Recently, it was brought to my attention that people use my story as a political point; as a way to say “this is the right way, this is the beautiful way to lose a baby.” When I first found out, I didn’t know what to say, or how to wrap my head around people who have never had to hold a dying child, taking what I went through and making it just a political statement. So I wanted to say out loud that I’m not ok with it.
Don’t use me. Don’t use Austin.
Austin’s life was beautiful, it had meaning and I’m so thankful I was able to spend the nine months I did with him, and I’m also thankful for the time I was able to hold him.
It was also the most traumatic loss I have ever experienced. Watching your child, the baby you’ve protected with your body and your heart struggle to breathe while you try to comfort him, knowing he will have no earthly comfort other than your voice, it was impossibly hard. Begging Jesus to take him, while also wishing he could stay there with me was confusing and awful.
I’ve explained a “peace beyond understanding” and that was very present. But the statement does not mean I was peaceful during his death. It simply means I was not screaming at the top of my lungs and throwing things like I wanted to be. It means I kept going, when moving forward was the most impossible thing I could fathom. Struggling with the question of “did I let my child suffer needlessly, should I have fought to induce earlier, could I have found a better way” is something you CANNOT understand if you haven’t been there. The guilt that follows you after making any decision when nothing will save your baby is very hard to live with.
I have incredible respect for every single mother that has been faced with that choice. So please, never use my story and Austin’s story to put down a mother that chose to induce at 22 or 26 or 30 weeks. We are all doing what we think is best for our babies, and trying to find a way to come to terms with the impossibility of losing a child. There simply is not a “right” or “beautiful” way to watch your baby die.
It really is that simple.