Snapshots of a Too Short Life: Understanding Infant Loss

baby-loss

I remember the first time I saw a photograph of a stillborn baby.

It was on one of the pregnancy website forums that I had joined for mothers that all had estimated due dates in April 2007. I was pregnant with my very first child, and the image disturbed and terrified me.

I didn’t understand. The photo weirded me out. It seemed so strange to me that a woman would put a picture of her deceased baby as her profile picture in a pregnancy forum of all places.

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Fast forward to December 2011. I delivered identical twin girls at thirty weeks gestation. They suffered from a disease of the placenta that affects identical twins, Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS.) One of my beautiful girls passed away two days later.

And I posted a picture of my beautiful daughter in her white gown, taken shortly after she passed away.

I enlarged and printed that picture, framed it, and hung it in my living room for all to see.

Suddenly, I understood. Suddenly, I was part of the “club” of grieving mothers.

Those pictures were no longer disturbing or strange; they were beautiful. I completely got why a mother would post her stillborn baby as her profile picture; that photo captured the few moments that a mother was able to hold her precious baby. It represented the only (or one of only a few) of the images that that mother has to hold through her entire life.

Because there will be no pictures of first birthday parties, first teeth, trips to the zoo, the first day of school, growing up, high school graduation, weddings, and so forth. There are only those treasured moments when we met, and then said goodbye, to our child. Our hopes, our dreams, our future, gone in an instant.

I understand why it makes people uncomfortable. Death is uncomfortable. It’s difficult to know what to say and do. Seeing a picture of a baby gone from this world captures our greatest fears as parents. I just ask you to remember that that picture is not about you and your feelings. It is about a grieving parent, trying to grasp on to anything that they can; to remind the world to remember their child.

We, grieving mothers, are bonded by a common sadness. A common experience that you have to share to truly understand. But many of us are determined to do what we can to alleviate the pain for any parents new to this “club” we never wanted to join, but paid the highest dues to enter.

About six months after I lost my infant daughter, I began to write and blog about my grief, pain, and life in general. I found and connected with other grieving parents. A whole new world opened up to me. Faces of loss, stories of grief, but most importantly, stories of survival, which have encouraged me and propelled me forward.

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One of the common themes we share, whether our loss was an early miscarriages, late pregnancy, infant loss, or an older child, is that desire to make known that we will always be that child’s mother. Whether we are mothering them in our arms or in our hearts. Hence, the posting of the pictures, that are purely a statement of that mother’s love and devotion to her baby, taken too soon.

To the grieving moms out there: you are always their mother. 

And to the lucky moms who get their children here on earth: The next time you see a mother post a picture of her stillborn baby, or an infant that died shortly after birth, try not to be offended or disgusted. Try to remember that for her, that is all she has.

About the writer

Alexa Bigwarfe is the mother of four beautiful children, three on earth and one in Heaven. She blogs as "Kat Biggie" at “No Holding Back” which was started primarily as an outlet for her grief after the loss of one of her twin daughters. She can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter @katbiggie. Alexa, and 30 other grieving parents, recently published a book for grieving mothers entitled Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother. Learn about their Mother's Day Campaign for bereaved mothers, with a goal to raise funds to donate more than 100 books to hospitals and bereavement groups.

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Heather 7 months ago

Sending much love to you. *hugs*

Monique 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing. You expressed what so many who have suffered a loss have felt (and continue to feel). It will be 11 years since my loss on May 3rd. It’s hard to explain such a process, and you did so very eloquently.

Cynthia 1 year ago

Alexa, I too am a member of the Bereaved Moms Club. When I lost Samantha, not only did the idea of a photo freak people out, just the thought of a stillborn baby seemed to send many running. As you know, grieving is the hardest work you’ll ever do. I found solace in writing and published “Love Mom: A Mother’s Journey From Loss to Hope” as a love letter to my girl and to help other bereaved parents in some small way. Thanks for helping readers everywhere have a little more understanding!

Alexa 1 year ago

I am also so sorry for your loss. I will visit your page!

Miri F 1 year ago

Thank you for this article. I had twins in 2012, and my lovely daughter struggled to live for nearly six months before she could not hang on anymore due to her heart condition. Since infant and child loss is so taboo in society, I still find myself fumbling sometimes when asked how many children I have. I am a mother to three children, it’s just that one is no longer living.

