‘Good thing you didn’t get attached.’ He wasn’t a puppy. Jensen was my child, my sweet baby. I’ll always be attached.’: Mother recalls rude comments she’s heard since her son was stillborn, ‘Do not compare anything to losing a child’

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“Grief weighs so heavily on me. Most days I do not feel like getting out of bed to participate in ‘real’ life. When I actually do have the courage to go out in the world, it never fails that I hear something that makes me want to run and hide in bed. These comments pain me to my core since losing my sweet Jensen at 38-weeks, when his heart wasn’t flickering, and everything was just… still.

Good thing you didn’t get attached.

He wasn’t a puppy. Jensen was my child. He was a sweet baby who has a family that loves him more than anything. I see the picture of his first shoes and just want to cry thinking that people didn’t think I was attached to him. Or I feel as if that he wore these shoes or I brought Jensen home with me, I would be worse off than I already am. I don’t know, I just can’t wrap my head around it. How could I not love him just because he was stillborn? He died and I’m still attached to him. I was ‘attached’ the second I saw the positive sign when I took the pregnancy test. I had 38 full weeks with Jensen and had a lifetime of, well, life planned for the both of us. Just because he died doesn’t mean he didn’t exist and my love for him just ended. He is and always will be my first-born son; I’ll always be attached to him.

Courtesy of Danielle Ridgway

At least you’re not staying up all night with your kid.

This was said in conversation with a person who was complaining about being up all night with their child. I replied with understanding not being able to sleep at night, since I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in months. Then it was said. Instead of being up all night with Jensen, I’m up all night missing him and crying. I would do anything to be up with him all night, even if he was screaming his lungs out. These sleepless nights are unending.

Courtesy of Danielle Ridgway

You can always have more children.

This may or may not be true. Either way, I’ll never get my Jensen back. Sometimes I think this statement is meant to be comforting, but I can’t see it like that. If my mom passed away, I would never be able to have her back, nor would I ever be able to have another mom. A child is no different. I will never have Jensen back. Another baby would not be a replacement to him, just a sibling. When I hear this, I personally feel like it makes Jensen’s life unimportant. Just because he passed away and I might be able to have another child, does not mean it erases everything that’s happened.

Even after having Mila, she doesn’t take his spot. Mila is her own person and in some ways having her makes me wonder even more what Jensen would have been like. I’m constantly wishing I could see them play together. So, having another child doesn’t just mask the all the places I miss him. My heart and love grow and there’s new memories made, but I will always long for him. No matter how many children I have.

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Isn’t it time for you to be moving on?

No. I will never move on from Jensen. Right now, everything is still so raw, and the pain is so strong. My child died, it’s not like I lost an earring that I really loved. There is a ton of issues I have to work through that are connected to his life, death, and this messy aftermath. I can’t even explain them all, I just know I have to work through them. More importantly, how can someone ever move on from their son. It’s not like it’s a bad time in my life. He was the greatest thing ever. Do I have to move forward with my life and continue living? Yes, but it’s hard. The hardest thing I have ever done is give birth to my son knowing he wouldn’t be alive. You don’t just pick up and move on to the next thing. I incorporate him in my everyday life, plan things that make his memory and life even more great, and just do everything for him.

Courtesy of Danielle Ridgway

Are you still depressed about this whole thing?

Yes. This question is like the previous one, but I feel as if it’s talking more about me and grief. I’m not sure if it’s particularly about being depressed with Jensen, just the aftermath. But it always goes back to him and his death. It’s hard. I can’t separate the two right now, eventually I’ll be able. Depression and grief are messy. Some days I can go on semi-normally, but it’s mostly me crying and being depressed. In our world, depression is so negatively viewed and people brush it under the rug. It is messy and almost impossible to live with. For me, it’s loss of my son, the pleasures of life, my future, and even relationships. It changes everything. So yeah, I am still depressed. To get back to a ‘normal-ness’ can take up to five years. Please don’t be surprised or think it’s such a crazy thing that I’m still in a depression. This is normal.

God wanted him more.

I believe in God and I know Jensen is in heaven, but this did not comfort me. It could be the setting I was in. My previous doctor said this and didn’t call Jensen a him, he actually said, ‘God wanted it more.’ My son is not an it. This really put a bad taste in my mouth with other people comforting me with heaven and God statements. Do not ever tell a mother that her child is wanted more by someone else, even God. I know that has to sound horrible, but I’m sorry, I would have done ANYTHING to save him. I don’t care what it was. To even say that he was wanted or loved more by someone else… it doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t really like the phrase, ‘He’s in a better place,’ either. There’s not better place for him than with me. I know we’re all children of God, but Jensen is mine and I know he should be with me. This goes hand-in-hand with secondary loss. There’s a loss of faith during child loss that a parent goes through. I’ve struggled with my faith and relationship with God through all of this. I can’t imagine anyone or thing wanting Jensen more than I want him. For me, personally, religion and faith is a tricky thing. I enjoy hearing certain scripture and for me to interpret it as I need to at that time. Like I said, I believe in God and I know Jensen is in heaven with my grandma and Anthony’s mom, but it’s not comforting right now.

Courtesy of Danielle Ridgway

It’s like losing a child…

There is not one single thing in this world that is like losing a child. Do not compare anything to this. I understand other loss hurts and it changes life, but losing a child is not natural and is out of any order I have ever known. It makes you question yourself as a person, or me as a mother. This has made me question if I hurt him. Jensen’s death is not a single event, it’s the promise of life of before to everything being broken. Please, do not compare anything to losing a child. Trust me, this is not something you want to know.

With all these being said, saying absolutely nothing about Jensen and this grief is so much worse. It’s more silence on top of the biggest silence. Just saying his name and letting me know you’re thinking about us and our family does so much. Jensen’s name and the stigma about stillbirth needs to be talked about. Being silent about everything does nothing.”


This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Danielle Ridgway of Gnadenhutten, Ohio. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read Danielle’s powerful backstory of losing her son Jensen:

‘He had curly blond hair, a perfect nose, pouty lips. They told me he was beautiful. I didn’t get to see.’: Mother survives ‘worst trauma’ after losing newborn son, insists daughter will grow up knowing big brother is ‘watching over her’

‘Is she your only one?’ Awkward silence. ‘Nope. She has an older brother. He died.’: Mother of stillborn son’s candid response to strangers’ prying questions, ‘He should be here’

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