Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Photographs

Yesterday somebody commented on my blog post. I’ve already personally replied to the comment, but the issue has continued to play on my mind.  Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion but I feel the need to reiterate my response to Anonymous.
Out of everything in the comment it was the following points that I wanted to address again today.

However, I can see why photos of stillborn babies make people uneasy. They do not look alive, and some of them are quite distressing.
As I am unaware who Anonymous is, I believe this was a general statement, and not directed specifically at Anabelle. However, it is Anabelle who I am going to use as an example and defend.  The only thing that gives Anabelle away as being dead is her colouring – and even that is slight. I will concede that I am biased, I am her mother after all. But from the pictures I’ve shared on facebook I really am at a loss as to what is so distressing about her.
She is not disfigured, she’s not gory or anything else remotely scary. She looks like any other baby, led in her moses basket, or in our arms sleeping.  If there is any distress at all in her photos it’s that she represents myself and Jon, her grandparents and extended family who grieve her loss, and will always grieve her loss.
I made the point in my response to Anonymous that if someone feels a moment’s distress looking at Anabelle or any other beautiful angel babies photos then I hope it makes them think of the life-time distress of the grieving parents. For the few people who react badly and get distressed looking at an angel’s photo I would like to think the majority look beyond the “dead baby” and see somebody’s much loved, beautiful son or daughter. Sees the family, because that child is not just a “dead baby” to them.  In my experience on facebook – Anabelle’s photos have had multitudes of beautiful and moving comments. The majority of people will always have compassion.  

I can't help but think maybe it would better to keep these photos private.
And this is the biggy. Yes it is very easy to sit there in judgement and suggest what is “better” when you are on the outside and not the one living the situation.  We and many other angel parents want and need to share our babies photos – and there is nothing wrong with that. Yes, the points were raised that some people don’t ever view dead bodies, or that you wouldn’t take or share pictures of your dead Grandmother, but the situations are so incomparable that I’m not even going to give it the time of day. But I will ask what is the fear of death in our society? A body cannot hurt you, and neither can a photo of an angel baby.  But it can make you grow a pair, to stop, become aware and think.
Anabelle is not just a dead baby – she is a person, she has a face and a name and she is my firstborn child, I am proud of her and I refuse to hide her away and shush. She is and always will be a member of this family.
Anabelle has her photo up in our home, both of her Grandparent’s homes, her Great-grandmother’s home, her Aunt and Uncles home.  Anabelle is included. If anyone has a problem with her photo on display in our homes, or on my personal facebook page then it is THEIR problem. Not mine, not ours.
 If it’s that much of problem, simply don’t go and look. Don’t click on my photo album on facebook. By all means have a polite opinion such as Anonymous yesterday, raise your point of view that I can answer with how we feel, but there is absolutely no need to cause further distress to grieving parents by starting malicious hate groups – which was the point of my post yesterday.
We live in a society where stillbirth and baby death is a taboo subject. Even today when there are not many taboos left, this is one of the few that remain. Sharing our photographs and including our babies in our families gives opportunity to break that taboo. If they are to remain hidden and private then it only continues to feed the “sweep it under the carpet” attitudes of old. Things have come a long way from the days of old; while I am so thankful that Anabelle has the right to be acknowledged as the real person she is, that I can include her as one of my children, that I’m not expected to just ‘forget’ about her unlike years ago, I still think there is a long way to go.
I want to break the silence surrounding stillbirth. To raise awareness of the huge impact that a lost baby has on a family’s life. A child’s death, unborn or otherwise is not part of the natural order of things, we are living the worst kind of grief. It’s not a sweep it under the carpet matter.
And so today I’ll end my blog with a photo of my family. Anabelle in her Mummy and Daddy’s arms, holding her Daddy’s finger.  It isn’t distressing. She isn’t distressing.  But it is heart breaking.
Mummy, Daddy and Anabelle


14 comments:

Ally said...

When i first saw your photos I cried for hours, how unfair that these will be the only photos of your precious daughter.
As time has passed and I have listened to your feelings I know look at your photos with a different view, I see Anabelle, a beautiful little girl with her proud but sad parents.

Anonymous said...

Caz - I am feeling fairly charitable today so would just go with `these people are arseholes and they should just sod off', you can imagine what I might say if I wasn't feeling charitable. Your daughter is beautiful and it is only `better' for these selfish people if you keep your photos private.

Caz said...

Thanks Anonymous 22:21! Great comment! Who are you?

