sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Emily Carrington EPLA Founder
Last week Dear Abby responded to Crystal in Nevada about her aunt who was still grieving a stillborn baby who died 20 years ago. Crystal was concerned about her aunt because she has “lived a morbid lifestyle.” Examples of morbidity included wanting to have a 1st Birthday party and recently asking for the baby to be included in the list of grandchildren at her grandfather’s funeral.
Abby responded by validating Crystal’s concerns and invalidating the aunt’s grief. She started by saying that this woman needed grief counseling and then that the idea of the birthday party is “truly sad.” She did suggest that it wasn’t that out of line to want to include the baby in the list of grandchildren, so there is that.
As many in the baby loss community have pointed out, Abby’s response was not only out of touch, but it is actually harmful to loss parents. While grief counseling is a great tool for learning to live with grief, what type of result does Abby think grief counseling will produce?
This response at Unexpected Family Outing says it well: “You assumed that her aunt had not sought any kind of counseling. Perhaps, you think counseling cures a person’s heartache for their child?”
The same piece continues to point out the flaws with Abby’s advice: “You could have shared that there is no timeline when it comes to grief. You could have used your influential platform to help those normalizing the grief experience. Instead, you decided to continue the very harmful narrative that grief is about moving on.”
And many others took to Facebook to express their disgust with Dear Abby. At the time of publishing the Dear Abby post had over 430 comments that largely expressed displeasure and pain with Abby’s answer, a much greater response than any recent posts on the page.
From our perspective at EPLA, two things are very clear from this whole episode:
The Dear Abby issue shows us just how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go. We rejoice in our progress and look forward to the challenges ahead -- because no family should suffer miscarriage alone.
Emily Carrington is the founder of the EPLA and mother to four children.