Karen Johnston-Broadhead 1 year ago

I lost my baby boy at 38 weeks. .. 14 years ago. It takes time. With time, comes peace.

Julie Marden 1 year ago

I am one of those who desperately tried to start a Non-Profit for this very thing. I had 3 miscarriages but my bf lost twin full term babies then two more friends lost their children at 8 months old and 2 years old. To help their grief I wish I could’ve had the photography business up and going I so believe in it after having death around me so much. It’s something tangible I can do!

Sara O’Brien Farmer 1 year ago

I am a member of this club twice over (I lost my 15-month-old daughter Lucy to dilated cardiomyopathy last Mother’s Day and had a missed miscarriage and D&C with baby 3 at 11.5 weeks pregnancy three months after Lucy’s death.)

I have a beautiful 4-year-old boy and am expecting another baby girl this July/August. I respectfully disagree with Scary Mommy’s description that this is a “horrible club”. No one wants to join it for sure, but you meet amazing people who understand and you become a better person for the experience.

My life isn’t horrible and neither is mothering the two kids I lost in addition to the two I have. Losing them was horrible, but brought blessings in its own way. I am a proud mother of four and I wouldn’t change having them for anything, even if that meant I had to let them go so soon.

Michelle Foster 1 year ago

Thank you for these words. It’s a poignant portrayal of why it’s important for mothers to keep their child’s memory alive. I lost my son when he was 30 days old and I am desperate to hold on to him in any way possible. I want to hear people say his name. I want to talk about him. I want him to matter to people. Unfortunately, it’s apparently just too difficult to do. On those shining moments when someone does mention him, it’s joy mixed with devastation, but I’ll take that little bit of joy in there, because the devastation will never go away.

Priscilla 1 year ago

Oh the morning tears. I had a miscarriage 2x since I met my husband. I’ve learned to accept that it is part of nature and they have always been early. I would go ape shit if I lost my child at such a state. You mothers are the strongest people in the world. I know that it is hard and that’s why I know I would never manage it with my history of depression. I never thought the photos to be creepy but it was sad because often even a deceased baby looks so peaceful you have to stop and wondering what God’s plan was. I think he just wants some beautiful babies to raise for himself as angels.

erika 1 year ago

Both of my identical twin daughters were stillborn due to TTTS in July 2008. Thank you for this article. I think about my daughters every day and know just what you mean about how different my perspective is now as a grieving mom.

Melastik Bintang 1 year ago

nice sharing…. =)

TR 1 year ago

The fact you had to remind mothers of children still here on earth, to try and not be offended or disgusted, crushed my heart even more.

Trish 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this., I am so sorry for your loss.
My motto is Don’t judge – whatever a grieving parent does to remember their baby/child is about them not me or anyone else.

My daughter was born still at 26 wks gestation and though born fully formed her skin was too deteriorated to display her picture.

Kassie Morgan Patterson 1 year ago

on March 18th, 2014 I went to the doctor for my 39 week checkup only to find out that the couldn’t find her heartbeat. they immediately sent us to the hospital for an ultrasound, when we got there we got an ultrasound and they couldn’t find her heartbeat. so they decided to induce labor and on March 19th, 2014 at 5:46 am I gave birth to my stillborn daughter who weighed 6 pounds even and was 19 inches long. it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I wish that I could say that it gets easier, but it has yet to get easier. the hardest thing I’ve ever had to hear was that my daughter had died. the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was live every moment since then.

Ashley 1 year ago

It used to be a common tradition in the early days of photography to photograph the deceased. For many it was the only photograph they would ever have taken. It went out of fashion as photography improved, but for child loss it remains an important step in working through the grieving process. My mother still has one cherished photo of the baby that was lost before I was born. It’s a small but important reminder that I had a brother and he looked just like me. My husband has become the son that never was, he’s months older than the one lost. Though it’s not the same, I hope it gives them both a bit of relief.

Anon 1 year ago

I have 3 Angel Babies, I lost them at 19 weeks, 15 weeks and 12 weeks. Therefore they were miscarriages not stillbirths however, the pain and sorrow my husband and I felt was unbearable. And we still can’t talk about the babies we lost. However, I did feel guilty for my body not being able to carry those angels to term. I am grateful that I have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and pregnant with our second daughter (at 21 weeks, high risk and I will not rest until baby is in my arms). I still grieve the loss of the 3 in heaven. Thank you for posting. I just wish I was able to get pictures of them

Jessica 1 year ago

This is so true. Those early photos are all we have and all we will ever have. There’s such a stigma about photos of our lost babies and about sharing the truth behind raw grief. Thank you for writing this Alexa.

