Over on Motherlode, there’s a beautiful and heartbreaking piece on stillbirth, written by a woman who lost her daughter during her 36th week of pregnancy. Noting that stillbirth is far more common than one might think, Sarah Muthler writes:
I’ve read at least a dozen articles about SIDS, and can tick off a handful of risk factors, but until last year, I knew nothing about stillbirth. All of that talk about SIDS has saved lives. Research and awareness have helped cut the death rate in half in the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the United States stillbirth rate has barely budged in the past 15 years.
This silence around stillbirth, this fear of causing fear, leaves families blindly groping as they make the hardest decisions of their lives. If I had known anything at all about stillbirth, I could have made better decisions regarding my daughter’s death. I wish that I had been told to bring some of her clothes to the hospital so she could wear them. I wish that my husband and I had been strong enough to choose to have an autopsy even though our doctor didn’t encourage it. I wish I had known that grant money might be available to cover the several thousand dollars that the autopsy would have cost.
Muthler argues we need to find a way to talk about and educate people on the issue. “If those conversations inspire even a little more research and awareness,” she writes, “then maybe people will see that our lost babies aren’t just a horror story. They’re part of a love story, too.”