I read this article today. Faces of Loss posted the link. http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/02/29/the-mourning-after/
I've had to sit on this for a while to try and compose my thoughts on this. The post that would have come out of the initial reaction would not have been pretty.
I remember watching a news story where "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" was featured. This was before I had children. I remember thinking about those moms and wondering why they would want pictures of their children after they had passed. Why would you want to remember them that way?
Fast forward to May 21, 2011. I just gave birth to my second son. I knew our time was going to be limited and I would have given anything to have someone come to take pictures with us. I thought about it for a second and then again thought "do I want to remember Ryan like this?" After a little while we did see if the hospital had a camera that we could use. They didn't so we never took any photos while we were there. It just didn't seem right to me to take those pictures on Nick's cell phone.
We did take a few pictures of us holding Ryan and his tiny hand in ours. We have the "newborn" photo that the hospital took. That's the only one where you can see his precious little face. We have a collage that a friend made for us of some of these photos on the mantel in the living room. The picture of just Ryan is on my nightstand. I've gone back and forth so many times about putting it out in the living room with the others. I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable but on the other hand why should I feel like I can't put up my son's photo in my own house?!
The author of this article didn't do her research. Not all babies born after 20 weeks are stillborn. Ryan was born alive and lived for 55 minutes. And even if that child is stillborn they are STILL BORN.
I don't know a woman who has gotten a positive pregnancy test that, from that very moment, doesn't start dreaming of a life for that child. No matter what the gestational age of that child when he/she passes or how that child passes that dream is shattered. I don't think that just because the general population didn't get to meet that child that means that child didn't "exist" or that that child isn't forever a part of that family.
What if Ryan was older when he passed? Should I not have his pictures around? Should I not talk about him anymore? When an older person dies you can speak of the memories you have -- when a child dies you can only talk about the memories you wish you had. You hold onto hope that your child is living on with others who have passed before them and that one day you'll get to see them again, but until that day you live for them. You try to make a difference. Ryan didn't get to live his life but I'm going to be damn sure to live mine for me and him. I want to make sure when I get to see him again that he's proud of his mama.
People grieve in different ways and no one can tell you what is right or wrong. All I know is that for me, having others speak his name and support us in doing things in his name is the best consolation of all. I will never be "better". I will never be "over this". Ryan passed that night and part of me went with him, that will never change. All I can do is learn to adjust to life without my son and for someone, who I can guess has never experienced such a loss, to say that I shouldn't do these things in my opinion is ignorant.