I cringed when I read the headline on an Open Salon article, "Preparing for a Stillborn," as you are probably also doing right now. How can you possibly prepare for something as horrendous as giving birth to your baby that has already died? But as the author points out in her guide, "If one woman googles 'preparing for stillbirth' and finds this, then I will feel like I did a good thing by putting it out there."
My own mother had to go through this, only back in the 1960s. It was a different time and she was essentially knocked out, and never even told what the sex was of the baby, or allowed to see him/her, who died after living inside of her for six months. So this shedding of light on this tragic event truly is a gift for those who have to endure this process.
The piece by Heather Teysko, who went through this without knowing what to expect, is filled with practical and emotional advice on giving birth to a stillborn baby. Which is especially important if this is your first child and you've never experienced labor before. From paperwork to understanding that giving birth to your placenta will be incredibly difficult as it's still attached to the uterus, this information will help moms prepare for the most painful moment in their lives. It's not pleasant, but it's an amazing source of help and support. (Speaking of support, Teysko recommends Glow in the Woods -- for babylost parents.)
Most importantly, she ends her piece with this:
I can't promise you that it will be ok. I can't tell you anything other than that it will be the worst time in your life. But I can also tell you that you will find reserves of strength that you didn't know you had, that you didn't know anybody could have, and that strength will stay with you; it's a gift your baby gave to you. And you will get through this.
Seek support if you lose your baby, and know there are others out there ready to help.
Image via Mykl Rovertine/Flickr