Lindsay Cairns 1 year ago

Beautifully written xx

Rose Cook 1 year ago

On march 2nd my daughter Mia arrived early at 20 weeks pregnant, my hubs doesn’t want me to put a picture of her up in the living room. I have hand, foot prints and a scan picture instead. I wish he could see it this way. Touching story x

Dani Noyes 1 year ago

Love Scary Mommy and great to see something like this featured. Having recently gone through this myself, I also blogged about my experience and have found many members of this unfortunate club. Much love and thank you for the reassurance that I’m still his mommy.

Jacqui Van Der Schyff 1 year ago

I lost my precious son at 17 days old after a heart operation. He would have been 11 years old this October and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. The few photos I have are in an album and some are framed arojnd the house (the ones before he webt into hospital). His two younger sisters know all about the big brother they never knew. Best thing I did/do is talk openly about it and keep a journal I still write in. Best advice I was given is that sometimes you need to forget about taking it one day at a time, you need to take it an hour at a time. Miss you my forever baby xxx

Shauna Bryant Yoder 1 year ago

I have photographs of my son, who was a micro preemie and lived in the NICU for three weeks, all over my house. Friends arranged for a professional photographer to take pictures of him after he died; that was THE BEST gift my family could have received. As long as I display pictures of my other children, he will be right there with them.

Tammy Michelle Owen 1 year ago

What a day to see this…. today is my first son’s 15th birthday but sadly i only had about 10 months with him. It doesn’t matter how long they on this earth they stay a part of you forever.

Melinda Seibel Felton 1 year ago

Thank you for your strength to say the things a bereaved mommy should be able to say…but society wants to hide.

Too bad if someone doesn’t like to see my photos…I don’t like living with empty arms :(

Bri Koop 1 year ago

Heather Carter, I am so sorry for your loss and the added pain of not being able to share your beautiful son with your mother. I cannot imagine what that must feel like. My own mother was there and met our son, Marlow, who lived for about an hour after he was born at 23 weeks last august. Both of his grandmothers, one of his grandfathers, and one of his aunts were there to meet him, and several others came to hold him after he had passed. One of the most beautiful sentiments that had ever been expressed to me was a friend who said she was so jealous of the people who got to meet and/or hold him, I can’t imagine not even wanting to see pictures… Hugs xoxo

Melissa 1 year ago

I’ve only ever experienced a miscarriage, so I probably can’t say I know what it’s like. However, I’m not offended or disgusted by those kind of photos. I think they are beautiful, sad, and sweet. I think people who are offended are just disturbed at what the photos represent – that yes, it is possible to lose a baby, and yes, it can happen to anyone.

I’m so sorry for your loss.

Josie Hernandez 1 year ago

Hugs and love to all you angel baby mommas! xoxo

Danielle 1 year ago

Thank you for writing this. I too list my twin daughter due to a rare undisagnosed disease. When I found out that I was pregnant with twins I joined a club for moms of multiples. I never felt like I fit in. Many were pregnat due to IVF and were wealthy stuck up snobs. When my daughter died none if them sent me condolences. Soon after I joined the “grief club “. The parents I’ve met are some of the kindest people I know. I’m grateful to them.

Krista Hansen 1 year ago

Beautiful post. This is completely how I feel about losing my twins, I am a mother of 5.

Crystal Taylor 1 year ago

Aiden will be turning 8 this Saturday…everyday I cherish the 4 1/2 weeks I was able to hold him.

Nikki Fugett Dobens 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this. It is such a sensitive subject that people can be afraid to broach it. I had a miscarriage in 2012, and at first, I felt like I was the only one I knew who had experienced this. However, people started to share with me their own experiences. It is hard to see then God’s plan, but we were later blessed with our second beautiful daughter. However, I always carry that baby’s memory with me, and try to honor my precious child however I can.

Alexa 1 year ago

Thank you. I am very sorry that you can relate. It’s not something I would wish on anyone.

Alexa 1 year ago

Thank you Anna!

Alexa 1 year ago

So very sorry for your loss. And yes, they are always a part of the family.

Alexa 1 year ago

I’m so sorry for your friend. I know someone who lost a two year old recently. So very, very difficult. And yes, it looks like we are a bit bizarre sometimes in our actions, but it’s a way to cope.

