Friday, August 10, 2012

Controversy: baby photos online


Jacob was born still 6 months ago today.  About 5 months ago is when I posted the first picture of Jacob to my Facebook account, after it had been retouched some by Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  I was so very proud of my precious son.  The sweet baby boy whom I love so very much.  I wanted all of my closest friends and family to see him.  I just knew that everyone would adore him like I did.

I was wrong.

I began to notice that friends and former co-workers who were once my friend on Facebook were gone.  I didn't realize the reason at the time.

Not long later, I was visiting the District Clerk's office where I worked for four years,up until last Fall.  We had a really good visit I thought.  After I left, a lady whom I've gotten to know pretty well called me on my cell phone to let me know that two of the ladies who had once been friends on my Facebook were gossiping about me.. and one was telling the other " She put pictures of her dead baby on her Facebook, who would do that?".  I was crushed.  My feelings were hurt that people who I thought were my friends could be so ugly and insensitive to my pain.  I just lost my child.  That was MY Facebook page.  No one had the right to judge me.   I went to remove said people from my friends list to realize they had already removed me themselves.  I shrugged it off.  These people obviously weren't my friends, nor did they care about me, so I didn't have the time to care about them...

I began wondering how many other mommies had suffered this problem before.  I asked the support group I was a member of and many people said the same happened after they posted pictures of their precious baby.  Many mommies said not only had their friends reacted negatively to their photos, but some family members had as well.  I couldn't believe my eyes as I read the horrible things that these poor hurting mommies had endured.  

Yesterday, I got my own dose of negativity from a family member.  I was on the phone having a seemingly normal phone conversation with a relative when it happened.  We were talking of local news events, Payton and the weather... when all of the sudden, said family member blurted out, "I saw pictures of "the baby"(said member didn't even acknowledge he had a name) on Facebook the other day... your other relatives showed me."  "Why would you put pictures with the caption "Stillborn" on them on Facebook?".  I suddenly got defensive. (Mind you I purposely never had shown pictures of Jake to this person because I didn't think they could handle it). I told this person that I wasn't the only person to ever post pictures of my baby to Facebook and if they were to look at other Facebook pages of parents of stillborns or any infant who has passed away, most have pictures of their babies.  Even though they have passed away, we still love them, we are still proud of them.  Our hearts still smile when we see their sweet faces and little footsies or whatever picture we have of them.  Parents of stillborn babies, or any other baby in Heaven shouldn't have to hide our grief and hurt, just because others are afraid of it, or don't think they can handle it.  

In my very honest opinion, we as individuals should be allowed to post whatever we want to on our own personal Facebook pages without judgment from others when it is regarding our babies.  I would dare to say that most people have never experienced a loss so great as losing a child and it is very easy to say "well, I would never post those... I wouldn't say that... I wouldn't" .. The truth is these other people do not know how they would behave or what they would do because thankfully they have never stood in our shoes and won't ever have to.


Yesterday I asked other mommies of stillborns:

 Have you lost friends or been the victim of ugly remarks because you posted a picture of your baby to your Facebook or blog? Did family members have problems viewing them?  

These are some of their responses( i've edited out names for privacy):

  • I've had several people delete me as friend's on FB. I'm not sure if it's due to all the photos, the sadness, or depressing things I post. (As some have told me that). I don't care. I post pictures of my darling son. I'm a proud Mama. I have yet to hear anything truly negative or bad, but if I do, I will delete them.

  • I posted pictures of my son and had family members question me for doing so saying I should be sensitive to other peoples feelings. The way I look at it is people aren't sensitive to my feelings when they post pictures of their living children and why should they? It's their child, they're proud of them. Just because my son is in heaven doesn't make me any less proud of him. He's my beautiful baby and I'm so proud to show him off. It took me a while to accept that some people may freak out about it but I'm at a point now where I am tired of caring what they think. 
  • I've avoided posting photos other than the one of his feet because I'm so afraid of what someone will think of him. I'm so protective of his photos. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to share them. 

 I hate that any of these mothers have to experience these problems.  I hate that the stress of other's opinions is added to the heavy weight of the pain of losing their children.  However, maybe to be fair to our non-baby loss friends and family.. at least maybe we should consider posting photos in black and white or after they have been retouched some, if your sweet baby had extreme discoloration around their face.

I love each of my baby loss mommy friends and want you all to be happy and proud of your babies.  I am so happy you stand up for the new generation that isn't afraid to share about your loss.. and won't keep it in, just because others are uncomfortable.

Happy 6 month birthday Jacob! <3
Mommy Loves you! 
 

11 comments:

  1. Very well said I think. I struggle with this because I would share all of my photos in a heartbeat but my husband doesn't want to see the photos of our son from after he passed so to be fair on him I don't post them publicly. We are lucky to have a couple from when he was still alive, though they are very few.

