Hello to all of our faithful KotaPress readers!
We would like to thank you for your patience with our delays in getting the Summer Issue of our Poetry Journal up online. You could say that things have been crazy around here, but that would be an understatement to the Nth degree. Because I'm not one to keep poetry and grief separate, and because I find it very difficult to keep my mouth shut about the grief in our home, I'd thought this would be a good space to give you the details about the delay on the Summer Issue.
It wasn't technical. It wasn't poetic. There were no delays in getting release forms back. No, it was nothing that mundane.
The fact is that Hawk and I attended a Grief Conference in early June, and the experiences we had there left us in a kind of shock. This was the first time since our son died that we exposed ourselves to so many grieving families in one space at one time. The emotional and education levels of this were overwhelming and out-of-hand. This is not to say it was bad. We desperately needed this exposure to be certain that we weren't going insane in our isolate lives here in the NW, in the Emerald City, in our neighborhood, in our own home. The teachings and stories of so many other grieving parents were priceless.
Let's set aside the emotional stories for a moment, and let me give you some examples of just the bare facts we learned there:
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 39,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States alone. Let me break that down for you. That's 3,250 dead babies each month; 812.5 dead babies each week; 116 dead children each day. THAT'S 4.8 DEAD BABIES EACH AND EVERY SINGLE HOUR IN THE US ALONE!!!! Do you hear me? In the couple of hours it might take you to make and eat dinner tonight, almost 10 babies will die. That's 10 families DESTROYED! You think "destroyed" is over-doing it? Let me ask you this? Did you know that 75 - 80% of couples who experience the death of a child end their marriage in divorce? Yeah, I said DESTROYED!
And here are some facts mixed with emotion for you. I carried my son full-term in a perfectly healthy pregnancy. When they pulled his dead body out of me, he weighed 6 pounds 4 ounces, and he was 19.5 inches long. He had a head full of dark curly hair, and I keep one of his curls in my lockett. My mother and husband held my son. Rocked him. Dressed him. The nurses took purple inked prints of his feet for me. I keep his footprints in my writing journal at all times. My husband had to say goodbye to my son's dead little body and have him prepared to be cremated. My husband had to pick out the urn for our dead son to reside in for all time. Several days later, the man at the funeral home handed me a beigh, marble jar full of my son. I have a marble jar to wrap my baby blankets around.
Why am I telling you these particular emotional facts? Well, because here's the kicker. I'll never get a birth certificate for my son. Our grand old government here in the United States will NEVER give me a birth certificate for my son. Guess why? Because they tell me I didn't have child. I just had a dead fetus. They are telling me my child wasn't real. He was just a fetus. He doesn't count! Do you hear that?
Along the same line of thinking, our government refuses to fund a single penny toward research that could have saved my son's life!!!!!!! The Pregnancy Institute (http://www.preginst.com/) has been doing research privately for over 10 years. They have come up with diagnosis and possible ways to save our children's lives. They have worked with General Electric to create fetal monitors that could save babies. But it has all been privately funded. They need government support to get the word out, to further the research, to make the technology available to us. But guess what? Our government will not support this in any way, shape, nor form. Guess why? You got it! While they might consider supporting research to save children, they won't support this work because it's research about fetuses!!!!! My child wasn't worth the time, money, nor resources of our government because he was just a dead fetus.
I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE TELLS ME, MY SON WAS A CHILD, NOT A FETUS. And for all those families out there who are at risk for watching their children die in this way, I propose that they deserve to know about the research and technology that could save their children. If you need further proof of how important this is, please read about a family who was lucky enough to have this knowledge and technology available for their second pregnancy, at www.preginst.com/gift.html
So, you can see how all this has left us quite crazy for the last several weeks. We were not able to bring you the Journal in the time frame we normally deliver it because, frankly, we were off our rockers with grief, despair, anger, and turmoil. We're back now. Sort of. We're glad to have at least gotten it together enough to bring this issue to you. And, finally, to tie all this together with poetry, I'll end with a quote from Sylvia Plath:
"To the person in the bell
jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby,
Miracles to you,
Kara L.C. Jones, Dakota's Mommy