She went to sleep and asphyxiated.  This is MY reality and the reality of countless others.

    Eradicate ignorance and people will not view our losses as uncomfortable.

  120. The reason this author is so against the grieving that families are doing for their babies, is because the families are grieving for their BABIES. Not their fetuses, not their “blobs of tissue”, not their “products of pregnancy”. It boils down to her fears that the more people recognize that a child lost at  any stage of pregnancy is lost human life- the more the opinion of abortion is going to shift towards recognizing the it is taking a human life and will be outlawed.  She clearly states that towards the end of the article. I’m sorry for all of you that have suffered a loss. My prayers go out to you.

  121. From the Lancet Series on Stillbirth:

    “Bereaved parents are key to bringing about
    change. Where parents have joined together to support each other, the
    silence of stillbirth is broken. By voicing their stories, speaking the
    unspeakable, and being heard, parents can undo some of the myths that
    surround stillbirth and focus attention on how things could be done
    better.

    In some countries, the powerful
    role of parents has been demonstrated in a profound transformation in
    attitudes to bereavement care. Working collaboratively with health
    professionals, parents’ groups such as Sands in the UK have been able to
    build a culture of sensitive and caring bereavement support that
    respects parents’ needs, acknowledging that stillbirths matter and that
    the quality of care grieving parents receive can have a lifelong effect.”Full article here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2960107-4/fulltext#box1

  122. This article made me feel sick to my stomach. How DARE you tell people who have experienced such a profound loss–the loss of their CHILD, how to grieve and how to act. And, the way that people grieve the loss of a pregnancy or very young child has absolutely nothing to do with political persuasion, fame or stance on abortion. I think if you ever took the time to actually talk to a survivor of such an event, you’d find they are a very diverse group. Because it happens A LOT. Something I didn’t know when I had my miscarriage, because nobody ever talked about it. So, it’s ridiculous to me that you think it’s being talked about too much. A dead child is a dead child, at whatever stage in their life the death occurs. I am so glad I didn’t read something like this in the wake of my miscarriage, I didn’t need to be kicked while I was down.

  123.  Wow, let’s add a new perspective to this: When your husband dies you should not have pictures of him in your house or on your desk at work because it may alienate your co-workers.  You should not talk about him on a blog or post pictures of him on facebook.  You should only talk about the pain of being a widow among close intimates.  You should not still be grieving him as deeply, 3 years out, as you did the day he died.  For goodness sake, do not write a song about him!  Wearing his name on a t-shirt is freaky.  Shadow boxes or scrapbooks of your life together just intensifies the grief and doesn’t allow you to grieve in a healthy way.  Or how about when a parent dies?  Why is all this stuff okay when it’s a husband, wife, parent, sibling or older child but not when it’s a baby who never got the chance to experience this world?  What absolute bunk and hooey!

  124. Most of what I WOULD have said to the author has already been said by others here.  The one other thing I would mention is that it is unhealthy for society to try to hush perinatal loss.  Why?  Because 1 in 4 women experience either a loss during pregnancy or shortly after birth.  ONE in FOUR!  And if this topic is kept silent, as it appears this author would like to do, then these 25% of women experience this with no preparation and no understanding that it can happen to them. What’s more, perinatal loss affects more than the mother and baby.  If affects all those around them. So hearing about miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss bothers you?  Wouldn’t it bother you more to experience them and never know that they could happen?

  125. I am really surprised that such a renowned magazine would publish something so out of line.  Had the writer taken the time to interview some baby loss mom’s they would have realized that speaking about our grief is how we heal.  If I hadn’t been able to talk about my daughter ( stillborn at 39.6 weeks) the grief would have overcome me to a point of no return.  The online communities of other mothers who have lost their babies and the support of EVERY single person on my facebook page is what shows me how much my daughter and I mean to them and how precious her short life was.  I have to agree with a previous poster – it’s okay to talk about the parents and grandparents that we lose.  People are devastated when they have to put their dog down!!!  How can any of those things ever compare to the loss of a baby?  They can’t!  Granny and Gramps had 80 wonderful years, pooch had 15… my daughter had 9 months, that’s it.  I’d really like to see someone from Macleans take the time to respond to this article with another article about the life of a grieving mother.  It’s a world like none other.  

    Sincerely,

    Lacey Gawiuk
    Babylossmomsfound.com

  126. Armchair psychology at it’s worst. 
    Western society deals with grief so poorly *because* we treat it like something to be hidden away.
    Talking helps.  A lot.

  127. He has a right to his opinions.  I have a right to mine, and I have right to speak of my lost angels.  I lost two at 12 weeks and one at 25 weeks.  My son Noah was real – he was a baby – he had 10 fingers, 10 toes, was real.

    Perhaps this person doesn’t understand that a lost child is subject to the political rhetoric which makes things even more difficult.  The right want to use my child as a poster child – the left say he wasn’t a real child. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO ME!    When I was admitted my dx on the screen was “spontaneous abortion”.  I flipped – there was no aborting of this child.  He died due to a freakish genetic mutation that I had. When you’ve been pregnant and go into the hospital pregnant and then you leave empty handed, it is more than devestating.  It is surreal.  You wonder if what happened to you was real, or some bizarre dream.

    No one can take my children away – he can have his view.  Death makes people uncomfortable.  The death of children makes people more uncomfortable. 

    Families have endured their grief in solitude for so long.  Its about time we can come out into the light.  If you don’t like it, don’t look.

    • I think some of the terms they use are so insensitive after my third miscarriage my doctor called me a “habitual aborter” I flipped. I did not choose to abort my babies they were lost through no fault of mine. We do need to come into the light and we need to choose other terms for miscarriages besides ones that imply we had an abortion. I’m not knocking those who do choose that it’s your choice just like it’s our choice in how we grieve our loss. 

