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Losing a baby in a pregnancy-obsessed society

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Pregnancy announcements. Baby showers. Gender reveals. Maternity photoshoots. Creating registries.

As soon as you see two lines, there are countless ways you are encouraged to prepare and celebrate your pregnancy and baby on the way. It seems like we can’t get enough of women when they are expecting their little bundle (or bundles) of joy. If you are pregnant, you are encouraged to share, share, share. The message these woman receive seems to be one of support and celebration–this is a big moment, Mama and we are here for you.

But, what happens when the baby dies or the pregnancy ends?

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When your baby dies you realize the harsh reality. Our society is obsessed with pregnancy and babies–until the baby dies.

Once there is no more baby, the expectation for those grieving mamas is to find a quiet place and be sad. Don’t make any more announcements. Don’t share. Please, just take care of yourself and don’t say anything about it because you might make someone uncomfortable.

Why does society react this way? Why do we look the other way when a baby dies?

Because when a baby dies, it’s not very cute. The photos are heartbreaking, there are no more parties to plan, and sending sympathy cards is not as fun as shopping for onesies. We live in a culture obsessed with imagery and it is really hard to make miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death look Pinterest-worthy.

When your baby dies, that initial message of celebration and support changes – Sorry that the baby is gone. Let us know when you get pregnant again and we’ll plan another baby shower.

Because when it comes to pregnancy and babies, we only seem to care when there is something to celebrate. Where does that leave the 1 in 4 women whose pregnancies will end in a loss? What does that mean for the 1 in 160 babies who will be stillborn? How do we explain ourselves to the 2,500 families who will lose their babies to SIDS this year?

Families don’t stop needing us because their baby died.

They still need that support being offered when they were expecting a baby. The support will look different. It won’t be cute and there will be less to celebrate, but it is more necessary than ever.

Originally published on An Unexpected Family Outing

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