Mum under fire for sharing her stillborn baby pictures
Why is stillbirth stigmatised? And why did Rosalyn Racca's act of sharing her stillborn baby pictures on Facebook create such a stir? Read this article to find out.
The birth of a baby is always the cause of much celebration and tears of happiness. But mums who give birth to stillborn babies only have tears of unimaginable sadness to shed.
We recently shared US mum Natalie Morgan’s heartbreaking story of stillbirth. This is the story of another mother based in the US, who also gave birth to a stillborn baby, but was at the receiving end of angry and offended Facebook users when she chose to share her little one’s pictures.
Here is Rosalyn Racca’s story
Mum of four Rosalyn Racca got a pleasant surprise when she had a positive pregnancy test. She and her husband Paul found out they were having a boy. They named him Samuel Tate.
According to news reports, everything was going fine with her pregnancy until at 21 weeks, she received the heartbreaking news that her little one was no longer moving in her womb — his heart had stopped beating as confirmed by ultrasound scans. It was August 28 2014 when she found out.
The next day, Rosalyn gave birth to Tate. He was nine inches long and weighed a tiny nine ounces. “Everything was there,” said Rosalyn, according to news reports. “He had ten toes and ten fingers. He looked exactly like my husband, even the genetic part of how much he looked ours left me speechless.”
Despite the heartache of giving birth to a sleeping angel, Rosalyn and Paul felt very strongly about cherishing memories of their little boy through taking plenty of photographs.
Unexpected public backlash
Reports say that after little Tate’s memorial service, Rosalyn posted some of his pictures (in black-and-white) on Facebook. Then this August on the first year anniversary of Tate’s birth, Rosalyn shared more pictures of her son, but this time they were more personal and in colour and included pictures of his face.
“The day before, I put a warning on my status that I was going to be showing these pictures of him,” she reportedly said, “because I knew that I did have even family members who didn’t care to see him.”
She certainly didn’t expect the reaction from others after these pictures were posted. The images were reported as “graphically violent” and she was asked by Facebook to delete them or change the settings to private.
However, Rosalyn refuses to remove the pictures of her beloved son and they still show up on her Facebook profile to this day. To see the controversial image, click this link.
Why stigmatise pregnancy loss?
Rosalyn’s story is important for several reasons. Firstly, with all the things that are posted on social media these days that range from violent, gruesome to downright bizarre, how and why is sharing a picture of your baby wrong and “graphically violent”?
Secondly, why is stillbirth stigmatised and considered to be something a mother must hide?
According a BMJ report, the issue of stillbirths needs to be given more priority on the global health agenda. Stillbirth is much more common than we think. The BMJ report indicates that the international rate of stillbirths was around 18.9% in 2009, which is more than 2.6 million stillbirths globally, every year.
The lead author of this report, Zeshan Qureshi, speaking to Mic author Jenny Kutner, says “What potentially kills a baby could potentially kill the mother,” and this is why it is so important to create more awareness about miscarriage and stillbirth.
Stillbirth awareness also must be created in order to provide proper support to women who experience it — it is an incredibly traumatic experience, with massive psychological and physical impacts. If one of the ways women affected by stillbirth cope with the loss and pain is through talking about their experience on social media and sharing pictures, then so be it.
As Kutner says, “to know how to prevent stillbirths, we need to first start talking openly about them.”
Listening to the narratives of mothers who have experienced this loss and empathising with them is one way we can collectively help, in our own small way.
*Featured image from Rosalyn Racca’s Facebook page
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