In 2008 Annie Lennox spoke about her son's stillbirth. She expressed the same feelings that many people who suffer a tragedy realize- life is fragile. She explained how his death effected her songwriting, and how it brought depth to her music.
Mike Tyson spoke with Oprah about his daughter accidental death. It was his darkest day. No matter what you think about Tyson, you can't help but realize that he truly loved his daughter and her death took an enormous toll on him.
Lily Allen spoke about her son's stillbirth last year. She expressed something which I've actually felt myself which is anger when people refer to her loss as a "miscarriage". She actually labored and bore a son. Like myself, Ms. Allen nearly died when her son was born. She talked about it at great length in the final episode of the documentary Lily Allen: Rags to Riches.
Gordon Brown wept as he recalled his daughter's death.
Xzibit reminded us to hold our children closer.
Then there are the comments that just don't sit right with the baby loss community in general:
Oprah Winfrey admitted that she felt relieved when her infant son died. She told Piers Morgan that she felt it gave her a second chance at life. I have to admit, when I first read this I was sickened. I couldn't imagine feeling relief over the death of my child. But I've never been a 14 year old victim of sexual assault. I don't know what that's like, and I can imagine that not having the constant reminder would be a relief. What I can't agree with, and what still bothers me, is that Oprah said she never thinks about her child. She never imagines what life would be like if her child had lived. She's glad he isn't here. That just rubs me the wrong way. It would have bothered me even if I didn't lose a child. To me it implies that the money and fame are more important than a human life. I watched the interview, and Oprah talk about her son's death in a nonchalant way. I've seen this woman on TV bawling about the death of her dog, but when it came to her son she was emotionless. That just doesn't sit right with me.
Reverend Run and his wife Justine spoke to People Magazine about their daughter's death. I first read this article a few years ago and it pissed me off. I was especially irritated by Justine's statement: "Women need to know you only need to mourn quickly." She suggested that you, "Don't try to think of [the baby's] eyes." And Rev Run said "We don't have pictures [of Victoria Anne]. We don't look back."
Wow. Just, wow.
I don't even know where to start with these two. First of all, they had the perfect platform to help people and to bring awareness to a taboo subject and they failed miserably. Instead they basically suggested that you forget about the baby and move on. Don't dwell on it, don't talk about it, don't feel. Just pretend it didn't happen and everything will be OK. (Maybe I'm exaggerating, but not much).
In the article it says that they found out in the middle of their pregnancy that they baby likely had a genetic disease (which is sometimes incompatible with life). They decided not to tell anyone, even their children. As a parent I find this incredibly irresponsible. They mentioned that one of their sons was having an especially hard time with the loss- did it not dawn on them that if he had time to process what was happening that maybe he would have dealt with it better? How cruel to drop something on their children when they could have had months to process it (especially in front of cameras, which was for their reality show). They said they didn't tell anyone because they didn't know how it was going to turn out. The defect she had (Omphalocele) was very serious, even if she had survived she would have had to had surgery shortly after birth followed by a NICU stay of at least a month, probably longer. Best case scenario is surgery and lengthy hospital stay, worst case scenario is death. Isn't that something you want to prepare your children for? I couldn't imagine just dropping that bomb on them after the baby was born.
Then, after the baby died they made it even worse by not allowing anyone to dwell on it. "...You only need to mourn quickly". "We don't look back". Really? I think I have recovered from the stillbirth of my child very well. I have a picture of her in my living room. I believe that you have to fully experience the emotions before you can move past them. I think it's especially harmful for a parent to not allow their children to experience those emotions.
There is a fine line here, and I really think the Simmons family did a huge disservice to the baby loss community. They had the perfect platform to speak about this and let people know that losing a baby is painful. It's not something that you just bounce back from the next day, but they made it seem as if that is exactly what they did. (They even mention how they had their kids out on skateboards the very next day!) While I don't doubt that this was an extremely painful experience for this family, I wish that they didn't feel the need to prove how tough they are and how easily they recovered from this loss. It does a great disservice to parents who've suffered a loss. Especially those who's family and friend expect them to "get over" it. They missed a huge opportunity to help people who don't have the voice they have, and instead they used it for ratings for their show and that just doesn't sit well with me at all.
Maybe I'm being harsh. I know it's easy to look back and criticize, but these last two examples just really get to me.