One night as Natalie Morgan was sleeping, the baby that was still inside of her began to kick in a rhythmic pattern.
But when she woke up the following morning, she had the sudden realization that there was something wrong with her kid.
Her unborn daughter, Eleanor Josephine, was not exhibiting any indications of life while she was still within her mother’s womb. Her heart dropped to the bottom of her stomach as the home doppler indicated that there was no heartbeat. “I knew. I just knew. I had no interest in learning… I really hoped that I was incorrect, but I knew,” she explained.
She and her husband Brian prayed nonstop the entire time they were driving to the hospital, but when they got there, they found out that their worst nightmare had come true: Eleanor had passed away.
After Natalie gave birth to her stillborn daughter, she immediately sat down at her computer to begin drafting the most agonizing, yet ultimately meaningful, story she would ever write. The unfiltered emotion that was laced into every word of her Facebook post has struck a chord deep within the hearts of moms all over the world.
However, the focus on the birth of a stillborn baby is not what led to the message going viral in the first place. It is a message of encouragement to women to treasure each and every moment with their newborn children, something she was unable to do with her own children.
And she’s not talking about the ones that are just for fun; she’s also referring to the ones that include screaming tantrums and sleepless nights. She demands that mothers take pleasure in their children’s irritable colic, their children’s dirty diapers, and their children’s saliva trickling down their chests.
She said that there would be times when your child will scream and cry every time you try to put him or her down. “There will be times,” she wrote.
“Or they’ll weep even when you’re holding them in your arms, despite the fact that you’ve done all you possibly can think of to get them to stop. There will be many sleepless nights, many diaper changes in a matter of minutes, spit-up in your hair, urine on your shirt, and poop in your hands; and again, there will be a great deal of screaming from the baby, and perhaps from you as well. Please keep in mind my experience every time something like that occurs, especially when you’re feeling frustrated and want to get away from it all.
Natalie continued by going deeper into the traumatic events that took place during that eerie night at the hospital, including the following:
“I can’t seem to shake the memory of that exact second. It is a sensation that is both paralyzing and all-consuming, like complete suffocation, and it is a memory that will follow me around for the rest of my life. At that very instant, I had the unsettling sensation that the ceiling was about to come crashing down on top of me. I was so upset that I couldn’t breathe; as a result, I exploded, screamed, threw objects, and puked… …and then a part of me passed away along with her. I had no control over the situation at all. It was meant to be my body that would keep her safe, but instead it was the one that killed her.
She didn’t even want the pain muted since she knew it would be the final memory she had with her kid and she didn’t want to miss it for the world. And she had to be aware of each and every ounce of it:
“They offered to give me an epidural, but I was unable to comply with their request. I couldn’t let it pass me by. I needed the suffering, the torment, and the anguish so that I might see a reflection of what was going on in my heart. It was the most difficult task I’ve ever had to complete. Ever. Having to endure the excruciating contractions, the ring of fire, and the constant ripping, all the while being aware that it was all in vain. I was giving birth to a child who had already passed away. There would be no joy at the conclusion of it to help me forget the suffering that it caused. In contrast to my little kid, the suffering would go on without end.
After going through the ordeal of giving birth, Natalie finally got to cuddle and hug Eleanor for the first time. But after six hours had passed, she was unable to bare the sight of her lovely newborn girl deteriorating while she held her in her arms.
She had no choice but to sadly bid farewell to everyone:
“As I stood over her and spent those final few minutes with her, blood was pouring down my legs and into the floor,” she said. “It was a beautiful way to end our time together.” I didn’t care – my womb was crying. Everything about me felt like it should be sobbing. Watching them cart her away destroyed me. That moment marked the end of my life. They wheeled me out of the hospital, and I screamed the whole way out of there.
Natalie was able to bring forth the most potent viewpoint on the beauty of childrearing while she was totally involved in the most potent type of suffering she had ever encountered, which was the experience of having a child. Her unfiltered guidance has given moms all over the world a reason to be grateful rather than resentful about their children’s temper tantrums in the middle of the night:
“But please just remember, when you’re awake at 3 [a.m.] because you have a baby in your arms keeping you up that late, I’m up at 3 [a.m.] because I don’t. And if I could have a baby that threw up on me, was colicky at all hours of the day and night, screamed, wouldn’t let me put her down, cracked my nipples from breastfeeding, and kept me awake all night, I would do it for anything in the world.
“…All I ask of you is that when you have your dark moments with your baby — when you’re at your wits’ end and feel like you can’t go on anymore when you’re only getting an hour or two of sleep a night — instead of begging your child to go to sleep and being swallowed up in your frustration and exhaustion, find the slightest bit of strength within you to keep going, and say a prayer of gratitude for your child, as difficult as it may be for
Natalie reports that what began as a modest written expression of her hardship has mushroomed into a tsunami of support from people located in a variety of countries all over the world. Parents who have experienced the loss of a stillborn child have come out to her for emotional support, while other mothers who are fed up with their babies’ crying have thanked her for changing their viewpoint.
“I’m not the first mother to have a stillbirth, so my story is not unique — but they’re so rarely talked about, and I had no idea how utterly traumatic and devastating an experience it is,” she said in an interview with TODAY Parents. “I had no idea how utterly traumatic and devastating an experience it is.” “And since stillbirths are spoken so infrequently, I believe there is this hazy impression — even if it is only a subconscious one — that those babies never existed or never really mattered,” the author says. “And this is because stillbirths are discussed so infrequently.”
To say that presumption was incorrect would be an understatement after hearing Natalie’s story. She also shared a priceless photo of Eleanor when she was still in her womb as a way to demonstrate the stunning “life” that was developing inside of her.
Eleanor’s life did have significance, and the impact of her brief existence may today be felt in the lives of mothers all around the world.
As a constant visual reminder that Eleanor will forever be a part of her, Natalie decided to get a tattoo of forget-me-not flowers. Her sweet girl will never be forgotten.
“I think it’s the dread of every parent that their stillborn child would be forgotten,” she added. “I had a stillborn child.” It bears repeating that even a child who was born stillborn is still considered to have lived. Because I felt my daughter move, I am positive that this is the case. I felt her dance. I could feel her presence pulsing through me. Even though she may have never breathed a breath outside of my body, she was a person who existed, who mattered, and who was and is loved to the heavens and back.