Elegy for Amy

Dead Babies June 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:42 pm

Other than my living room, when it’s just Dan and I, this is more or less the only place where I actually say the words, “my baby died.”

When talking to others, or when people ask, I find some other way to say it, like, when people ask how the pregnancy is going, I say, “oh, that didn’t work out.” Or, when I have to tell people, I’ll say, “we lost her,” or “she didn’t make it,” or sometimes I just kind of shake my head “no” in what I hope conveys sadness. If I’m feeling particular brave, I’ll say we went into labor too early and “she was already gone when we had her.”

Saying “my baby died” just sounds so blunt. Aggressive, even. Oh, you are daring to kindly ask me how I am doing? DEAD BABY. I guess a dead baby is just kind of blunt even if you’re not trying to be. Dead babies are supposed to be the punchline for particularly tasteless jokes, not something that real people, nice people, actually have.

When you ask someone how their pregnancy is going, especially when you last saw them at 21 weeks and clearly pregnant, you’re supposed to be regaled with stories of pregnancy woes or the occasional tale of inexplicable 2nd trimester energy, not, oh, actually, we went into labor and the baby died.

So I guess I do this to spare others, because in my head, it’s not better, it’s just, great, I have to tell another person that our baby died, this is going to be awkward and hopefully I won’t cry. Most days, I do this gladly, but some days, I wonder, why can’t I ever just say, actually, she died. Thank you for asking. It sounds blunt and awful because it is, blunt and awful, but we didn’t misplace her, she’s not coming back, she wasn’t just something that didn’t work out – she died, and she wasn’t supposed to, and no, I really don’t want to hear your thoughts about how it just wasn’t meant to be – she was a baby, and she died, and there is no plan in which dead babies could possibly be okay, so let’s just nod sympathetically at each other, and then when we part, you can think about how glad you are not to be me.

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One Response to “Dead Babies”

  1. Kristine Says:

    I don’t know if it helps to know that someone’s reading along here, but I read this, and I just want to echo that I hate it when people say “We lost the baby,” like they just forgot to check under the couch. It’s blunt and awful and terrible, and I feel like anything that mitigates it isn’t fair TO YOU unless that’s what YOU want to put out there, you know? I find myself ENRAGED at the thought that you have to mitigate YOUR pain for other people. That makes me all KSMASH.

    Anyway, we send our love, daily and more.


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