Parents often grieve the loss of a child in private; some by choice, others because they want to avoid painful comments and stigma from those who don't understand their pain.
Reality star Jamie Otis understands this feeling, though she's hoping to shed that stigma with a heartbreaking Instragram photo she posted in honor of October's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Otis and husband Doug Hehner, who met (and married) on the reality show Married at First Sight, lost their son Johnathan Edward in July at just 16 weeks.
"I realize there is a great stigma associated with sharing photos of your baby who was born too early and has already gone to heaven so I want to say sorry if this offends you," Otis captioned the black-and-white photo that shows the couple tenderly cradling their tiny son. "However, if there's one thing my husband has taught me it's this: 'Don't live life trying NOT to offend anyone and trying to please everyone,'" she continued.
Otis often blogs about her experience, hoping that her and Doug's willingness to share will help educate people and inspire others to express their sadness and pain in ways that are helpful to them, even if it makes others uncomfortable. The Instagram post also demonstrates how important it is for couples to support each other during traumatic times.
"I hope by me sharing my sweet boy, Johnny (as Doug and I call him)," she wrote, "you'll realize that he's a harmless, helpless baby who deserves to be remembered, not hidden away because his image may offend someone."