Antonette Herrington 1 year ago

August 25,2012 my fiance and I lost our first baby,our son,Roman.he was only 19 days old.I think about my son every single day and remember that he was always on my arms.I have those memories to hold on to.I was given a chance to be a mother again.our daughter, Zayla was born December 20,2013.I wish with everything in me that her brother were still here but every now and then he visits me in my dreams.im just so thankful I was given another chance at motherhood.hugs and prayers to all the parents who’ve lost little ones<3

Guillermina Prada Blanco 1 year ago

I’m so sorry

Melanie Miller 1 year ago

Very well stated. Lovely!

Nicole Reese Gibson 1 year ago

Beautiful

Rachel Mitchell 1 year ago

Such a good article. I never saw him open his eyes and I only held him once but I will feel him there forever.

Michelle Oakleaf 1 year ago

My baby isn’t lost, I know exactly where he/she is-with Jesus!

Sarah Howard 1 year ago

I lost my beloved Canaan last year at the age of 5. There is never enough time.

Heather Carter 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this. I lost my son last month at 22 weeks. We had an hour and eleven minutes with him before he passed away in our arms. I have pictures of him that I am so proud of but am afraid to post. I don’t want to hear people’s comments. Even my own mother doesn’t want to see them, which breaks my heart even more than it already is. I mostly keep them to myself.

Cindy Bryant 1 year ago

Hugs to all the moms of Angels. It is club that sucks to be a part of. My daughter is forever 7 an princess in heaven. Brianna Dec. 12, 2003 ~ May 28, 2011 I keep her picture as my profile picture. My two boys keep me going.

Rosie Abt 1 year ago

I lost a baby.. Only 6 weeks into my pregnancy but the pain is never forgotten. Yes I’m blessed with 3 children but I always wonder “what if”? Just can’t seem to let go. Sigh. This happened 9 years ago.. Still grieving.

Virginia Llorca 1 year ago

I am 70. I am Rh negative. I had a daughter. Two years later I had a stillborn son. No preparation. No sympathy. No understanding. My husband would not let me buy a gravestone. And, Catholic, Catholic hospital, you had to have a funeral. I had a stillborn girl, then another boy, a few interuterine transfusions, but he didn’t make it. I got to hold him. Beautiful child. Tons of black hair. Perfect. But not alive. I don’t need a photo. Fine for those who do. But it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other, every day. Finally, I had a donor baby girl. She is 32. She has two wonderful kids. The dad is trying to take them away from her. So there is grief of all kinds. But it always hurts in the same place. Photos could never ever stop that hurt.

Christine 1 year ago

What a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding me that despite having an early miscarriage last week that I was still a mother to the baby growing inside of me and always will be.

Lori Mazell Jones 1 year ago

That was so well said. Thank you. Though I lost three during pregnancy, one thing I regret from my miscarriages is not getting pictures of the ultrasounds. Even early in development there’s something about having a tangible reminder of a child’s existence and place in your heart even if only for a short time.

Ellen Burns Reifel 1 year ago

Our Catherine Elizabeth was stillborn at 30 weeks on June 14, 2001. Tonight I looked at her pictures for the first time in a long time with gratitude for the nurses who graciously assisted in her delivery, wrapped her with love, and insisted on taking her pictures. Without her, I know I wouldn’t have the family I have. But I will forever be her mother and will forever remember how she has impacted our lives. Thank you thank you thank you for posting.

Melastik Bintang 1 year ago

thanx for sharing this article scarymommy.. =)

Linette Berry 1 year ago

Oh and it really does suck being in this club, but it is so nice to know that I’m not alone.

Linette Berry 1 year ago

When I lost my twins the nurses took lots of pics of them. I am so grateful they did because at the time I was so lost with my own pain I didn’t think of getting pictures. I now wish I had more pics, of at least me holding them.

Ami 1 year ago

I have never lost a child but my sister did. Her baby was stillborn at 29 weeks. We searched and searched for something, anything, to bury her baby in. We never did find anything useful. I had to hurry and make a dress for her in a day. A very simple task by far. Since then and because of what we DIDNT find, I have started making preemie burial clothes. Free of charge. The parents have enough to deal with at this awful time. I just wanted to share if anyone needs preemie burial clothes they can let me know. I have a shop on etsy and a FB page called Mon Petit Ravir. I use it as a business too but the burial clothes are a service I can provide. If you need something like this or know someone who does, please contact me. I am happy to send a burial gown out to a grieving parents for free. Really. Its a terrible thing to happen to anyone. I am just happy to help where I can.

