During an appearance on Fox News, Colmes said “Once they get a hold of the crazy things he’s said and done like taking his two-hour old baby who died right after childbirth home and played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real.”
Karen Santorum wrote about the life and death of her baby boy in the book, Letters to Gabriel.
Gabriel Michael Santorum was born at 12:45 AM on Friday, October 11, 1996. He was a beautiful boy. He did not give a cry or open his tiny eyes. We baptized him, bundled him, and held him ever so close. We sang to him, held his little hands and kissed him. Gabriel lived for two hours. In those two hours something simple but profound happened. Rick and I became parents to a newborn baby and welcomed him into our family. That was all....but it was everything. His life was so brief, yet his impact so great. In two hours we experienced a lifetime of emotions. Love, sorrow, regret, joy----all were packed into that brief span. To have rejected that experience would have been to reject life itself.
From the New York Times:
Rick and Karen Santorum would not let the morgue take the corpse of their newborn; they slept that night in the hospital with their lifeless baby between them. The next day, they took him home. ''Your siblings could not have been more excited about you!'' Karen writes in the book, which takes the form of letters to Gabriel, mostly while he is in utero. ''Elizabeth and Johnny held you with so much love and tenderness. Elizabeth proudly announced to everyone as she cuddled you, 'This is my baby brother, Gabriel; he is an angel.' ''
Colmes is an insensitive clod.
We have a weird way of dealing with birth and death in this country. For most people, both big events happen in an institution and is handled semi-privately. We are uncomfortable with both and yet they are both major parts of living. Over the past 10 years or so that seems to be changing somewhat - you can watch childbirth on TV's the Learning Channel, and some people even post their childbirths on Youtube.
But you won't find death so openly shared. And if the death is of a newborn or pre-term child, some people are strongly offended. There doesn't seem to be a right or a wrong response to these things. The Santorum's loved their child. As parents, they thought it was in the best interest of their family that their children see the body of their brother and have a chance to grieve. That can be a great blessing and an effective way to say good bye and to start the healing process.
Another Christian family shot a video of how they shared their stillborn daughter with their other children. I think it's pretty clear that while stillbirth is always a sad occasion, the bringing together of family to see the baby and grieve together can be a very beautiful thing.