The Silence of Stillbirth

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Silence. Silence is something I crave as a parent sometimes. There is always noise coming from someone or somewhere.

In July 2016 at 29 weeks pregnant silence became my worst nightmare as I laid on the bed in the hospital and the midwife moved around my tummy listening out for heartbeats. One was strong when she found it, telling us that she, our baby girl was okay in there.
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Then the midwife searched for her twin sisters heartbeat.


I was reassured in the usual lighthearted way that she was probably in an awkward position.

More and more important medical staff came into the room. They didn’t really speak much. The room was pretty silent. Isn’t it funny how no noise can mean so much?  When that silence was broken my whole world broke with it. They couldn’t find my baby girls heartbeat and the other one could be in danger too.

It was time for a c-section.

When you have a baby you wait for the cry. I remember with my first pregnancy being so relieved when he cried. My first baby girl was born sleeping and it was another room with another silence in it. There was no cry or noise apart from someone telling me how sorry they were. That silence was broken by her sister coming into the world.
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There was nothing silent about her, I could hear her crying on her way down the corridor in her incubator.

So many silences have followed since then.

The silence of coming home to a cot that will never have a crying baby in it that made my husband collapse on the floor in tears.

The silence of the people who you love most in the world just not knowing what to say to you.

The silence after someone saying ‘how are your twins?

’  when you just have no idea how to start that conversation without making them feel terrible. They weren’t to know.

There was so much silence in my experience of stillbirth and there still is.

When my two children play together I wonder what she would have been like, how she would have fitted into their little team. I still have silent moments where the tears flow while I hold her memory box knowing how precious she is but how silent she will always be.
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There is a lot of silence. But there is a different sort of silence surrounding stillbirth too and that is the lack of talking. And unlike the other silences this one can be broken.
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Miscarriage and stillbirth seem like impossible conversation starters but they are conversations that have to be had none the less. Parents who have lost shouldn’t feel they have to be silent and not talk about their precious babies.

We have to talk about it, after all it happens so much more than we realise.

One of these hideous silences can be broken. Let’s make sure it is, for me and my little girl, for the person reading this that has lost a baby and for the parents that may be faced with this in their future.

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  1. Nicola

    I understand what you say, my first daughter sadly died shortly after birth. Afterwards some people crossed the street to avoid talking to me. I remember still the two people who did the opposite….crossing the street to commiserate with me, both of them had lost children themselvesm

  2. jinennjo

    Thanks for the support!

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