  128. There is no birth? Wrong. Birth: the emergence and separation of offspring from the body of the mother.

    It may not be a live birth, but there is certainly birth, and if the parent is comfortable, they should certainly send out a birth announcement. This is the only image they have of their child…that did live…just not outside of the womb. Death is an absolute certainty for us all…this should not be taboo…what should be taboo is NOT discussing death and life after death.

    My daughter had a purpose so beautiful, and I thought is was worth sharing. So many have agreed with me. http://www.babyevie.com.

    Christy

  129. This is ridiculous. The problem is with YOU not with parents memorializing their child(ren). Get over yourselves!

  130. I’m a shocked and steaming mad from this article and some of these mean, insensitive, and stupid comments.I am the mother of a health happy 4 yr old but I am also the mother of three angels in heaven.  How dare you say that my grief for my three miscarried babies is bad or that I shouldn’t share my loss. I wish I had pictures of them to show my friends and family or held them even for a brief moment but sadly they each died at around 9 weeks gestation. And I don’t care if it makes you uncomfortable to hear about my loss that is your issue not mine but I will talk about my angels and I will talk about my 4yr old because I am their mother no matter where they may be. I’m so glad that people are now being open about this type of loss. There is no reason for us to feel shame just because others don’t understand, don’t want to understand, or get uncomfortable. Our feelings are valid and our babies matter. 

  131. Congrats on writing an article which evokes such a debate and provokes us all to think about the subject of life. In order to fully understand this type of loss you have to have gone through it. Life is love. Life is spiritual, you cannot judge one’s reaction to such a spiritual loss.
    What about all the good and positive that comes from making this subject less taboo. It’s healthy and normal to grieve the loss of your baby at any gestation. It’s not the 1950′s. Society’s come a long way. If someone wants to acknowledge and honor their baby’s brief life then they should do so. People who are uncomfortable with that need to remember where they came from. Weren’t we all fetuses at one point? And are you not thankful for your own life? Choose love.

  132. The professonals who the author is quoting. and the author herself, clearly do not understand that the problem is not with the open, public grief it is that as a whole the western world is death and grief adverse. There is a general held belief that we can prevent death so we push people to keep their grief to themselves and stop talking about it. A child’s death, of any age, is pushed even further away. Parents find hope with those who have suffered a similar loss. The child died but they also lived, even if it was only in-utero or for a few minutes or days. The parents are celebrating their childs life and that should be celebrated with them. The discomfort of others not withstanding. Had the Anne Kingston done some research she would have realized that photographing the dead is not a new practice. In Victorian times in the USA and Canada taking pictures of dead children was common place. They were posed with the families and these were proudly displayed. The difference is that back then child death was accepted and not swept away. Children die and parents should be allowed to grieve the way they want. Public grief normalizes it for everyone. This article if widely read will only hurt and set back the grieving process.

  133. Only a few times in my life have I wished a miscarriage on anybody. F*ck you, author. 

  134. I can’t believe you would EVER talk about something you have never experienced. You have no idea what it is like to lose a child. NO clue. SHAME ON YOU!

  135. Dear Anne Kingston: I hope you nor anyone close to you ever suffers the loss of a child. Clearly this has not happened to you or you could not possibly write such a cruel, unnecessary story. I myself never gave much thought to miscarriage, stillbirth or how they are expressed–until it happened to me. On 18 April 2012 I gave birth to my daughter, our first child, who was born without life at 30 weeks. The unbearable loss, grief, confusion, sadness is beyond words. My life has changed and I am no longer the person I was, but I should keep this all to myself? Bottle it up and move on? Having a baby is the most significant moment in a person’s life. I had a baby, I gave birth after a long and painful labour. I had a child and a birth story that I cannot share because it may make people uncomfortable? When is death not uncomfortable? No one ever knows how to address death, let alone the death of a child. Hiding it, not talking about it, further isolating me from the rest of society is not the solution. Talking about it is helping me heal–though I am no where close to healed. It is even MORE DIFFICULT for me to talk about it than for someone to hear my story, but by sharing I have found kindness, support and humanity. I am learning to cope.
    Dealing with the loss of a baby has NOTHING to do with the abortion debate, shame on you attempting to connect the two! A straw man argument if ever I saw one. A women choosing to end a pregnancy is in no way related to grieving the loss of a baby.
    Your story is beyond insensitive. It is cruel, shameful and disgusting. I have never read anything like this before, why would anyone publish such hate? Such disregard for suffering? I am shocked that Macleans would allow this.
    Anne, one day I hope you realize how hurtful your story is. I also hope that Macleans takes this story offline so no other grieving mother who is up late searching for answers why her first child was stillborn stumbles upon it and sobs, like I did and am.

  136. Just lost my first pregnancy this weekend at 10 weeks. I have no interest in telling the world about it, because I don’t want to hear “I’m so sorry” and “At least you weren’t very far along” and whatever other awkward, well-intentioned-yet-completely-thoughtless comments people offer up. I want to spend the next couple of days being miserable, and then I plan to go back to work, pick up where I left off and focus on trying again. I’ve never known heartbreak like this, it’s a dull ache in my chest that doesn’t let up, except for that half a millisecond in the morning when I wake up and it’s not occupying all my mind. I couldn’t possibly care any less about making people uncomfortable, I’m interested in mine and my husband’s comfort at this point, and not talking about it with everyone and their dog is what gives us comfort. But that’s how we grieve. Whoever wrote this article may or may not have suffered a similar loss, but the arms-length, methodical way in which it has been written offers only journalistic neautrality and no real insight to what people deal with when faced with this situation. Make no mistake, it is a living nightmare.

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