Lately, the topic of posting pictures of deceased babies on social media has gained a bit of traction. There seems to be two sides – those who believe the parents have every right to post whatever they want, honoring their child and those who believe something so private shouldn’t be posted on any type of social media.
It all stems from this recent news story. *WARNING: there are graphic images of a deceased baby so if that bothers you, don’t click the link*
I know about this topic all too well. When we lost Ethan back in 2011, we made the joint decision not to post pictures of him on any social media. It wasn’t out of respect of other people; quite frankly, we couldn’t give a damn about what anyone else thought about our grief. It was out of respect for Ethan. We wanted to (and still do) preserve his memory. I’ve personally have read about too many stories of pictures of dead babies being stolen off the web and people faking grief for the sympathy and community.
Still, I understand why people post pictures of their deceased babies. You’re showing the world that yes, your child did exist. You’re telling everyone that your pain hurt and was raw, but there was a living and breathing child who was taken way too soon for reasons no one knows. I get it. I’ve seen more deceased babies than I would’ve liked and now I’m pretty immune to them. I don’t look at their photos and immediately turn to something else. Instead, I see what was and mourn over what could’ve been.
It sucks. Point blank. It sucks.
I think the moment people start dictating what someone should or shouldn’t post, we’re entering dangerous territory of censorship, e.g. because I don’t like what you have to say, I declare you shouldn’t say it. I’ve seen that attitude grow more and more on social media. If I want to post a picture of Ethan, that is my right. It is also your right not to view the pictures.
I do believe, seeing a picture of a deceased child, reminds all of us of our mortality and that is quite uncomfortable to admit and swallow. Let’s face it, if a baby can pass during birth or shortly after, what makes any of us immune to sudden death? We can go any minute and at any time, without a moment’s notice.
There really is no acceptable solution that’ll benefit everyone. Parents of infant loss are unfortunately growing in numbers and our voices are being heard more and more. The days of being private and quiet about miscarriage and infant loss are becoming a thing of the past as people choose blogs, status updates, and a bigger online presence to handle their grief.
To those who don’t want to see the images, just be grateful it’s not your child. Deal with it.