    Everyone that has seen his photos from after he passed has been so supportive, but then they are only people I really trust. To be honest if people were upset about it, I think I would just delete them. Like you say, it's YOUR Facebook page and of course you want to share your child who you are so proud of.

    Lots of love,
    Lisa
    http;//dear-finley.blogspot.com

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    1. Lisa thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I am so thankful that you have some photos of your sweet Finley from before he passed away,so that you and your husband can enjoy looking at them together. I think that it's great that you respect your husband enough to not post photos online so that he may accidentally see them. I am so happy to know that people are kind to you and supportive when they see pictures of Finley. Everyone needs people like that. <3 Our babies are our world and we love showing them off.

      Hope you have a great Saturday!

      <3 Jessica

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  2. Happy six month Jake! Well I am right with you it is so very sad that people do not get or even try. I am very sorry I know these comment have caused you pain because I have experienced this pain first hand. I would love to show everyone my Jonathan I am so proud of him but the rejection I feel by the comments is just to much. Jake is beautiful and I love you love for him! Praying for you in this difficult time. Thank you for writing this and educating others!

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    1. Tesha I am so sorry that you have had to experience the ugliness that some people feel the need to share. Sometimes I wish people wouldn't say everything they think. I know Jonathan is a beautiful boy and that his mommy and daddy and his big brothers and sisters loved him more than imaginable. I sure hope that one day people will realize they were the ones who made mistakes being so harsh to already hurting mommies and we just wanted people to see the love we have so much of for our babies.

      I was thinking about this subject last night, and the Duggars came to mind. I feel so terribly sorry for the wrath that has come down on them since the stillbirth of their daughter Jubilee. It's one thing for us to have a couple of people saying mean things... I can't imagine having the whole world after you in one way or another.

      Praying for you Tesha!

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  3. Yes, thank you for writing this. It angers me so much how people act! I got some nasty comments about sharing Lily's photos which made me feel self-conscience for a while. But, she is my baby and I am proud of her just as any mommy is proud of her baby. So, I will not stop sharing photos of her! She is perfect and beautiful. I do only share the photos that are a little more "sensitive" to people that can't handle all the photos if you know what I mean. Right now, I am working on a post about how friends and family can help when they know someone who loses a baby. I am definitely addressing this! People have no idea how much we treasure these only priceless photos we will ever have. I am glad you wrote this and proud of you for standing up for Jake and yourself! Sorry those "friends" were such jerks! Forget about them! I hope it never happens to them and then they will have to eat their words

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    1. Hannah I hate to hear that you too have been on the receiving end of hurtful comments about pictures of your little love Lily. I am glad to know that you too have had enough and are standing up for baby loss parents and the only thing we have left of our precious babies. I look forward to reading your post on the subject soon. I hope that nothing of this nature ever happens to those who were so ugly and that like you said they have to "eat their words". :) Hope you are having a great Monday!

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  4. I'm glad I found your blog; I was beginning to think I was the only one with stacks of baby photos that no one cares to see (especially my family). My first son came too soon at 18 1/2 wks and then I had twins that were also born prematurely at 20/21 wks. I am really hurt that my family, and others, refuse to acknowledge my children. I have seen beautiful videos on YouTube of premature (deceased) babies surrounded by loving family members celebrating their birth and existence at the hospital. I don't think I will ever get over the fact that no one, not one person, came to the hospital to see or hold my babies with me. I was all alone in my happiness and grief and that sometimes hurts the most.

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    1. I am so very sorry to hear about all three of your precious angel babies. I cannot imagine being all alone in the hospital, with no one coming to see them. Jacob was precious and I am very happy that some of his grandparents got to share in loving on him with me for the little bit of time we had. My heart aches for you. I hope you continue to try and share your photos of your babies. They are special and deserve to be acknowledged. <3

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  5. I am so glad that I have come across this blog. I stumbled across it actually. I lost my son, Tommy, 5weeks ago at 23w3d due to pre-eclampsia and severe HELLP syndrome. And I just last night was thinking of sharing a picture on Facebook. I don't think I will now. There is enough heartache in my life right now so I definitely would not be able to handle people's judgement of my son. I love him and I am so incredibly proud of him.

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    1. Clair, I'm so glad you have found my blog, however I'm so very sorry for your loss. I hate that you don't feel safe sharing photos of precious Tommy on your Facebook, but it is a hard decision. You'd think people would be open and accepting of your sweet baby, but they aren't always. I agree, the heartache in your life is always more than enough and the addition of more with people judging you and your son added on top. Big hugs Clair! Please let me know if I can do anything to help. xoxo

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