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.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Had a Stillbirth...

... is a phrase I'm beginning to loath the more I hear it.  I've blogged before on my disdain for the official terminology surrounding angel babies.

No-one, as far as I know, has used this phrase in relation to my family; but I've seen it time and again recently in relation to other people. And each time I see it, I cringe and get cross. I get cross because the implication is thoughtless at best. Down right derogatory at worst. 

Let's put this in to some context. For example; 'Caz had a stillbirth in June 2010'

So what is it about this sentence that is upsets me so much?

Because it is, as far as I'm concerned inaccurate, insensitive, deeply hurtful and offensive. 

I didn't just 'have a stillbirth'. I had a DAUGHTER. A baby girl. A person. Who, if it is insisted upon using the official terminology, happened to be stillborn. Or as I prefer my baby girl was born sleeping.  To merely describe her a stillbirth dehumanises her. A phrase so cold that it can't even be bothered to acknowledge the fact there was a baby involved at all. That in fact she is a real baby. Real. A person. My baby. Anabelle; not just an event that happened to me in June 2010. A person who came into my life forever. 

Urgh. Sometimes these things really get to me and I'm sure I'm not the only angel parent to feel this way. 


Anonymous said...

I can see exactly why you feel like this. It's a very cold, medical term. I think possibly the problem is that the media/general public don't know or can't think of another term that isn't so cold and medical. I think born sleeping is the best of the phrases, but unfortunately it will take quite a while to catch on without causing confusion, and as long as the medical people use stillbirth as the currently correct medical term, then probably so will the media/general public. All you can try to remember is that it's not intended to be hurtful, lots of people haven't heard of the term "born sleeping" or I'm sure at least some would prefer to use it instead, and most people wouldn't have a clue that the term "stillbirth" was actually offensive or upsetting to angel parents. They just don't know :-(. Much love xxx

Caz said...

Thanks Anonymous 10:30.

I understand within the medical field, but when a baby is born live no-one in general public say "so and so had a livebirth on Saturday" - they would say "had a baby boy/girl called .... on Saturday".

I don't understand why people cannot have the foresight to still refer to the baby, albeit dead, as a person with an identity, rather than just a stillbirth. Stillbirth is the event, not the person. In official terms I would much rather hear "Caz's daughter Anabelle was stillborn" than "Caz had a stillbirth".

Hope I'm making sense.

I know it must go back to days of old when baby's born still were not recognised as a family member or parents even told if the baby was a boy or a girl.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness yes, I can totally see the difference between "Caz's daughter was stillborn" than "Caz had a stillbirth" (sorry to repeat an upsetting phrase). You are definitely making sense and it is a very sensible distinction to make. Hopefully, with people like yourself bravely sharing your experience, people in general will take it up too xxx

Sarah H said...

Hi Caz, your not alone I totally agree, I hate that word too - in fact for a year I couldnt even say it, in fact the only time I have used it is when the doctor referred to my daughter as a miscarriage ekkk... still hate it though.

Anonymous said...

Caz, I think you're absolutely right. It is a very cold term to use and I definitely understand why you find it hurtful. You gave birth to a beautiful daughter who will be a part of your life for ever and that should always be remembered by others. God bless you, sweetheart x

Also, I wanted to thank you for coming back to my blog and leaving a second comment in response to the very ignorant and rude comment left by Rowan Martin. I welcome all manner of comments on my blog and appreciate people have a different opinion of which they are entitled to voice. But she made herself look vile and derogatory and her rudeness has caused quite a stir amongst my readers, not only on the blog but also on my FB page. I don't condone her for her opinion on breast feeding, that's her privilege, but to judge women who haven't tried as "extreme selfishness" is probably one of the cruelest things I've ever heard. As many readers have told me since that post went live yesterday, her comment is the kind of thing that contributes to women suffering with PND. Yet she suffered with it herself. So thank you, for standing up and making yourself heard; you're an inspiration to women everywhere.

CJ x

Julia McKay said...

Hi Caz
Since hearing your term born sleeping when we you commented on Fran's FB status, I have used it ever since. I also told it to my friend Naomi and she said it is the most beautiful way she has heard of describing her situation. Up until then, she was even referring to herself as having a still birth. I don't think she is yet aware of the phrase Angel Parents, so I will talk to her about that too.
Much love
Julia xx

Caz said...

Thanks Julia, I hope she finds these gentler ways to describe what has happened. xxx

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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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