This story has received wide condemnation because of the shockingly insensitive actions of this poor mums ‘friend’
One has to ask, why on earth would a “friend” act in such a way? And I would like to offer that it is for two reasons:
- Mother blaming and
- Societal lack of understanding that a stillborn baby is still a baby.
Using this as an analogy helps us understand that while the actions of this person were deplorable, that they came from a place of complete ignorance of the true meaning and impact of stillbirth. Further while the actions of this “friend” were obviously completely insensitive, society and even mothers themselves do tend to overtly or covertly blame themselves for their baby’s death. Many think that reminders of the baby’s existence are harmful rather than healing, distressing rather than comforting. Further the “friend” clearly didn’t understand that a mother of a stillborn baby would still want to wrap their baby in something to keep them warm. This depth of maternal care defies logic but is certainly there for most of us who have lost a baby.
So, the actions of this “friend” really represent the extreme end of widely held societal views. Society needs to understand that having a stillborn baby is not at all like calling off a wedding. Having a stillborn baby is a lifechanging event with lifelong impact. As this couple have discovered, having a stillborn baby provides opportunities for friendships to be lost but also for friends to be made. Further, having a stillborn baby causes a quantum shift in one’s life where old paths are forever blocked but new paths forged.