Thursday, October 31, 2013


There's a lot of chatter around "acceptance" for babyloss parents. It's one of those words that thoughtlessly gets tossed around. Indeed, acceptance is one of Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross' famous yet much-misunderstood Stages of Dying. I pretty much accepted that Toren had died from the moment we were told there was no heartbeat. Even before we were told. The nurse was moving the monitor around and said "I'm just trying to figure out what position this baby is in..." and I knew. But here's what I think of the idea of acceptance - it is leveled at the wrong people. I wish the world outside of the babyloss community could accept what I am saying about my experience as Toren's mother. Don't fight it. Just accept it. He's my baby, my child, my son, and I will always be sad that he died. I will never be ok with it. Just accept it. I wish the world would accept that he is a member of our family and that that will never change. Stop resisting me on this, it just makes things worse.

I've been thinking about when my grandmother died. My Nana. She was 92. She didn't cease being a person when she died. She didn't stop being my Nana. No one said to me, "I guess you weren't meant to be a grand-daughter." No one said her life wasn't meant to be. No one even remotely implied that I should try to forget her. My GP didn't say, "It would be best for your daughter if you moved on and had another grandmother." And when she died, no one said they couldn't find her heartbeat. She was simply allowed to have died. And she's been allowed to maintain her place in the family ever since.

At school the other week, one of the other parents asked me if my daughter has any siblings. I said, "Yes she has a baby brother who died." I showed her his photo on my phone. I am Quick Draw McGraw with that thing. She was compassionate, offered her condolences, then after a few breaths asked "How old was he?" Not, "What's his name?" There may be many innocent reasons why she asked this, but my griefbrain translates this as: "How sad do I need to be about this?" Just accept that it is sad. It won't kill you. It didn't kill me (not literally) so you will be fine.

When friends are looking for ways to support bereaved parents, one of the biggest things they can do is to accept. Accept that child as a person. Accept that child as a member of the community who has died and everything that entails. Accept that that child has his or her place in the family and that can never be altered. Accept what the parents are saying about their experience. All of it, not just the nicey-nicey easy to digest I'm-so-transformed-by-my-child's-life stuff. The crappy stuff too. Feel free to extend that to anyone going through anything difficult. It is their experience, accept what they are telling you about it. Accept your own sadness about it.


  1. This post is amazing and I'm so glad to have read it.

  2. Thank you for this post, I've shared it on my Facebook page.

  3. Fantastic post! Thank you for exploring acceptance here. To have acceptance from others would truly make a difference in feeling supported for babyloss parents and siblings. Accept that our babies are people and that they have died. Say our babies names, don't tiptoe around, and pretend they didn't exist. Accept our families, just as they are. Thank you Toren's mom! Sending you a big hug!

  4. Fantastic post! As an auntie to two stillborn children i always count them in when people ask me how many nieces and nephews i have! They DID exist and they ARE part of the family. All the very best to you xxx

  5. This is the kind of perspective / info that should be passed out to friends and families of bereaved parents. Another thing you've written that is simultaneously obvious and yet such a wake-up call - like when tragedy and grief hit, brains just become numb and unable to handle things in the obviously correct way, maybe? What you've written here is what they need to snap back to "Duh, this baby counts every bit as much as anyone else I've ever cared about" and that's where they should start when wondering how to work through the pain with their family or friend.