They Were Still Born
Personal Stories about Stillbirth
Contributions by Amy L. Abbey, Nina Bennett, Joanne Cacciatore, Marion Flores, Ruth Fretts, Alan Goldenbach, Rachel Graham, David Hlavsa, Sherokee Ilse, Kara L. C. Jones, Monica Murphy LeMoi, Candy McVicar, Kelley Krahling Edited by Janel C. Atlas
Publication date:10 June 2014
Length of book:280 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
Stillbirth, defined as the death of an infant between 20 weeks' gestation and birth, is a tragedy repeated thirty thousand times every year in the United States. That means more than eighty mothers a day feel their babies slip silently from their bodies, the only sound in the delivery room their own sobs. Eighty stillborn babies a day means heartbroken families mourn the death of children who will never breathe, gurgle, learn to walk, or go to school. In 2006, Janel Atlas became one of those mothers who left the hospital with empty arms; her second daughter, Beatrice Dianne, was stillborn at 36 weeks. Reaching out for comfort, she realized a dire need shared by so many others like her, and so was born a collection of new essays by writers each sharing their firsthand experiences with stillbirth. Atlas includes selections not only from mothers but also fathers and grandparents, all of whom have intimate stories to share with readers. In addition, there are selections that answer many of the medical questions families have in the wake of a stillbirth and that offer the latest research on this devastating loss and how it might be prevented. Grieving parents will find in these pages the comfort of knowing they are not alone on this painful path, validation of their babies' lives, and guidance from those who have suffered this tragedy. In addition, They Were Still Born both inspires and shows readers how to honor and remember their own babies and stories of loss. No parent- or grandparent-to-be sets out planning to purchase They Were Still Born. Unfortunately, there will always be readers-devastated, grieving, and searching for voices to help them through-who need it.
As is true for all obstetricians, I was confronted with the reality of stillbirth early on in my career. Nothing prepares mothers for this potentially devastating experience. The process must be shared and grieved if the wounds are to fully heal. They Were Still Born helps this process enormously. This collection is beautiful, moving, and healing.