Here’s a little-known fact about me: I’m named after my aunt… and she was stillborn.
Stillborn. We don’t use that word very often in today’s culture. It’s almost taboo, and it seems like it’s only ever uttered in hushed whispers. People don’t like to hear that word.
Hence, the little-known fact. If a stranger asks me about my name, I just give them the rehearsed answer: I’m named after my aunt. And I omit the stillborn part.
Until I became a mom, I never understood the magnitude of my error or my disservice to other women. I simply cannot fathom the grief of losing a child. And even more so, I cannot begin to comprehend how it must feel to be a mother of a stillborn.
One day, as my newborn son slept in my arms, I got a text message from my friend, Tiffany, with a link to an article. And as I read the article, tears literally soaked my son’s head. It pierced my heart.
The article was about stillborns.
This article talked about a cooling device that enabled families of stillborns to spend more time with their babies. This device is called a Cuddle Cot. It literally gives these families the gift of time. Instead of having the stillborn baby immediately removed, the families are able to spend time holding, dressing, and taking picture with the stillborn baby. It gives them memories with their baby that they can hold on to, which is a small comfort in their time of grief.
The irony did not escape me that I was reading an article about stillborns while holding my newborn child. I was blessed with a healthy baby, but not all women are as fortunate. My grandma wasn’t.
My friend who sent me the article just happens to be the coordinator for BT MOPS, a community of moms that support each other through the hardship of motherhood. The article deeply moved her, as well. It impacted Tiffany so much, that she presented the idea of donating a Cuddle Cot to the MOPS leadership team. With tear filled eyes and a box of tissues being passed around the table, everyone unanimously agreed. And with a large fundraiser, as well as the past fundraising efforts of past years, the Cuddle Cot became a reality
BT MOPS donated a Cuddle Cot to Doctors Hospital at Renaissance on July 18, 2017. Their donation will give the gift of time to many grieving families across the Rio Grande Valley. There are currently only seven Cuddle Cots in the state of Texas.
There is a stigma that is associated with stillborns and miscarriages that desperately needs to change. These women have suffered one of the worst – if not THE worst – tragedies in this world. And they have suffered in silence for far too long!
These women need to feel embraced! They need to feel like it’s okay for them to speak out. They need to be able to tell their stories freely and openly, without judgement, so that they can begin to heal. Each and every one of us plays a part of making that reality possible.
Hi. My name is Sandra. I’m named after my aunt, who was stillborn.
About the Guest Author :: Sandra Elise
Sandra loves God, her family, and chocolate. She is married to her best friend, Eli. Together they have two amazing (and rambunctious) boys. She serves on the leadership team at BT MOPS.