Friday, March 28, 2014

My Babies are Dead but Keep on Joking

I received a big package today. It's the kind you sweat a little about, knowing the knuckle behind the mommy blogging community online. I'm publishing it. It's going up, and staying up. So block me if you have to for your own comfort. But, please do consider reading her piece with an open mind. Trigger warning, too!

"Hey. I saw your comment about April Fool's jokes on the circumcision status before you deleted it. I've saved up these words but have nowhere to put them. I'm not brave enough to start my own blog and my heart is too heavy to play in the little fires all over Facebook. Maybe you can put this to good use. I only ask that you use a false name if you post this."

My Babies are Dead but Keep on Joking 

By Marianne Wright

About a week ago, I started to see something creep into my newsfeed. At first, it looked innocent enough. I saw a beautiful graphic one day. One of those sunshine and rainbow graphics with fancy font that I'll never be able to master even after taking a slew of photoshop classes.

I put on my glasses and peered at the flowery, colorful words. This April Fool's day, remember the mothers who are grieving. Don't make pregnancy jokes!

I felt stunned for a moment, but shrugged my shoulders and continued on.

The graphics didn't stop. More showed up. Then blog posts. Statuses. Even campaigns to change profile pics all in solidarity of this message.

I have something to say to the apparent thousands of people who like this message and have shared it in some way.

You do not speak for me. 

You know nothing. You know nothing of how I feel. You have no clue. You have no idea at all. I lost my babies. It was hell within hell within hell and it is still hell and you will never know what that means. 

Look at you, posting your cute, fancy pictures on Facebook, telling other people what they can and cannot do in their own lives and how they should and should not feel.

Who died and made you queen of the miscarriage kingdom? What ever gave you the idea that you could collectively speak for every parent who has lost a child? What ever made you think that you could decide how we feel and how we react to others in our lives?

From what I have seen, most of you haven't even experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. And even if you have, you would still be wrong for trying to project your feelings and your opinion onto my grief.

My babies are dead. A friend announcing a fake pregnancy on her Facebook has nothing to do with it.

I held my babies and they were cold and their eyes were empty. A family member posting a positive stick photo on April Fool's can't touch the images I see of their faces when I close my eyes. God, how beautiful they were.

Do something that might actually be of assistance to grieving parents. Instead of exploiting the vast, deep hell of grieving parents, why don't you share something helpful. Sure, you won't get as many likes if you post resources for PTSD and depression. Those are uncomfortable topics that make people look the other way. You won't get big internet high fives if you remind others to take a break from social networking when they feel overwhelmed. No one will see you and applaud you if you quietly bring a meal to a grieving neighbor or hug a friend and whisper her child's name.

Stop beating around the bush here. You have a campaign and it looks good and smells nicer. It's all about looking good. You are riding on the backs of hurting parents. And worse, you make it sound as if it's for them! Judging by the comments I've seen, lots of moms are eating it up, too! They seem to really think that their grief can be defined, managed and mitigated by what other people say on April Fool's Day.

I get that. I get wanting to believe that someone else can take away the pain. I understand the yearning to feel normal again. When that half jump occurs, that millisecond where you forget what was and no longer is, then you come crashing back down into your hell again, your skin tightening and burning as your stomach falls and your ears buzz and you start swallowing desperately so you don't vomit: you'd give anything for someone to take it all away.

That's an April Fool's joke in itself. No one can take it away. And no one can make it feel worse. You can't feel worse than the worst feeling of all. When you kiss your baby's cold, white skin and put your baby into a box, no one on this whole planet can do anything to make you feel worse. Their stupid prank status is nothing. It's not even a raindrop in the ocean.

This April Fool's day, I hope to see a change. I hope to see opposition to this objectifying, judgmental popularity campaign dressed up in politically correct whimsy. I don't expect you to understand. I hope you never have to know. No one deserves this eternity. The least you can do is stop capitalizing on it.

My babies are dead. Forever. Please laugh. Please joke. Post fake pregnancy photos. Tease your significant others and husbands. Catch it on video. Please complain about traffic. And that your coffee is too hot and your mother in law too mean. Please argue over grammar. Most of all, post photos of smiles. Post videos of laughter. Share jokes and love.

Pull me out of this narcissism of slowly dying but never truly laying to rest. Remind me there's more to life than the slow, sharp tearing of my heart every moment of every day. You can't make me feel any worse, but maybe, just maybe, you can begin to fill in the endless black hell that is my heart.

