Keen to learn more about inclusive workplaces? Want to be inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community? Learn more & request an invitation for a very special 2-hour session here!

Stillborn: Dealing With The Loss Of A Baby At Birth [Short Story]

This is a heart-wrenching dedication, a fictional account, of a new mother dealing with the loss of a baby at birth. It's a story that must be told.

This is a heart-wrenching dedication, a fictional account, of a new mother dealing with the loss of her baby at childbirth. It’s a story that must be told.

In a crumpled bed of blood and free-flowing love, my child is born. Let me hold him close. Let me look at him him in his fairy-winged sleep. Let me bathe him with my milk and tears that had awaited his first cry, sprouting open, unfurling the soft petals of his sleep.

“Nurse, please tell me if it is a boy or a girl!

“A boy? Oh, my bunny boy, I did dream about you with your curly locks, your drooling mouth and tottering footsteps, chortling away. And I would love you all the more if you were a dimple-chinned, chubby cheeked girl with soft, precious fingers, curling up to my face.”

“But where are you, my child of delight, my baby boy?”

I can feel his tiny fingers folded, resolute, his curled up limbs, his body like a sonnet, unfolding before eternity. Do let me hold him close until his cry merges in a whirlwind, in spirals, in harmony with my never-ending lullaby.

Do let me hold him close until his cry merges in whirlwind, in spirals, in harmony with my never-ending lullaby.

“The patient is still in a delirium. We will still need to keep her under strong doses of morphine to deal with the postpartum pain and stress”, the nurse walks out of the recovery room to work under the instructions of the team of the doctor, other nurses and the midwife.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

“The baby boy was stillborn. We are extremely sorry for your loss. It happens sometimes with premature deliveries, and there were complications since the first trimester.” The young nurse and the aged midwife came up to the perplexed, anxious family waiting outside the surgery room. They were trying to console the bewildered young man who had dreamed of holding his offspring of love in his arms at this very instant.

A helpless, insistent bout of tears flowed, vulnerable, dismayed, followed by the inevitable act of settling down with the bitter truth; the questions and the striving to move on.

“But how is my wife doing? Can I go and meet her now?”

“Well, you can, but at this point she is still not in her senses, you see—she is having intrusive thoughts, intense distress and is delusional. She is asking to see the baby, believes that he is alive. We are trying our best to revive your wife. She should be back to her senses soon.”

“How are you, sweetheart? See what I brought for you!” He came to her and hugged her.

“You know, both of our parents, your sister, your nephew, my little niece, all are waiting for you in the reception lounge. Get well very soon and we will take you back home. Ok? Now be a good girl and eat this favorite pudding that you asked for before coming here.”

“Have you brought our baby boy? Where is he? Does he have my curly hair, your hazel eyes and the pout of your lips?”

“Sweetheart, listen to me. You love me, don’t you? For my sake, you have to recover, and be strong, really strong…” he implored her, held her tight, trying to feed her a spoonful of the pudding she had loved.

The muffled tears, the feeble shrieks and yells echoed in the plastic silence of the room. The tears of both intertwined in the room, just as they had a year back. A tiny embryo stopped moving and came out of the nurturing comfort of the womb and splattered on the bathroom floor in spurts of blood, battered and slain. With frosted, shaking hands, both of them craved to pick up the pieces, the tissues, the scattered formation of their love that lay afloat, surrendering, dying.

“Listen, we have diagnosed her with some Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) problems. It is sometimes an after effect of childbirth, especially after delivering a stillborn child. We really need some invasive medical interventions and antidepressants to bring her back to normal.” The medical team reentered the room, requesting complete privacy.

I don’t care a hoot for the tingling wave of pain in the folds of my muscles, for the soreness, the swelling of my nerves, my bones, the monitor and the machinery, the bubbles of conspiracy lulling me to sleep. I won’t succumb to the call of sleep till I hold my crying baby, till I don’t feed him. Bring him to me; I want look into the verse, the melody of his face, my body and my being gleaming with the first ray of my newborn’s smile.

I am not a part of this vicious silence, this numbness around.

I am not a part of this vicious silence, this numbness around. The room stinks with your hushed conversations, your measured intrusions and the smell of sedation. Whose demon hands plunged into the room and plucked my cherub?

“Is that you, or is that the wicked nurse? Who took away my baby? Is he still sleeping in his nursery? When was the last time that I fed him?”

The questions, the frail voice, the clattering of teeth and writhing, the urgency and the disbelief was numbed, silenced with a couple of injections as the medical team came back to the room.

The silence of the room is numinous, resounding. I hum, in voiceless notes, my unsung lullabies.

In my inviting arms, I rock and lull my baby to sleep. Sleep, my precious child, while I tickle and caress your angelic face. All this while, my body had been bursting open in pain and surrender, to see you cry, to settle you in the soiree of my bosom. The silence of the room is numinous, resounding. I hum, in voiceless notes, my unsung lullabies.

Note: This short fictional piece is a humble dedication to mothers who have lost their little angels in the process of childbirth. Most of the narrative is written in the poetic voice of a delusional mother who believes that her newborn is still alive.

Image a mother and baby’s hands via Shutterstock


About the Author

Lopa Banerjee

Lopa Banerjee is an author, editor, translator and faculty of Creative Writing at Richland College, Dallas, Texas, USA, but originally from Kolkata, India. Her memoir 'Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant's Wayward Journey' and her debut read more...

6 Posts | 8,388 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

Doing Good is #BeautifulInDeed



Women’s Web is THE place for the Indian woman who wants to stay engaged with the world, who believes that she has a place in the world, and ideas to offer. We focus on women’s self-development and pursuit of happiness, by offering information on career development, entrepreneurship, managing work and family, successful women, women’s health, social issues and personal finances. Our goal is to help women learn and grow!

© 2022 Women's Web. All Right Reserved.