Ashley Evans 1 year ago

I have pictures of my little Raven, she was born at 13 weeks. I feel nothing but intense love when I look at them. Only a select few have seen her, and I’ll probably keep it that way. I wish I could share her beautiful face with people, but most would just be hateful to me if I did.

Rebecca Carey Dyer 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing. A cousin recently had a loss and I feel better able to sympathize with her after reading this. I’m very sorry for all of the losses shared here :(

Jeannie Henry 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Heather Carter Boussios 1 year ago

Thank you for writing this. It took me five years before I could frame a picture of my son Jonas, and the picture is still kept in our bedroom where only my family sees it. I have struggled with the need to remember but also not wanting others to view his pictures as distasteful or morbid. Every year on his birthday I want to post his picture on Facebook but don’t. It is an emptiness that doesn’t go away.

Amina Ahmed 1 year ago

Beautifully stated.. And I am a mother of one in heaven

Babies Hoffman 1 year ago

My daughter passed 2 weeks after birth from an intestinal disease caused by extreme prematurity. Our nurse asked if we wanted pictures and we said not really. She cleaned and wrapped our girl up and took them for us. I still can’t look at them, but am so grateful that she did so because I will want to one day. She knew how I would feel better than I did. Lots of love to all those that have experienced this heartache.

Meri Howard 1 year ago

We lost our baby girl, Harlow, in Sept 2010, because of the umbilical cord was wrapped around her…hate for anyone to be a member of the “club” but glad others can understand and write articles such as this. Thank you.

Shannon Wilson Parker 1 year ago

Thank you! Today would have been my sweet girl’s 8th birthday and this was an amazing read that to me was all about HER! AND being her momma! Thank you again.

Jennifer Collard Hughes 1 year ago

December 6 2003. I went for my 8 1/2 month check. That day they were going to check the heart. God bless that poor nurse who was trying so hard to find that beautiful heartbeat only to hear nothing. Having to tell my husband over the phone, who was coming home after a long business trip, alone in an examining room with a sonogram picture still showing on the machine of our beautiful daughter who we would never know on earth, but someday to meet in heaven. To say “honey, we lost our little girl! I don’t know why! They couldn’t find her heartbeat!” Feeling so sad to deliver the news all alone wanting so hard to believe it was not true. My husband having to make the long drive back home wanting to scream but having to hold it in until he made it home, traveling with a man (also a father) who just didn’t know what to say. Only wanting to loan his support and understanding. We made the decision to deliver her the next day. We will always love her and always hold a place in our hearts for her and realize God had another plan for her! We have since been blessed with a beautiful daughter and later an awesome boy! They too love their sister Ava! Thanks for letting me share! God bless u all!!

Cheryl Campos 1 year ago

Memento mori <3

Jean Matthis 1 year ago

Thank you I never got to see my stillborn baby girl. Doctors advice was he ever wrong. I have regretted that for 27 years this April 18th

Savannah Schneider 1 year ago

this was beautiful

Alexa 1 year ago

Thank you dear friend and wonderful supporter!

Melissa Morrissey Cortale 1 year ago

As a pediatrician working in the NICU, I have seen too much loss. But the most profoundly moving and life changing experience of my career was assisting a family to deliver their FT daughter with a prenatal diagnosis that assured her inability to survive more than a few minutes after birth. The parents learned early enough to have terminated the pregnancy but chose to carry her to term, have a spontaneous vaginal delivery, followed shortly thereafter by a funeral. It sounds awful and it was awful. I was 6 months pregnant with my second child and I would have gladly called for back-up and saved myself from sharing their agony. I learned in the very early hours of that day not only how terribly sad a birth can be but also the depth and power of a parent’s love for a child. It made whatever discomfort I experienced so very very small. I was in awe and grateful for the opportunity to witness such love. It is, however, an experience I wish had never occurred. I carry snapshot images burned into my memory that can never be erased. For a parent, those images sustain them and remind them of their love and sacrifice. For me they just bring fear and pain. To the mother’s of angel babies/children, I salute your strength and grieve for your loss.

