Friday, June 7, 2013

the silence of child loss now and then...

Today I am pondering the silence of child loss now and then.

Throughout the past few years I have been able to talk to many mothers who were silenced after losing a child.  Not silenced because they didn't want to speak about their children but silenced because of society.  Society dictated how they would just "move on" as if their child never existed.

I wonder what I would have done way back then...

Answering honestly, I probably would have been quiet too.  I wish I could say differently, but raw truth is that people just didn't talk about child loss back then.

Some still don't.  But I do.

I do because I need to.  I need to speak about my son and my loss and help others who are experiencing the same.  I need to be his mother and to be validated as such.  He was taken from me, but my position as his mother will remain forever.

I look at some of the women who were pioneers in history, and I wonder if any of those women who bravely stepped out and stood up for a cause ever lost a child.  Statistics will prove that one in four women have lost or will lose a child, so there's a pretty good chance this happened to one of them.  I wonder if any of those women wished they were brave enough to step out about their loss.  I wonder.

I then look at our society now, embracing life after loss.  The silence is being broken and it is incredible to see, hear and be a part of.

But it also makes me sadder for those who have gone to their grave silent...because of society and the pressures surrounding.

I must say many mothers that I have met have never spoken or never speak about the loss they endured but are dying to.  I have had many mamas come and whisper "I lost a child too" and simply walk away.  My heart hurts for these mamas!  There are so many!

A couple of years ago, I saw an elderly lady rushing to the table toward me at a book signing. With tears in her eyes she told me that her son passed away decades ago and she had never talked about him until that moment, there with me.  She saw an interview I had done and she said "If you can speak about your son, I can too."  And she told me all about him.  At that moment, tears now filling my eyes, I knew this was why I would continue to do what I do.  She had freedom, perhaps that society didn't offer to her back then, but with welcome arms was reaching out to her now.   I hugged her and she just sat her head on my shoulder and cried.

That was a beautiful moment I will never forget.  Ever.

Now and then, love for our children was no different.

But society was.

Their voices were never heard.  Their tears never seen.

This was taken from them too!

My heart hurts for every precious mama that carries the silence along with the death of a child.  Both are great weights that when combined can take a toll on a mama's heart.

It took me a long time before I was in the place where I felt like I could speak about our loss and about Matthew.  I don't wish that silence on anyone. Whether it is self inflicted or society driven, silence can be brutal.

Moms that are new to life after loss, I hope you will know that you can speak, you have a great big community of loss moms and dads that would love to hear your story and about your children.  I know, I am one of them.  Moms that have been silent for one year or fifty years, I hope that you will find a way to speak, to break the silence and to feel the freedom that comes along with it somewhere in your life before it is over.

It is so worth it.

I close with great respect and admiration to the mothers of both now and then...


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. Its something i have been thinking about lately. I never thought about how society suppressed the events, feelings and grief of mothers loosing a baby until I lost mine 8 weeks ago.
    It bought a lot of curiosity to how my mother must of coped those 20 something year ago when she had my sister stillborn.This wasn't even that long ago but She tells me there was no support and it was something that just happened and had to be brushed off, I cant imagine what I would be going through now if this was still the case now. I have felt so open about my loss right from the start , thanks to support groups, my midwife, family, friends, and even blogging and reading blogs like yours.

  2. Thank you for sharing with me Cassandra. I am so very sorry about your loss and your mother's loss as well. In 1989, my brother's baby was stillborn and the times were so different. My heart literally hurts at the very thought of him not being able to speak about his baby boy. There were 16 years difference in our sons passing and honestly it feels like about four decades. It has changed that much. I am so happy you are able to be open about your loss and that you have amazing support to help you do that! Please keep reading and blogging! It helps so very much! Much love!!! XOXO!

  3. The silence is one of the things that has bothered me so much since losing our first child in May 2012 due to a fatal prenatal diagnosis and our second this past June due to miscarriage. Even though society is getting better, people don't want to hear about it. I am doing my part to break the silence by talking about my losses whenever I get the chance and blogging (seekinghopeblog) about it. I appreciate reading blogs like yours. Thank you for breaking the silence!

    1. Thank you for sharing with me and for reading. I am so very sorry about the losses that you have endured. I wish you much hope today and courage in the days ahead! So grateful to fellow bloggers, like you, that are making a difference! <3

  4. 22 years ago next month on 8/10 I lost a son in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Might as well have been yesterday. Your statement about being shunned fits my life. The biggest problem that people had with communicating their condolences was that they wanted to let me know how sorry they were but at the same time, did not want to give me the opportunity to respond. My best friend of 30 years who knew him as a baby could not even look at me. My devastation #1 at my loss was great, but equally as great was #2 the non-contact from people I considered friends. Years later the best friend would say "I just did not know what to say." How about just sorry? I went out to a store for some stuff i needed in the house and turned a corner and right into her, she turned tail and made me feel as if I was invisible. I never did manage to regain my friendship and for that, I was/am sad. 10 years later she lost her daughter in a house fire and who do you think was first at her door. She is gone now and I am sad that we never made it back to that happy place. Thanks for your article.

    1. Pat, I am so very sorry about the loss of your son. Broke my heart when I read your story! Friendships have a way of getting rearranged after loss, some for the better, some not. I am also sorry about the loss of your friendship. When I read that you were the first at her door after her daughter passed away, my first thought was you knew exactly what she needed! Sending you big hugs, big hugs! <3 (thank you for reading!)

  5. This post hits so close to home because I often have been thinking about my grandmother, she gave birth to a still born over 50 years ago. I only found this out when I lost my baby 4 months ago. What I would give to have her here with me now to talk to her about it and ask her advice on how she found the strength to go on. She ended up having 7 children so she was very blessed but I can only imagine the pain she carried around with her...silently. I will always talk about the loss of our daughter, I will never let someone make me feel like she never existed. My heart goes out to all of you and wish us all love, strength and healing. thank you for your article, I'm comforted to read when women speak of their children and the loss of them. It makes me feel not so alone.

    1. What wisdom your grandmother could offer if she were here! That's what made this article come to being, wondering about these mothers that had to find the strength to go on while being silent about their losses. Heartbreaking, and although times were different then, love for our children was/is the same. I am so sorry about the loss you suffered and I am grateful that we have such a community of loss mamas that let us know we are not alone! Thank you for reading and for stopping by to share your heart! <3