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Challenge: Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Stillbirth not "too sad" for TV. But news station says so. Why we must talk.

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Stillbirth"too sad" for TV? News station says so. Why we must talk.


“Too sad” for TV.

What’s too sad for television you might ask? Pregnancy loss. As in stillbirth.

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Yes, the medium that daily gives us murder reports, visuals of car crashes, commercials of starving animals, and breaking news of children left in cars to suffocate—told two brave mothers that the segment they filmed on the topic of their pregnancy loss was too sad to air.

I’ll agree with the news station on the one point—pregnancy loss is sad.

But as Brittany, a mother who lost her Jaxon at 39 weeks pregnant says, "Our babies are not too sad for tv... our babies deserve to be celebrated and to be loved. We shouldn’t be telling moms that their story, their child’s story is too sad... "

As an author wanting to talk about the topic of loss I've been told the same, you can't have air time because the topic is too hard. You can't write the book because no one wants to read about such a hard topic. And it has infuriated me. So I fought forward.

Because millions of women walk around daily bearing the silent grief of having labored but who returned home with empty arms to the deafening silence of an already decorated nursery.

And although it's hard. And it's sad, it's also reality that deserves a voice.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. 1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. And yes, it is sad.

The statistics are shattering. But in order to help change the statistics and take away the misguided shame we must shatter the silence. We must not keep saying that "it's too sad" to discuss.

After pregnancy loss many women strongly desire to help other women.

I was devastated this past week when I found out that Brittany and Catie had filmed a television segment, but then found out it wasn’t going to air on television.

You see, Catie and Brittany are making a difference by helping fellow mothers of loss.

Unfortunately, the story they filmed was axed due to the fact that it’s too sad.

Brittany and Catie have a goal of providing every hospital in Oklahoma with a Caring Cradle or Cuddle Cot. These cooling bassinets are designed to help extend the time mothers can spend with their little stillborn boy or girl.

And yes, that is a hard, sad topic.

But it’s important.

It’s important to Catie because, in week 18 of her pregnancy, she and her husband Jason, delivered their precious daughter Oliva. Catie barely remembers holding her daughter before she was taken away because Catie was seeing double and throwing up from the medication of her delivery. She would have given anything to have had time for photographs or cuddling her daughter longer. A cooling bassinet can substantially extend the time of good-bye.

It’s important to Brittany, the president of the non-profit The Jaxon Kade Foundation, because she and her husband Joshua only got to spend 90 minutes with their precious son Jaxon. Jaxon was born silent at 39 week’s gestation. This is a full-term child who should have been starting kindergarten next year.

Catie and Brittany could have grieved silently. But, like so many other mothers of loss, their desire is to use their pain to help alleviate some of the suffering of others. They want to provide families with the gift of time. Brittany has already raised over $27,000 and Catie has helped raise an additional $11,000. Several cooling bassinets have already been placed in hospitals across Oklahoma.

This work of goodwill caught the attention of FOX23 News in Tulsa. The news station scheduled, interviewed, and filmed Catie and Brittany at St. John Health System—one of the grateful recipients of the bassinet.

Preparing and filming a television interview brings with it anxiety—especially when your conversation relives painful birth memories. But Catie and Brittany bravely and articulately shared their birth stories and mission to help others.

Both ladies applaud the news station for tackling the topic and for Michelle and Michael, from the news station, for capturing their birth stories so beautifully. And the story was captured perfectly. Fox 23 produced the story in a loving and educational manner.

The conversation was supposed to air earlier this week.

But didn’t air because it was deemed, by the ultimate decision makers, too sad for viewers.

Which is itself, a complete tragedy.

October is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. A time set aside by past-president Ronald Reagan to recognize families affected by the loss of a child and to advocate and provide resources about topics such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, and stillbirth.

Ronald Reagan, decades ago, saw a need for us to talk about loss and to provide resources for families. Unfortunately, we still have this need. Because the topic is still taboo.


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I encourage you all to watch the video of Brittany and Catie. You can view a copy of the unaired video here.

And you can see why these two ladies and hundreds like myself, want this video to receive the air time it deserves.

Catie, a member of the Loved Baby support group I founded, says, “THIS is why October is pregnancy and infant loss month, because it's silenced, swept under the rug, and censored. I am fuming and heartbroken. It was very difficult to relive the trauma of my birth story, but I did it to raise awareness and help other moms not feel alone. And then this. I am so upset. Our goal is to shatter the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. 1 in 4 is too high of a statistic for us to stand by quietly.”

She wants people to “Please comment and tell us why you’d like to see this segment air.”

She, understanding the value of community and that people often feel discouraged from sharing their story, encourages people to “feel free to share a story or a picture of your angel baby." She says let us #shatterthesilence this October.”

Recently celebrities, such as James Van der Beek and Carrie Underwood, have come forward sharing their own experiences with loss. And when they shed their tears we see them not as larger than life figures, but as fellow grievers whose hearts ache. They encourage us to keep pressing forward and that the topic is being discussed in some corners of the world. However, we still have many that feel uncomfortable with the topic of loss.

But we have to talk.

We have to listen.

We can’t stop the pain, but we can follow the lead and listen to women, such as Catie and Brittany, so we can know how to show compassion to families affected by the death of a child within the womb.

As a culture, we have to do better at walking alongside families through the devastating grieving process that follows pregnancy loss.

But in order to help, we must first be willing to talk.

And to listen to those willing to educate us.

And to face the uncomfortable.

I encourage you to share my friend Catie and Brittany’s stories.

And,

Dear FOX23 News in Tulsa,

I get that this is hard. I really do. And I thank you for gifting them the interview to share on their social media. However, the baby loss community would like to see you help shatter the silence. Yes, you might receive some response that the story is too sad for television, but I promise you you’ll have thousands of women cheering you on because YOU took them out of the shadows and YOU are providing them a way to help others and YOU are helping viewers know about a resource that could give them the blessing of time.

You will be showing pregnancy loss in a dignified manner that is worthy of grief. You will be helping mothers of loss.

Ronald Reagan said we need to talk. So let’s talk.

You have lots of power right now. Please use it to help.

Please consider airing the segment. You produced a beautiful feature, Catie and Brittany shared with you the deep places of their hearts, and the reporter did it all in such a gentle manner-- please give this topic- the space and honor it deserves.

You've come this far...now go one step further to help us discuss this women's issue that gets left in the shadows.

Sincerely,

Sarah Philpott, Author of Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss

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