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  • Writer's pictureJen Chappell

The First Time I Saw a Stillborn Baby

I remember it clearly.

A friend posted on instagram telling the world about her baby. I didn't know she had a daughter years before, but she posted a picture and explained in the caption how it was her stillborn daughter's birthday.

I read and reread the caption, trying to take in exactly what I was reading.

Was she really posting what I thought she was posting?

She explained how this day was so hard for her, how she would always miss her baby. How she missed out on so many "firsts"... first birthdays, first steps, first days of school.

I didn't get it.

I studied the picture she posted. Honestly I didn't want to see a dead baby. Her baby was born around 34 weeks (I think???). I remember thinking I was surprised that she posted it.

I didn't get that either.

And honestly, I am severely embarrassed to say this, but I didn't understand her pain. I didn't understand how she could be so attached to a baby that wasn't even born alive.

I didn't get it!

Like alot of things in life, its hard to understand a situation unless you have gone through it personally. We try to emphathize, we try to be compassionate, but it's hard.

It’s no ones fault really, its just the way life is.

A couple years later, my world was absolutely shattered when my perfectly healthy, nine pound son was born still.

Suddenly, and without wanting to, I understood.

I immediately understood how I would miss out on a ton of "firsts".

I even remember crying a couple of months later when my oldest fell off his bike and skinned his knee. He asked me to kiss his boo-boo and then he felt better and got back on his bike. I remember standing next to my neighbor ( who I must add, was very understanding and hugged me) and I burst into tears. She asked if I was OK and all I could spit out was how it made me realize I will never get to kiss Cooper's boo-boos.

I understood the feeling of wanting to share pictures of my son.

I have shared pictures of my son.

In my eyes, he looks perfect. He doesn’t look dead, or scary, he looks peaceful.

He looks like his older brother, has the hair of his older sister, and the nose of his younger sister.

He looks like a baby.

So let me break it down.

Stillborn babies are babies. As the name states, they are STILL. BORN.

As in, we went through labor and delivery.

As in, we held them.

As in, You just cannot forget that.

When you meet your child, dead or not, you still meet them.

That moment can't be erased or undone.

So I encourage those of you who have been lucky enough to NOT have experienced a loss. When you see our pictures, don't turn away. When you read our posts, don't roll your eyes. When you hear us talk about our baby that isn't here, don't get uncomfortable.

Don't be like I was, the first time I saw a picture of a stillborn baby.

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