“I want more than anything to show people what my baby looked like. There is such a stigma around death, and pictures of dead people – babies in particular – are among the most uncomfortable things you can see… but it’s all we have. Our baby wasn’t born living. We don’t have pictures of smiles and toys or videos of songs and laughs, we have feet and hands and hair of a child the world will never know. Being caught in a world that doesn’t want to see your baby is heartbreaking.”
This is the world I live in too. Not only was Jonah not born living, smiling, and crying, but he was disfigured. Our son had one eye that was lower and smaller than the other, ears in a lowered position, and a bilateral (dual) cleft lip. He had one foot and ankle that didn’t form correctly. He had spots on the top of his head that didn’t fully form. Because he passed before he was born he was always darker in color, more pink/purple like a scar when it’s cold out. And I struggle with sharing pictures of him because of the nature of the situation. We have a photo album with his pictures and I have something I made last summer that is in waiting to get put up on a wall, but you won’t find pictures of my son online (almost) anywhere.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I know which side of the fence I’m on almost a year later. What I do know is that we all have different levels of comfort with it and we all handle these things differently. If you want to share pictures but haven’t yet because of the popular opinion online – and excuse me for a second here – fuck them. SHARE YOUR PICTURES. Be proud of the life you created and the joy that fills your heart because of them, no matter how old or young they were. If you’re holding them because of the opinion of someone close to you or because you aren’t really sure what your heart says about it (like me), take your time and listen to what is there. Nothing says you have to, and nothing says you don’t.
Because of Jonah’s skin color the only picture I’ve shared – one of his left hand in all its fuzzy baby glory – is in black and white. I’m still not at the comfort level to share color photos of him, but below is a picture I haven’t shared before. It’s of both his cubby arms and hands, so it still isn’t anything world changing. But he’s mine and I’m proud of him, so… (here it is again) fuck ’em.
I love you baby boy, and I’m proud to be your poppa #TeamJonah