Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Let me clarify

After reading comments from a previous post, I feel the need to clarify. There isn't an outward "yuck" that I'm worried about. It's that underlying discomfort everyone has with seeing pictures of a dead person (baby or otherwise). I know people want to be supportive, but let's be honest with each other...even MY first thought was, "Oh...dead baby." It wasn't until time had passed that I was able to see MY baby. And I know if I felt it as Alex's mother, then others most certainly feel it.

Let's face it, you don't want to sit and gaze at dead baby polaroids in quite the same way you want to gaze at nursery pics of a beautiful, perfect, pink, healthy, LIVING baby. I know I don't. I know I'm saddened by the harsh reality in those pictures...it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy cuddly feeling. Now I know people will be supportive and kind, but it's NOT the same as a living baby. It's not that I am ashamed of the photos...it's that it's not the same. It's that nobody will oooh and aaah and tell me how perfect he is...how beautiful. It's precisely that difference that makes me sad when I hear of new babies being born. I don't judge people for having their reactions...I totally understand them. I just feel sad that Alex doesn't get the good stuff.

How stupid is that? I think I've mixed up the issue again...

I feel sad that Alex didn't get to live...forget the pictures. THAT'S what I'm really sad about.

10 comments:

holley said...

I see what you mean now.

(hugs)

But isn't that reaction the pang of seeing a photo of someone who has died? Not yuck, but "there won't be any more photos."

Not that this will make you feel better, but a century ago, people took pictures of their dead relatives in the coffin. Photos weren't an everyday/anyday thing so sometimes that funereal picture was the only physical remembrance.

I'm babbling now. I just remember how painful it was when Lucas died and we only had a precious few photos to hold.

msfitzita said...

Maybe I'm crazy, but I sit and stare at my Thomas' photos and I do get a warm, fuzzy feeling. Not every time, and not for the first little while after he died, but many times and often now.

I see me, I see my husband, I see his perfect little face and I'm flooded with love. I know what you mean - I'm reluctant to show his pictures to anyone and everyone, but I'll tell you one thing - everyone who has looked at them has gasped in awe and told me how utterly beautiful he was - how perfect and precious he was. And I believe them. They're looking at a baby first and foremost. The fact that he's dead seems lost on them because they're captivated by the beauty that is in all newborn babies.

I know it's not the same. I know there's deep sadness in those pictures and they've made people cry (me included) but there really is beauty in them too. A whole lifetime of beauty.

Keep looking. You'll see it too.

Jill said...

I guess by 'yuck' you maybe mean that people recoil emotionally from such a confronting thing?

Perhaps having had stillbirths in my family and then meeting all of you online I am far more prepared to not be shocked by the fact that the babies we talk about are dead in their photos. So maybe we aren't really objective in our points of view.

I would still prefer to think that most people retain a certain amount of humanity that does allow them to see the baby first and the tragedy second.

Who really knows though - it's not like people would ever tell you the truth about it anyway; you know, just in case the greiving mother flips out or something unseemly like that...

I'm sorry too that Alex never got to live:(

MB said...

I couldn't agree more. I don't even remember the last time I looked at Audrey's pictures. It just takes so much out of me. I couldn't even bring myself to do it on her birthday.

Sherry said...

*HUGS* to you Catherine, and all the others who have lost a child. I misunderstood the 'yuck' comment in a way, but I agree with the others - a baby is a baby, precious and beautiful first and foremost. The recoil I would feel seeing a photo would be one of trying not to cry in front of this parent for all they are missing out on with this lovely baby. I haven't lost a child, thank God. But just the thought can bring me to sobs. So to stand in front of someone who has...well, the emotions must be over-whelming. I have a cousin who was supposed to have a baby within a month of my daughter but the baby had many medical problems and didn't survive. I often look at my daughter and wonder what her other cousin would have been like? I have told the parents this, and hope they don't mind, but that I do think of the baby and how close in age the kids would have been.

Any how, I don't feel any 'yuck'. I feel wonder on how the parents go on. How you get through this.

Kathy McC said...

It's not stupid to mourn the loss not only of Alex but what would have been for him had he lived. I often sit and wonder what both of my daughters would have been like. I stare at the ultrasound picture of Adrien (the only picutre I have) and it's hard. I only look at it every so often because it still hurts. People have said to me that it's "morbid" and they are surprised I even came up with names for my girls. But for me, it's a comfort. They lived inside of me. That WAS their life. I can't just sweep the whole thing under the rug and pretend as if they never existed. When I see other babies around the ages they should be now, I wonder what they would have been like. What they and what I am missing out on. I don't think that will ever go away. The more I TRY to make sense of their absence, the more I question it. (((hugs)))

Heather said...

I never felt "yuck" in any way. I thought his picture was beautiful. I just felt (and continue to) so sad for him and for you.

cat said...

Nothing you feel is stupid, it is all part of the process of mourning his loss. He was beautiful and perfect and there are people who can see that as well as mourning with you. Sending you love.

(((hug)))

deadbabymama said...

I'm upset that dead kids don't get the good stuff, and that includes people ooohhing and aahhing over how cute they are. I had a friend come visit me right after my daughter died and she asked to see the pictures (not many people did) and she cried over them but she also said how beautiful she was and commented on who she looked like, just like a living baby. I will be grateful to her until the day that I die for doing that.

Like msfitz I look at pictures of deadbaby and I feel love and tenderness and warmth. Sure the sadness and disappointment and anger are there too, but I really try to look at her with more love than any of that other crap. It helps me somehow.

gabesmama said...

Gabe's picture has been altered. The forcep marks cleaned up and the pale skin has blush. When I look at the touched up picture, I don't feel it is really Gabe. Gabe is the pale baby that got scratched because they didn't care if they used forceps because he was dead, and if I looked at the pictures of Gabe w/o the touch up. My heart would break.