Our Babies Were Stillborn, But They Were Still Born

The pain and exhaustion of childbirth? Yeah, we’ve done that. We know what it’s like to be wheeled in for a c-section or to have our cervix checked for progress. That fear you have before childbirth begins, the fear that makes you question whether you are truly ready for what’s ahead? We know this feeling. We also know the feeling of wanting to give up, but finding the strength to keep going just so you can finally see your baby. That strength is a lot harder to find when you know you will be seeing your baby for the last time.

Our babies were stillborn and they were STILL BORN.

The most heartbreaking validation comes from our bodies. Even when our babies stop living, the maternal instincts of the human body are strong. Our bodies are so committed to the existence of our babies that they continue on as if they were still alive. People are often surprised to learn that, even after a stillbirth, we endured the usual postpartum experiences. To be honest, this is something that was surprising for us too. No one told us that we would go through the aftermath of childbirth without our child, but we did. We changed bloody pads. We healed from c-section scars and episiotomies. We felt our breasts fill with the painful reminder that there would be no baby to feed. We did it all, we just did it with empty arms.

Our stillbirth experience is still a birth experience.

So, please continue to remember our babies. Acknowledge their existence, honor their memory, and say their name. Do all of these things and then go a little further to recognize their birth. Our children are not something we imagined. They existed. When you acknowledge how they came into this world, you are honoring their life. You are also honoring the woman who carried them through that life and delivered them to a place beyond the living.

Rachel Whalen
Rachel Whalen
Rachel Whalen is a writer and Kindergarten teacher who lives in Vermont. She is the mother of two daughters; 2-year-old Frances and Dorothy who was stillborn in 2016. Since Dorothy's death, Rachel has used her writing to advocate for others who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. Her writing has been widely shared by Still Standing magazine, Pregnancy After Loss Support, the Today Show, and Her View From Home. In sharing her story, Rachel hopes that she can let others know they are not alone in their heartbreak and their love for their child. Connect with Rachel on Facebook, and see more of her writing on her blog.

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