Nanny Davies said...

i am so proud of you caz and jon. You just carry on loving your beautiful baby Anabelle, we all love her and feel proud to see her picture on our living room wall. She is and always will be our darling granddaughter.

Anonymous said...

Well said Caz! You are so good at putting your feelings into words and I know you speak for all angel parents, as well as for Anabelle and her family. I am proud to be a part of your's and Anabelle's family. And I think she's beautiful. Luv Jan

Caz said...

Thanks everyone :) xx

coffeelady xxx said...

Do not keep your daughter privtae, you have as much right as I do to display photos of your daughter, to be proud of your daughter. As someone who was due at the same time as you everyday is a constant reminder that I can add a million pictures of my daughters to facebook, every moment of their lives as they grow captured for the world to see. You can never do this so display the family pictures you have with pride, Belle is a beautiful baby girl and you must never hide her away. - thecoffeelady. xxx

Anonymous said...

I think that the important point is not that Caz and Jon shouldn't be proud of their baby because of course every parent should be and of course they shouldn't keep their daughter private.

However I would be horrified if anybody put a photograph of an adult who had passed away on the internet so why is it any different with a baby?

Caz said...

At risk of repeating myself, again, Anonymous 21:30. Are you horrified by Anabelle's picture? I think there are far more horrifying images on the internet than hers.

Believe me, I see your point, once upon a time I wonder if the same thoughts would've crossed my mind if this had happened to someone I didnt know. I'd like to think I'd have had more compassion and see the angel son or daughter though, and not be horrified by the dead baby.

In one breath you're saying we should be proud and shouldn't keep Anabelle private, and then in the next implying it is horrifying to have dead people on the internet. If im allowed to share Anabelle (and I am, I do not need anyone permission) then she shall be shared as all my future children will be. And that includes an album on my facebook. It is my personal space. As I said previously - if you're horrified simply don't click on it.

For me it is different because it gives a voice to a silent problem. For me, its all very well hearing about a dead baby but I dont think it has the same impact until someone sees the baby is a real person, with a face etc.

It is different because adults are supposed to die. Babies are not. It is different because people do not need educating about adult death.

Sarah said...

I stumbled across your blog through Mumsnet whilst looking for a poem for my friend when she lost her 3 yr old son.

Your blog has changed my opinions on so many things. I previously thought photos of angel babies were too upsetting and disturbing to be shown but now can see why parents would want to show them off. It does some how make me see that your beautiful baby is more real. I now would look at photos like these and see the baby rather than their devastating circumstances. I'm not saying I don't feel upset when looking at them but that upset is for a family that is suffering in the worst possible way.

I don't think photos of angel babies can in any way be compared to that of photos of adults who have passed away. Totally totally different.

You and Jon sound like wonderful parents. Anabelle is very lucky to have parents that are remembering her in such a touching and loving way.

My heart goes out to you and all your family xxx

Caz said...

Thanks Sarah :) xx

Anonymous said...

There are many adults who die young or die when they are not 'supposed' to. These peoples photos would not be put on the internet so I cannot understand why a babies should be.

However you are right... I don't have to look at them but they have been very difficult to avoid!

Caz said...

"However you are right... I don't have to look at them but they have been very difficult to avoid!"

Oh dear, not so "anonymous" then. I take from this you are on my facebook friends list and I know you. What a shame you didn't have the balls to put a name to your comments. When you man up and identify yourself I'll be sure to remove you, and then it will be very easy to avoid.

Although I disagree. Just because the newsfeed informs you I have uploaded photos does not mean you have to click on it. Clicking on it is a conscience decision and therefore still avoidable if you so wish. As you don't agree with Anabelle's album I can only suggest morbid curiosity got the better of you?

I stand by everything I've previously said. How easy it is to judge from the outside.

I hope this isn't someone I considered a close friend. That would be a real shame.

Anonymous said...

I am so totally disgusted at the anonymous posts on here, were you never taught to keep you mouth shut if you have nothing constructive so say? Of course if these parents had pictures of their babies live and well they would use those as we do with adults - but they dont and I can honestly say if I had no photos of a loved on and only a day or so of memories with them to last forever than I would rather have a photo just after their passing than nothing at all! You are comparing this to adults or other young people but this is a completely different situation, there is no other situation where you love someone in the way you do your children that you've but you've never seen them before until they have passed - so there is nothing to compare it to!!

Also did it ever cross your mind that whatever you think you should keep it to yourself for the sake of grieving parents!!!

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Caz
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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