“I see you’ve had a stillbirth,” the doctor said to me.
She looked up from my notes and smiled, as if I would agree.
“I think perhaps you’ve read that wrong,” I carefully replied,
“I had a little baby girl and, yes, my baby died.”
“But your daughter, she was stillborn, yes?” the doctor asked again.
“My daughter was much more than that. Please call her by her name.”
“I’m sorry,” she corrected, “It’s just the terms we use.”
I looked at her and gave a smile but said I was confused.
“Please don’t call her stillborn. And let me tell you why.
For nine short months she lived in me. She lived. She was alive.
She came on family holidays. She kicked inside me tummy.
I loved her from the moment I found out I was her mummy.
She had ten little fingers, she had ten little toes.
She had a head of dark brown hair and a cute little button nose.
She has a little bedroom. I know she’ll never use it.
But it’s painted in mint green and grey – her brother helped us choose it.
You see, she’s not a ‘stillbirth’. She’s family. Our girl.
To you she’s a statistic, but to us she is the world.”
The doctor, she sat quietly, not knowing what to say.
But then her simple gesture showed I’d changed her mind that day.
She pulled my notes back open and slowly read the words,
And then she looked up with a smile and started to converse.
“I see you had a daughter. Let’s see, what was her name?
Ah, Evalyn. That’s pretty. How old was she again?
Today she taught a lesson and please know that she was heard.
Evalyn was your daughter. And ‘stillbirth’s’ just a word.”