Alexa 1 year ago

Oh my heart goes out to you. I am so very sorry for your loss. My best advice is to find a support group – local or online, because they will be able to help you heal in a way you’d never imagine possible from strangers. HUGS to you.

Leslie Cantwell 1 year ago

Beautiful, beautiful article. Because of this, I will not be uncomfortable or awkward around a mother who chooses to capture these very small, loving moments on film. I pray and hope that no one actually has to go through this, but sadly that is a prayer said in vain. God bless those of us who have experienced it, those who may still experience it and those who have never experienced it but feel the pain of those who have.

Judy Satterwhite Chwalinski 1 year ago

I cherish everything I have of my first son, Camron, who died in the womb. I have a picture, that I can see, but don’t look at very often, I have it embedded in my mind and in my heart…

Carla Fusaro 1 year ago

That was so beautiful, I’m all teared up….i can’t even imagine the pain you women must feel! :(

Kim 1 year ago

Love to those who have experienced this love and loss. I have never shuddered and shied away from their pain or pictures. As a mother, I can only be happy for the mother’s that treasure any moment with their babies. I cry for them but I am happy for them in the same moment because I know that they’ll their babies.

Gerri Patterson Owens 1 year ago

I’m sorry for everyone that has suffered a loss. I miscarried early in my pregnancy. It was already difficult for me to conceive, and with the complications from this miscarriage it has decreased my chances even more. It sucks

Janel Cunningham 1 year ago

Thank you. :’-)

Rebecca Aiello Andrews 1 year ago

♥ Perfect timing for me to read this article. It’ll be 13 years on Thursday that my daughter was stillborn at 28 weeks. Each year it gets “easier”, however she will always be my daughter. When I see my other two girls I always wonder what her personality would have been or who would she resemble. When I look at my son I wonder if he remembers. He was 10 at the time and he knew, but he didn’t quite know.

Jaime Tyra Taylor 1 year ago

June 7th 2010 I ent into labor at 6 months. My sweet boy was born and died with in minutes. Not sure yiu can call me a survivor because I still struggle daily. The whole experience was awful. They new he wasn’t going to make it so I didn’t even have a dr deliver him. Just two nurses and they just let him fall on the table with a thud. They didn’t even assist him. Instead of giving him to me right away while he was alive to hold my sweet baby they just let him fall out of me and I didn’t get even give him to me until he was gone. I hate this club.

Ruth Caruthers 1 year ago

I am sadly part of this club as well. My second son died from heart defects at three months old. I actually guest posted on Scary Mommy about heart defects and the test that can detect them- pulse ox. This says it all….we keep pictures of our children because that’s all we have now. I can’t take pictures of him getting into something funny, or taking his first steps…I don’t have videos of his first laugh or birthday…all I have are the very few photos of him at home, before all the surgeries and the hospital. Corbin will always be my son and I proudly share his photo. An angel mother’s worst fear is that their child will be forgotten. Sharing is how we keep their memory alive. Please remember that next time you see a mother share a photo of their angel child…it is not to make your uncomfortable, but to share the short but powerful life of the child they carried so that others will always have that part of them in their memory.

Christine Beaulieu 1 year ago

Wow. So well written.

Tasia Griffith 1 year ago

Lost my nephew when he was 18months old. He was part of identical twins :(

Annie 1 year ago

Wow….that is just about everything I wanted to say to everyone when I lost my son. He was 8 days old when he passed and perfect except for a hole in his diaphram. I had SO much support and wonderful friends and family to help me….for that I am grateful. I sent out beautiful thank you cards to everyone who supported me….there was a picture of my beloved baby on the cover. One co worker had the insensitivity to ask if he was alive or dead in the picture. (he was alive in that photo) Really? 13 years later that still stings….In four years I had five pregnancies, two misses and three gorgeous babies…I lost my son, but have two beautiful girls….they make my life a pleasure!
For all the moms who lost my heart goes out to you. We are a misunderstood group. Please know that there is support and hope out there. Thank you for that post. You said it way better than I could have. xoxo

Michelle Markey 1 year ago

Thank you so much for this post. My twins died due to prematurity on December 6, 2013 (and I never properly thanked you for the Thanksgiving Project, and that’s why), and I’m not sure people around me know how to deal with me talking about it. My laptop wallpaper is of me holding them shortly after they passed, and I don’t think I’ll be changing it.

