To say that I was blindsided by James Collins, Jr.'s stillbirth at full term is an understatement. At 24 years of age, I understood none of this except that my guts were ripped out and I could no longer function period. This was in 1975. Stillbirth was not talked about. It was an ugly word. I felt like I had a Scarlet S on me. All I ever heard was, don't do this or you shouldn't do that. I never heard the words, "do remember your baby." The quietness of not hearing his name or the mention of the horrific birth I had gone through was just erased as a teacher erases the chalkboard at the end of each day. I was unglued in the most horrible way and found comfort from nowhere on earth. God was always there for me to cry on His shoulder....my saving grace.
Then I heard a word that just wasn't in my vocabulary.....divorce. Why was it being said to me that statistics say MOST parents of children who die divorce? Why were those words being spoken and not words of encouragement? It would make me so mad when I heard about those stats! In 1975, there were not many divorces like there are today. Couples just worked out their problems. My husband and I were on different pages when it came to grieving. Why? Well, because we weren't suppose to be grieving!!!! After all, we never "knew" our baby. Our minds should be on having a "replacement baby." He was scared to bring his grief up to me and grieved up in the top of the storage room at work, where no one could heard his sobs. I grieved openly and loudly!!! He was told that if I couldn't hurry up and get over this, I would go mad and never be "normal" again! So he encouraged me, as hard as it was for him, to move on. That mad me very angry. Why didn't anyone understand me? Neither one of us had been through grief before. We didn't know how to handle it and it was a big mess. One thing was for sure though. Divorce never entered our minds because of our love for each other. We struggled on. Once I was told 6 months into my grief, that because I wasn't returning to "normal" that I should set my husband free. Divorce him so he could find a normal woman who could give him a live baby. I can't begin to tell you how I felt. Not only did I have to deal with my loss of my firstborn, grieving in a situation where grief wasn't allowed, and now this....give my husband his freedom! He was outraged when I told him what was said to me. Poor guy, look at what HE was going through! What an extra burden to put on a young couple! Honestly, I know the only reason we survived was our deep love. Bless him because of my being denied the full grieving process, I had many set backs in grief that he had to endure. Finally, in the 1990's I sought out grief counseling. It helped some. The REAL help came from finding the Baby Loss Community last October 2012. You kind grieving parents took me into your fold. You allowed me to grieve openly and in turn helped my husband and myself grieve properly for our losses. We have spent the last year grieving together and shouting out our children's names! This burden of grief , held inside for so long, exploding into tears unexpectedly at times throughout the past 38 years, has turned into a healthy grief that we can handle together. Thank you for your support<3