Keep on joking. Someone has to laugh.


  1. I'm posting this as "anonymous" for a reason. A mother to dead children, that is what we are, "Anonymous". When asked a simple question, "How many children do you have?" we freeze. Over the years I have learned to respond with "A heart full", most are confused, some, a light of understanding dawns. Every exhale after you have placed your lips upon the corpses of your children is a bit more of your soul, escaping from the corpse that is now you. The knowledge that when you pass, your children will be forgotten is a weight of a million demons, an April fools posting of "Gee, don't do that, some people might be grieving" is not even another tear to shed. If you have never been there, you cannot comprehend and it is not a group any human with a soul would like you to join.

  2. Thank you for sharing this!!! I didn't understand how someone posting an april fools joke could be offensive. I am glad to hear this other side but am sorry for your loss. I hope you do continue to smile and laugh and don't forget to love. You are great!

  3. Amen and God Bless Chance and Patience Mommy!

  4. I cannot even begin to imagine your pain; my loss was too early for features to be defined. I say that not to sound like it did; I say that because I consider your loss so much more devastating, as was my friend's. I agree with so much of your blog, but I disagree with the not posting fake pregnancy statuses. For so very long after I lost my baby, the very word "pregnant" could send me into tears and a very dark place. It isn't appropriate. I do believe in laughter; it's just that there are so many other forms of pranks and jokes to create that laughter without being callous about a topic that is so painful to so many. I do not presume to tell you I know how you feel, or to tell people how someone who has suffered such a loss feels. I do, however, offer my opinion that there are topics more appropriate for pranks and jokes. And I offer prayers for you in your grief; I cannot, as I said, even begin to imagine the depth of that grief.

  5. Priscilla ThibaultApril 1, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    I am so sorry about the loss of your beautiful children, Chance and Patience. I just deleted a post from NILMDTS that was asking for no pregnancy jokes on Facebook because of exactly what you said. Your post was highlighted below the NILMDTS post. Thank you for your thoughtful and heart-felt words.

  6. Much love to you. I am so sorry for your loss. My very first pregnancy ended in loss. It is a heartbreak that no woman should have to experience.

    This post was excellent.

  7. So sorry for your losses. My very first pregnancy ended in loss. This post is excellent.

  8. "From what I have seen, most of you haven't even experienced a pregnancy or infant loss." I'm just kind of wondering how you know this? I saw the picture a few times and every one of the women who shared had experienced losses (most have had multiple). I'm kind of shocked that anyone would pay attention to it unless they had their own loss, much less post it themselves. Most of my friends/family members don't know about my losses so if I shared something loss related (and I have shared a few resources over the last few months) they would probably think it just came from someone who hasn't experienced a pregnancy loss.

    I actually don't really know where I "stand" on this. The April Fools jokes don't bother me because of my losses, but I'm not a huge fan of joking about pregnancy in general. Pregnancy is such a beautiful, sacred thing, the beginning of new life and even though it's an everyday occurrence, I try not to think of it as anything less than a beautiful blessing and sacred gift. So joking about it kind of just seems a little irreverent, but I feel that way in general - not specifically about facebook statuses or April Fools day, but all the time and in any venue.

  9. Thank you for sharing your pain, that's so hard to do. We all suffer differently, but I feel that darkness that rises up in my heart when I should be glad for my peers. I'll never get over the loss, my heart, my head will never be the same. But I know what you mean when you say to keep joking. Sometimes those little things are what keeps the world moving, keeps me going through the motions.

  10. One week before the due date, my first child, my son, was pronounced "without a heartbeat" (words that still sound as fresh to me today as the day they were said--18 years ago) on March 14th. I gave birth to him on March 17th, 1996. That is the day I last held him and kissed him-feels ike eons ago. I have since had a daughter born in November 1997 and I too struggle with the question of how many children do I have. I answer honestly and say "God gave me 2 but he had to call one back to help keep an eye on me". I agree that there is NOTHING worse in the world than holding your dead baby, lifeless, cold flesh and blood KNOWING you have no more time and with all your might trying to remember EVERY second you had together. 18 years later the love and loss are still there BUT forgiving myself and KNOWING I have my son's forgiveness and his happiness being in the arms of Jesus to comfort me are what keep me going. Love to you all!!!!