As those first days without Rebecca turned into weeks and months, I was unaware of the world, I was in a thick, dark foggy bubble of grief and shock, I was completely numb. I couldn’t breathe – only cry. I would lay in bed just staring at photos of Rebecca. Thinking about Rebecca. Longing for Rebecca.
As the first month turned into the second I found myself moving forward, not far forward mind. I’m not sure how but I moved, I got dressed, I washed, I ate, I cared for my living children and I started to smile again. Life was pushing me forward. The guilt I felt whilst doing these things started to lift. Heaven knows how much I wanted to stay in that thick, dark foggy bubble, surrounded by my angel. But my ‘new life’ had other plans. It cleared the thick fog, but whilst remaining in my bubble, I was starting to see through it clearer. Life pushed me forward without me having a chance to stop it. I allowed myself to start watching one programme… Only one, our family staple – Eastenders.
A few weeks ago I was given the ‘heads up’ of an upcoming storyline in Eastenders. The storyline being that of two parents-to-be were to endure the devastating news their baby had died inside the womb.
Ironically only a week or so before this news was given, two pregnancies were announced on Eastenders and each time I rolled my eyes and muttered under my breathe how I doubted their baby would meet the same fate our Rebecca did. Soapland babies always come into the world perfectly.
I was wrong. Eastenders will be airing a stillbirth storyline and I don’t know how to feel. Or whether I have the strength to watch.
On one hand I’m so scared how they will portray this subject. I have no idea how much they will show, how their baby will pass nor how long they will follow these parents in the aftermath. So scared of what my feelings will be whlist watching, scared of flashbacks, triggers and memories being brought up. Scared of reliving those first few days. No doubt I will be watching behind a tear soaked pillow.
I hope people are kind and gentle. I hope people understand this isn’t just a soapline, for parents like me and my husband this is real life. This is what we’re up against for the rest of our lives.
My husband and I are not alone, a staggering 17 babies are stillborn each day in the UK, 17 families torn apart, 17 babies who don’t come home.
On another hand I’m so glad to hear that BBC are having the ‘balls’ to show such a tragic story, glad to hear producers and the actors involved have been in very close contact with Sands (Stillbirth And Neonatal Death Charity) speaking to parents who have lived through this ordeal for real.
With a bit of luck Eastenders will help lift the taboo that surrounds Stillbirth. I firmly believe parents should be allowed to talk about their babies openly, if they wish, without dampening an atmosphere. Without awkward silences. Without strange looks. Our babies were much wanted and are still so loved. These are our children. We are proud of them. They needn’t be ignored or hidden.
I read somewhere that this world needs to learn alot about the differences between sympathy and empathy. I agree. When Rebecca left us I was surrounded by two types of comments,
“At least you have 2 at home already”
“We’ll, you’re still young, I’m sure you can try again”
“Everything happens for a reason”
“At least you got to meet your baby”
These comments may seem innocent to the person saying them but they hurt. There are no “At least…”
Thankfully other comments were easier to hear, they helped.
“So sorry your baby couldn’t stay, what was her name”
“Did you manage to make precious memories with your daughter?”
“She will always be with you – in your heart”
The difference in what is said can really make a difference.
If you watch Eastenders, I’m aware this will be a hard watch, but please hold a thought for all the parents who have to go through this every day. Thankfully most you can turn off after 30 minutes, we cannot turn off, our drama is real. I hope Eastenders do well, I’m aware entertainment programmes can have the power to gain awareness for a topic and to generate reactions. I hope this can be the start of a change on the public perception of the babies who are taken so soon.
Please help lift this taboo that surrounds Stillbirth.
Our babies are Stillborn but they are Still Born x