Autumn 1 year ago

What a beautiful, poignant post. Thank you so much for sharing your story. For those of you who are going through the unspeakable pain of losing your newborn, the following charity helps to provide parents of stillborns and babies with a low survival rate with free professional photography to capture those few, fleeting moments with your angel here on earth: http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/ I saw them on the news and was surprised by the idea, but after reading this article, it makes perfect sense.

Casie 1 year ago

I simply love this and it spoke to me for so many reasons. Hours after we lost our daughter Elle after being born at 29wks, the nicu tried desperately to reach the agency that will come out and take pictures of babies that have passed away, but sadly they were unsuccessful. And apparently this wasn’t the first time they didn’t come when needed. So The NICU took pictures of our sweet baby girl on their own for us to have.
After her passing, we started a foundation in her honor based on the need the NICU discussed with us , and one that directly effected us after Elliot’s passing. Since that time almost two years ago, the NICU has purchased a high tech camera and software so they can take the picture themselves in the tragic event that a baby passes away. All of this in our sweet Elliot Ann’s name.
Although I haven’t been able to look at the pictures yet of her, I am relieved to know I have them.

Autumn 1 year ago

I just wanted to respond to you directly to say that I’m so very sorry for your loss. I know how hard it can be, especially in those early days immediately after. That feeling never leaves you completely, but it does get easier. Like the author says, you will always be that child’s mother. Sending good thoughts your way.

Rachel Williams 1 year ago

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep It’s a calling, a beautiful, sad calling. And if you can, spread the word.

Michelle Rojas Shuman 1 year ago

Thanks for the read. I bawled into my dinner :) I have an angel baby as well and this article was a great expression of the loss we wish we never had.

Shannon Parsons Ziegmann 1 year ago

Beautiful perspective for a devastating loss. Highest of admiration and love to all the mommies who are a part of the ‘club’. I myself have not experienced this loss but hold parents of loss in the highest regard. God bless.

Brenda Boritzki 1 year ago

Jenn, the word for a parent that loses a child is a parent, loses a sibling is a sibling. There is no other name required.

Dinene Knighten 1 year ago

There are no words…. So so sorry for the author & all your losses ladies. My heart goes out to you..

Julie Rebbecca Gates 1 year ago

God Bless all the parents who have had to endure the loss of a child and keep these babys in Jesus’ loving arms.

Meagan Waszak Faiola 1 year ago

Beautiful! I lost my twins in pregnancy and still have my ultrasound photos of them. They are treasured and a reminder of my angel babies.

Jenn Mauermeyer 1 year ago

There is no word for a parent that loses a child. There is also not one for someone that loses a sibling… far too many are in either of, or both of these clubs.. I used to carry a picture of my brother.. it was finally so tattered that I couldn’t carry it.. he will always be my brother, and my girls know he would have been their uncle..

Allison Leighty Liesen 1 year ago

Thank you for posting!!!!!

Jenni Keeler 1 year ago

I lost my son 3 days before he turned 5 months old in 2010. His photos are all over our place, along with his older and younger sister’s pictures. It’s something that you wouldn’t wish on anybody. It’s not a club that anyone should be a part of.

Josée Markovic 1 year ago

My heart truely goes out to all that have lost a child.

Mitzi 1 year ago

Thank you for posting. I needed this today as I just miscarried on Friday. Still very raw and this helps me during this mourning period.

Anna-Marie Bigham 1 year ago

I lost my daughter shortly after her birth from a subgaleal hemmorage caused by the vacuum. We have a photo framed of her in our living room. I also have posted photos of her on my Facebook. She still is my child and it’s the only photos we have of her.

Cassandra Heaps 1 year ago

I will never know the loss of a baby but I have read the book this lady wrote and it is fantastic! I have recommended it to several people I know!

Claudine Johnstone 1 year ago

One of the greatest honours I have even felt bestowed on me was the moment a wonderful Mother in my due date group trusted us enough to share one of her photos of her beautiful stillborn son. These aren’t photos she chose to share freely and I was so touched to be amongst the privledged few who have seen that beautiful face.

Jennifer 1 year ago

Hearing that ladies find those photos “gross” or that it makes them feel uncomfortable makes me sad. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been through infertility and a miscarriage, but I find them to be incredible–for all the reasons you listed. I’ve always thought that. I can’t put myself in their shoes but I try. They are your children, living or dead.

