Losing a fetus to birth defects or complications is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a family. It is relatively common and tens of thousands of prospective mothers in the United States lose their babies every year. They solemnly face the fact that the child they had hopes and dreams for has no bright future, no light of life. They grieve and they move on. At least most of them do.
On Monday I posted an Awful Link of the Day directing our readers to a site called "My Beautiful Angels" on which a distraught mother had created a shrine for her departed babies that included buying them beanie babies every year on their birthdays. The site included fairly disturbing images of the dead babies as well. Our callous readers barely even gave the site a moment's consideration, but the mother responsible for it belonged to some sort of mothers of miscarriages webring and word spread far and wide. The mothers were fairly understandably upset and construed my mocking of the woman's website and her behavior there as a general mockery of stillborn fetuses.
They flooded my inbox with over a hundred messages. I began skimming through them later the next day and discovered that angry mothers of dead babies have much in common with angry furries, angry Insane Clown Posse fans, and angry sexual deviants. The key difference is that the dead baby moms mention "karma", "God", and "burn in hell" a lot more frequently than ICP fans. They wished I would die, they threatened to beat me up, throw me in jail, they threatened to sue Something Awful, and they hoped that I had a dead baby myself. I had initially reacted with a little bit of regret, and I took down the photograph of the dead babies we had up on SA. But this only intensified their outrage and the venom continued to froth out of their broken holes.
Realizing that it was impossible to reason with them, I did the only other thing I could; I fought back. Sensitive readers, parents of dead babies, and those of you who don't like to look at pictures of corpses should not read this update under any circumstances. Now, before I dive headlong into these emails I would like to reiterate that most people who have miscarriages or stillborn babies deal with it without sinking into a narcissistic need for endless sympathy that utilizes pictures of their dead infants and the creation of appalling Internet shrines. I sympathize with anyone who has had a stillborn baby or lost an infant, but I will not abide craziness and stupidity on the Internet. If you can't deal with negative attention then maybe you shouldn't turn your self-perpetuating and obsessive grieving process into a public circus of grotesquery.
I just skimmed this first email and thought she was the mother, but the actual mother's email was who I reacted to when I took the photograph down. Thus the confusion evident in this first salvo. Because some of these emails are so long I have abridged several but provided a link to the full email.
Image Removed I did not modify this image in any way. This is taken directly from one of the dead fetus sites.
I'm writing to complain to you and ask why it is that another human being would try and get his fun and kicks at the expense of another human being ?
I don't think or i certainly hope you don't realise the pain you've caused a grieving mother by ridiculing her website for her lost babies and at this point i'm respectfully and calmly asking you take the article down and post an apology for any pain you've caused someone who is already going through more hell than you can imagine.
I've spoken to a lawyer associated with my groups this morning and have been told you've certainly commited some copyright infringments by using a personal picture you had no right or permission to use so for that reason alone the picture had better be taken down from your website straight away or i'll take further steps to have it removed
Proud to be the mother of my angel son.
I probably should have read more than the first and last sentences before I replied, but hey, that was a seriously long email. I don't even blame you if you couldn't stand to read it all.
I'll take the picture of your kids down out of respect for your loss. I will also spare your emails the scathing that the other nasty letters are going to get on Friday.
She replied soon after with this gem:
Image Removed We remember our precious horrifying baby corpse with this Photoshopped image!
Ok Zack so the picture is down and i need not push any harder for the lawyer with the copyright part of this and i very much appreciate the fact you did that although i fear it was done more out of the fear of legal action than it was because you felt for the parents involved.However i notice you still have link up for the website and being it's owned by the mother of this baby and you don't have permission to put that on your site it also infringes several laws and so we'd appreciate that coming down as well even though the mother has sadly seen fit to remove her stuff herself right now,we're hoping to make her see that just because one person would see fit to ridicule her doesn't mean she needs to hide her children away from everyone .. You see the damage and heartache you've caused now ?
More threats even though I took the picture down. And hey, she's not the mother after all!
