Giving birth to a child is one of the most precious moments in a parent's life, but giving birth to a still-born child! It’s worse than the horrible nightmare, but kudos to this brave mom who has taken the courage to honor her stillborn child after five years of their loss.
Howsoever sad and dreadful it might be but the fact of the matter which we cannot deny is – there are many newborns in this world who do not get the privilege of seeing the world, and there are many parents who live with a lifelong craving of seeing their baby growing up. Losing your child during or before childbirth is a pain beyond imagination and the world expects the parents to come out of the grief! How on earth is it possible? How can a mother forget a child whom she has felt so closely for nine months? How can the parents not miss the child whom they had so eagerly wanted to hold in their arms and shower their love?
Joelle Skinner, a courageous mom from Queensland, Australia has shown a new path to all the parents who have suffered through this loss. She is an exemplary who is encouraging more and more parents to speak about their loss, instead of suffering from it in silence. She laments, "There is so much pressure on us to get over it, but if we are allowed to embrace it, you know what, I think we will even save lives. Many parents end up committing suicide because it’s all too much."
Both Joelle and their daughter Zayli had been doing absolutely fine all throughout her pregnancy and till date, she does not know what went wrong and why she had given birth to a stillborn Zayli. Not until the day of her delivery, did she have any clue regarding her unborn's ill-health. Even after she got to know that her little Zali's heartbeat had stopped, she decided to give birth to her and the stillborn girl was brought to this world through a C-Section.
The mother recalls, "The room was silent when she emerged. She was placed on my chest, warm yet so still. She was so beautiful! It just looked like she was asleep"
As a family tradition every year on the first day of school, this couple takes a photo of their kids in school uniform. On the day which could have been the first day in school for Zayli, Joelle took the fearless and sensitive step of paying an ode to her lost daughter. While her other four kids were ready for their picture, she placed a cap on an empty spot beside them where she would stand smiling like her brothers and sisters. On being asked by the other kids what it was, she explained to them the incident of their stillborn little sister. In spite of not getting the opportunity to see her, the family has happily accepted her presence in their life.
According to a study conducted by NIH, stillbirth occurs in 1 out of 160 pregnancies in the United States. Since 2003, the stillbirth rate has remained at about 26,000 stillbirths each year, and according to an article published in 2015, mothers who experience a perinatal loss have increased mortality, especially from CVD.
So, while this mom had the courage to take the bold step and express her grief through word and pictures, there are others who need to come out of the social taboo and embrace their grief with pride. Until and unless they open up and speak about their grief, it will corrode them from within (as it does now). It is not an easy task, and our support is required to ensure that no mom and dad suffer through the grief of losing their child in loneliness. In Joelle's words:
"Let’s bring this into the light so none has to suffer alone anymore!"