Stillbirth: Still Painful 9 Years Later

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9 years ago, I delivered our second child, stillborn, at 20 weeks. It was a little boy we named Braxston. You can read more about it here: Baby Braxston and Miscarriage and StillbirthI have been trying to decide what to write on really for months. Posting about the topic has become part of my tradition in recent years (see more on Traditions for Lost Child’s Birthday here). I have been blank.

Two years ago, I wrote about how the pain doesn’t lessen, you just get better at handling that pain (see Not Less Painful–Just Better At Handling It). You learn to manage it. You learn to live with the pain that is always there in the background. Even so, I am blank. 

I am blank because it feels too painful to me right now. The pain management is raw right now. I don’t know why. It has been 9 years! Shouldn’t it be a dull memory by now? It isn’t. And in all honesty, even though I think we should Allow Grief to Be Felt, a lot of times my way of dealing with the pain is to not allow myself to dwell on it. Don’t get me wrong, I think about him throughout each and every day, even 9 years later. He is my son. But I don’t allow myself to feel that pain. I push it aside. Most of the time. It is hard to do that at this time of year. I reflect back on my excitement 9 years ago at knowing I would soon find out if I was having a boy or girl. I had no idea what was coming. 

I have moments where I wander down the path of what if. What if he hadn’t died? What would life be like for us? How would life be for Brayden to have a brother only 14 months younger than he is? I know the Lord knows all. I trust in Him. But I still wonder sometimes.

It still hurts. Some days are hard and some days are full of optimism about the whole situation. The hardest days are the days of significance. The day you found out. The day the baby was born. The day that was supposed to be the due date. The day you found out you were even pregnant. These are really some of the only things you have to “hold on” to that represent your child. I am fortunate that I do have some pictures and other mementos, but not all people do. 

If you, too, have lost a baby, I think it is normal to still be sad at times (I hope so!). I do find it comforting to write about it (I actually feel better already). Try it yourself (you can write in a journal–let it all out). 

If you haven’t ever lost a baby, please don’t expect people to “get over it.” How can you get over something like that? Allow people to grieve in their own way. Allow people to be comforted in their own way. Respect their individual needs. Some like to talk about it and some do not. Everyone is different. 

valplowman

Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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8 Comments

  1. kellilayne
    April 27, 2015 / 12:38 PM

    Thank you for sharing. I have several friends who have experienced this, and you have articulated well the emotions. I love that you airways give practical advice. 🙂

    • Valerie Plowman
      May 1, 2015 / 11:06 PM

      You are so welcome kelliayne!

  2. Laswifta
    April 27, 2015 / 12:45 PM

    My daughter was stillborn at 17 weeks in 2014 and its comforting to hear you say that you still miss your son. I certainly have no desire to "get over" her, and trust the loving kindness of God I'm giving her to us for 17 weeks.

    • Valerie Plowman
      May 1, 2015 / 11:05 PM

      Laswifta–you are so right. We don't want to get over them. It is definitely hard because no one knows that you were pregnant as well as you do.

  3. summer
    April 27, 2015 / 9:36 PM

    Thank you for sharing this. I had a miscarriage in February and it has been the hardest thing I've ever gone through. I feel like I'm crazy sometimes being so sad. It is comforting knowing that I am not alone in how I feel.

    • Valerie Plowman
      May 1, 2015 / 11:05 PM

      You are definitely not crazy Summer. I am sorry you experienced this.

  4. wearp
    May 2, 2015 / 4:02 AM

    Thanks Val. I realize now that there will never be a day without a mixed feeling of wonder, faith, sadness and hope. I'm sorry for your loss and keep us all in bonded prayer. Wimberley

  5. Valerie Plowman
    May 5, 2015 / 11:35 PM

    Thank you Wimberly. I appreciate your words 🙂

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