I didn't even read your emails closely enough to see you had threatened us with legal action. If you want to try to sue us over having a link or whatever craziness you're talking about now go for it. That article will be off the front page in 48 hours if you can just withstand the torment of knowing some people might be laughing at making a website about dead babies.
Also, I must have misread your email, I thought you were the mother of the dead babies. If you aren't, that's awesome, your emails will join the others.
Theresa's claws were out though, and she wasn't about to put them away.
I'll be contacting your webcompany now as will anyone and everyone else to complain about the content of your website removed seeing as you don't see fit to do it for yourself.
Btw if you didn't read my email closely enough per your first sentence how could you then have misread my email to think i was the mother of the dead babies per your second sentence.Apparently you read it more than you'd like to make out ..
I can't imagine how ashamed of you your mother must be.
Not my webcompany!
Oh ho, you caught me in a trap of logic Theresa! Five points go to Gryffindor!
I await the ruin you and the other dead baby moms will bring to my vast empire of hatred. After all, making some jokes about a dead baby website is tantamount to raping you and for this I deserve to have my black empyrean of evil reduced to ash.
Theresa insults me more and then appeals to my common decency. The joke is on her of course, I had that surgically removed after the first Gulf War.
Oh ok now i understand your inablility to act like an adult,my ten yr old refers to Harry Potter when she speaks so i guess you're not old enough to have developed compassion yet,that said i know even she would be above hurting someone intentionally.The fact you plain refuse to remove an article you could easily replace with something else shows me that now the only reason you're leaving it up is because you don't want to be seen as doing something nice for a bunch of women ..
Your next comments comparing it to rape truly shows how pathetically juvenile you are Zack .. stick to talking about insects because you know nothing about real life to take an active part in the world in which you live.
I was willing to work with her on this one, my heart still hadn't fully hardened from the barrage of nasty emails.
Why don't you submit a fully written Awful Link of the Day to me and if I like it I'll replace the dead baby website with the one you come up with. You can turn to your dead baby mom action squad for assistance if you want to make it a group project. Have fun with it, and don't be afraid to break out the Elmer's and uncooked macaroni!
Theresa followed up with a final email threatening legal action if her emails are posted today and then threatening to have her husband take care of me. Now that's mature!
As I continued to receive emails I continued to respond.
Image Removed It's like a kangaroo pouch full of sorrow. Soft, wet, slightly cold sorrow.
I'm very saddened and angered by your website's view of parents who have had a baby (or babies) die by making fun of their sorrow. Are you that thick in the head to not even try to understand the grief that follows such a death?
mama to Seth (10), ~Shaine~ (died during birth at 41 wks on 10/27/00), & Bryce (2)
I was still trying to rationalize with them, although I think you can tell that my patience was quickly wearing thin.
Look lady, the Internet is my domain and the dead baby graveyard is your domain. I feel very sorry for you when you're mourning your kids in the dead baby graveyard, but when you dig them up and stick them on the Internet I don't have any qualms about making fun of you or anyone else for doing it. Especially when they turn their private and more than a little unorthodox grieving process into a three ring circus of nightmares. If my website ever shows up in your dead baby graveyard, feel free to make fun of that.
By this point most of these people wanted me dead, wished I was stillborn, or wanted me to have a stillborn baby. Because I made fun of their hideous corpse website. I found the hopes that I have a stillborn child particularly amusing.
I have never wished the death of a child carried to term on anyone. But I now wish it on you. YOU find out what it feels like to go into labor but not bring your baby home. YOU tell the baby's siblings that they'll never get to see their brother. The only pictures we have of our "dead babies" are the ones taken after their birth. Yep, they were dead. And since they were born dead, of course we have pictures of them living. If we want to remember them, then we have to take a picture of them dead.
So someday, I wish this on you. You arrogant bastard.
You hope that a baby dies so I feel bad? That's pretty hardcore. I think you topped me.
She wasn't alone. Many wished the death of my unborn children, some more coherently than others.
one more thing asshole, i had sworn that id never wish this to anybody but i hope you lose a baby so u'd know what is feels like. u must be a real lonley person anyway haha sorry ass , better hope u dont have kids at all
I have had so many miscarriages that at this point I just laugh and flush the toilet.
