When the baby you're expecting dies just a few days before he or she is due it's devastating for the parents. You mourn. You wonder how to go on with your life. And then -- there's something I'd never thought about before: There's all the beautiful baby gifts and gear that will never be used by the child who just died.
A Dad told a story about the stuff left behind when his daughter died. His wife was staying a few days in the hospital, and he wanted to quickly clear their apartment of the baby gear. It would only make her heartbreak worse. There was the big, expensive stroller he had just bought at Babies 'R' Us. It was still in its box. He would have to return it. It symbolized so much to him.
I don’t quite know how to explain it, but this poor stroller became the bane of my existence. Just looking at it caused a flood of disappointment, anger, grief, you name it. I had to get it out of my house.
He did finally load it into his car and drove it to Babies 'R' Us -- but he'd brought the wrong receipt. The clerk hesitated, then offered him a gift card. Of course, without a baby, store credit was no use to him. But he was too sad to tell her why! Instead, he stumbled out of the store and back home.
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He waited a few more days, and finally he built up the nerve to call customer service. He explained his situation, and eventually got a full refund on his stroller. They also took him off their email and catalog mailing lists -- because they understood how painful that would be to him and his wife.
I just feel for this poor would-be dad. I'm glad his stroller problem was finally resolved, but what an ordeal on top of the pain he was already enduring. That stroller became a symbol -- the huge burden in his heart. He experienced one of the worst heartbreaks of parenthood without actually getting to be a parent. How cruel! But at least, in his struggle to rid himself of bane of his existence, he was treated with compassion after all.
Have you or anyone else you know ever suffered the death of a new baby?
Image via Graham and Sheila/Flickr