I haven't been to this space since Alexander's 2nd birthday. Not to say I haven't thought of a million posts about life, missing, heartbreak, sleep deprivation, Theodore's First Birthday (!!), Mother's Day, day to day trivial things regarding permanently entering the world of being a stay at home mom (!!x1000), feeling endlessly robbed of my old (better) life pre-loss, more sleep deprivation and possible boarder line depression associated with said sleep deprivation... but I'm coming here today because there is a hum (hum, or buzz? I'm saying hum because buzz sounds too happy and chipper and associated with something on the rise that is involving nothing but positivity and good things) in our community about a very special film about to debut tomorrow night.
I wanted to talk about it (even if very briefly. I'm opening this post as Theo is entering hour 2 of his nap and I'm on "any minute now" borrowed type of time) because I am so grateful that something like this actually exists.
I hate HATE that stillbirth, infant loss, or losing a child at any age is anyone's reality, and that stillbirth is ACTUALLY my reality, but I'm thankful that now there is some light shined on the subject matter in a very public way.
When I came home after Alexander died, (after a few days of my zombie-state-like tolerance of visitors and a house guest) I frantically googled "Stillbirth" day after day. I didn't get much. A lot of medical un-explanations came up in my search, and a lot of articles coming out of Australia oddly enough. I felt so alone and as if this HAD NEVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD expect me. I even googled celebrities+dead babies+stillbirth+pregnancy loss too. I read a very dated list of some not-too-popular celebrities who had lost babies at various points during pregnancy, but most of which was being discusses as miscarriages. (and I don't mean to add insult to injury by calling someone who lost a baby or had a miscarriage "not-too-popular". oops. Sorry)
Anyway, I felt ALONE. GUTTED. And while living in the land of complete obliteration, I felt I had nothing to turn to or to reference. At least I know I'm not the only one in the world that this has happened to, because well, remember that movie, "Return to Zero"? We'll ... it happened to someone.. That was not a thought that ever went through my mind. And that's why I'm thankful a movie like this is being brought to the public. Because the next time a mother comes home after giving birth to her dead baby, at least (AT LEAST) she wont feel entirely out casted into the world of absolutely impossible things to ever happen to a human being just happened to her.
I read "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination" by Elizabeth McCracken on April 27, 2012... and it was only on that day did I feel what I was feeling was 100% validated. I found this piece of public material that was validating my feelings and experience. Yes, the entire world didn't know what I was going through was in fact real, and mother's of dead babies were the only source of support and understanding out there for me at this very fresh time of loss and grief. I had discovered the blog world of BLMs sometime in between February 27th, 2012 and April 27th, 2012. But I actually held that book to my chest and hugged it while sobbing my eyes out after reading several parts.
I'm not alone. It happened to her. Exactly the way it happened to me, it happened to her... and she is feeling everything I'm feeling in the aftermath. Holy shit, I'm not alone.
It saved me in a way. IT GAVE ME SOMETHING. I wanted everyone I knew to read the book. My friends, my family, my neighbors... just read it. It says everything I'm feeling. READ IT DAMMIT!!
Now, Return to Zero will be able to reach people who haven't experienced stillbirth or infant loss. I mean, I know anyone can go ahead and pick up a book and read it... but it's not exactly a book that the average Joe would buy. But this is a movie with recognizable actors that will be aired on National TV. So hopefully those who haven't experienced such great loss will understand a little better how to approach the subject when faced with a mother who has lost her child. And hopefully with less, "well, everything happens for a reason" and "at least we know he's in a better place now" and "things will get easier with time" and more "I'm just so sorry for the loss of your son/daughter" and "I do not know your pain, but I am here for you in any way you need me".
I don't think there is anything I would say makes losing a child easier... but maybe a movie being out like this will make the next mother who loses her baby feel like walking this path in those early weeks and months can be a bit more bearable knowing she's not the only one.
Return to Zero airs tomorrow night, May 17th on Lifetime. That's channel 83 here. I'll be dvr'ing it and watching it as soon as I have a night with just me and Daniel and Theo is sleeping and I can bawl my eyes out.