JUDGE NOT LEST U BE JUDGED.
She uses the term Mr very loosely.
Mr Parsons (and i use the the term Mr very loosely)
How dare you use peoples heartbreak as your own humour... The person you have posted about who is mourning the loss of her babies is a friend of mine, i met her through a charity of wonderful supportive women who havent been blessed with fortune of having a living baby. I myself have lost 4 babies and it tears my heart out everyday.
You disgust me!
I was done playing around.
Your poison womb is making heaven too fucking crowded.
That shut one up at least, but many more continued to email me.
Tell me, have you ever felt grief in your life or do you go around living in a bubble??Do you honestly think this world revolves around you and because you can't feel any emotion , noone else is able to or should.
Remember what you have done when you try to sleep at night, your time will come and it would be funny to see.
You revolting little shit.
Revolting big shit, thank you. A revolting little shit is what she probably posted a memorial to on her website.
Making fun of dead baby websites is how I deal with the loss of my precious angels Connor and Abby (b/d-2/18/02). Who are you to judge how I mourn?! They are in heaven right now beating the everliving shit out of your dead babies because I raised them on the STREETS.
A handful of mothers, a very very tiny minority, found my outlook on the trend of dead baby websites refreshing.
Sit on it!Full Email
My dead baby was born alive and managed to stay that way for five and half months before he died suddenly of unknown causes in 1996.
I laughed my ass off at this stuff! Especially the comment you made about that woman's poison womb filling up heaven! For Christ's sake, after FOUR miscarriages, you'd think the one bint would figure out that maybe she's just not meant to be a mother.
Thanks for the laughs,
One heartless bitch gets nothing but my condolences.
I'm sorry to hear you lost a child. That must have been very difficult. Thank you for not taking pictures of his dead body and posting them on the Internet.
What these mothers fail to understand is that I have dealt with the loss of my precious Connor for more than two years now, I just don't share my grieving process with our readers. Today, that changes. Today, me and Connor are letting it all hang out.
I'd like to start with a poem I wrote for Connor the day after he came into and left this world.
Oh Connor, sweet Connor,
You touched my heart with tiny hands,
You walk through fields of love on tiny feet,
Now you are just a piece of meat.
Oh Connor, sweet Connor,
We celebrate your birthday,
And buy you presents every year,
I keep you in a freezer bag so that we can be near.
Oh Connor, sweet Connor,
We sometimes get you out and play,
To remind us of the day,
Your lifeless remains dropped out of my uterus.
Oh Connor, sweet Connor,
Mommy knows you're in heaven above,
You are a precious angel,
Rather than adopting or moving on you get my love.
Oh Connor, sweet Connor,
If I ever manage to not miscarry a baby,
I promise to make him fight me for attention,
And every time I say his name yours will also get a mention.
Oh Connor, sweet Connor,
I hope you like this MIDI file on your website,
It think it's your favorite and my shambles of a husband thinks I'm right,
This isn't normal love it's special love.
Oh Connor, sweet Connor,
Aloha is Hawaiian for "hello" and "goodbye",
I said "aloha" when you were born as a tear fell from my eye,
"Aloha" again to you my beautiful little guy.
Catch you on the flipside, and hang loose Connor dude.
I miss him dearly. I hope you feel sorry for me about Connor. If not, here are some pictures I have been taking of Connor for the past year and a half.
Connor was born a precious angel. We had to smuggle him home in a special stuffed eggy. Look, Connor is popping out to say hello!
Connor is best buds with J.C. himself. Way to go Connor!
Connor got some adorable stuffed beanie babies for his first Christmas. The bear is his favorite because Connor loves America almost as much as he loved God for robbing him of life inside my womb.
Connor's first birthday was a happy affair. He got even more presents! Look how excited he is!
Connor became very involved in the Democratic Primary. He wanted Wesley Clark to win, he told me so right after I took my pills.
God Bless Connor and God Bless This Mess.
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The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.