Kaci Woods 1 year ago

I’m not going to lie the first time I saw someone sharing pictures of their baby that had passed I was really disturbed but after reading this I really do think and see it differently now. My heart goes out to all of those that have lost a child. I can not begin to imagine the pain and sadness they go through. I’m so happy I read this and see things differently now.

Amber Ochocki Schaffran 1 year ago

I delivered a sweet baby boy angel 2 weeks ago. Great article. Thank you.

Sarah Fritz-Maldonado 1 year ago

Perfect timing… I needed this while I wait in the ER to find out if we’re still expecting…. Thank you… It makes the stress of waiting a little less painful

Angie Delp 1 year ago

Very well said. My second died at birth.

Heather Weiss 1 year ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this.

Colleen Dwyer Valinoti 1 year ago

Beautifully written. I lost one of my twins when he was 3 months old to SIDS. I have his picture all over my house. I wish we weren’t in this club.

Deborah Fredell 1 year ago

Great post.

Juli Dukic Burchard 1 year ago

Thank you for this post.

Jill Curley Holcomb 1 year ago

Beautifully said.

Lisa Marie Garman 1 year ago

When my sister passed away shortly after birth, my mothers aunt took a few pictures at the funeral and gave them to my grandmother. My grandmother was appalled. (My mother never got to see her so the aunt thought she was doing a good thing). My mother later was having trouble with grief and my grandmother finally gave her the photos. They are prominently displayed in my parents home with the other family photos. She is a member of our family and it is the only remembrance we have. They are treasured…

Mainely Mama 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing! This is heartfelt, well-written, and totally spot on…

Sarah Gibson 1 year ago

<3

Sharon Stakas-Short 1 year ago

Best article I’ve read on infant loss. I can really relate to it.

Michelle Mattinson Kealey 1 year ago

<3

Jennifer Vee 1 year ago

Thank you for this post.

Colleen 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing. I still haven’t gotten to the point where I can share pictures or keepsakes of my stillborn daughter almost 10 years later. They are still packed away in a trunk in my living room. But I do value the perspective that you talk about here. I vividly remember all of the inconsiderate comments and responses that I received from family and friends at the time. I understand it but I know that I can do better if I’m ever in that situation because I’ve been there.

SF 1 year ago

I love this post. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing your story. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet daughter. I lost my first child to miscarriage at 12 weeks, last year, and began a blog shortly thereafter to have an outlet for my grief. Those that haven’t lost a child, at any stage, don’t quite understand our grief. It’s no fault of theirs, but it makes it hard on the mother who really needs an outlet and needs to understand that her child’s life is validated, no matter how short. They need to not feel like grieving is taboo or that their child didn’t matter. You hit exactly on what made me name my blog “This Child’s Mom” — communicating to loss moms everywhere that no matter what, you will always be this child’s mom. http://www.thischildsmom.wordpress.com

another jennifer 1 year ago

Beautiful post, Alexa. You’ve always been an amazing advocate for grieving parents. I’ve said this before, but I always learn so much from you!

thedoseofreality 1 year ago

Sending you big hugs. No doubt that you will help so many people with this beautiful, heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing this personal story.-Ashley

anna whiston-donaldson 1 year ago

Thank you for this post, Alexa! I, too, felt uncomfortable about those photos before I lost a child. Thank you for reminding us all that it is about the parents. xoxo

Eileen 1 year ago

Beautiful, Alexa. <3

Anna 1 year ago

That is exactly how I felt about those pictures before losing our son. Now I have several pictures of him up in our living room. I am sure it makes some people uncomfortable, but I don’t care. He is part of our family.

Christine at More Than Mommies 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing your perspective here. Hopefully, those who need to read it will see it here and find new understanding, compassion, and acceptance for grieving parents.

Jess H. 1 year ago

Great post. It is hard losing a child and people can be so inconsiderate about it. Thank you for sharing.

Ginny Marie 1 year ago

I have a dear friend who lost her two year old. Some people just have a hard time understanding some of the things she does, but I think if they remembered that she will always be that child’s mother, they would get it. Thanks for being an advocate for her and other grieving mothers!

Janine Huldie 1 year ago

Alexa, I am so happy to see you over here today and just can say enough how proud of you for all the work you have done to bring awareness to this and know again that this is a concept near and dear to heart. Thank you so much for always being willing to share your thoughts and feelings on this. Hugs, my friend!! :)

Alexa 1 year ago

Thank you so very much for featuring this story and helping me to share this message. xoxo