Lay Off Santorum for Grieving His Baby
Post's Charles Lane writes of his own experience mourning in-utero death
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2012 7:09 AM CST
Rick Santorum speaks during a town hall meeting in Keene, NH, on Friday.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Rick Santorum's rise in the political spotlight has generated misguided criticism about the way he and his wife dealt with the death of their baby after only 20 weeks in utero, writes Charles Lane in the Washington Post. Santorum has been called "weird" for holding and caressing the body and taking it home for his other kids to see. Out of bounds, writes Lane, who speaks from first-hand experience. His own child died in utero after 33 weeks.

"My wife held Jonathan for a long while," he writes. "I hesitated to do so. At the urging of the nurses and my wife, I summoned the courage to cradle Jonathan’s body, long enough to get a good look at his face and to muse how much he looked like his brother—then say goodbye. I am glad that my love for him overcame my fear of the dead." It was anything but "weird," and Lane regrets he didn't let his 6-year-old son see the body to help him understand. "My plea is for a little more respect regarding the way people deal with loss, and a little more maturity about physical contact with the dead. If that puts me in sympathy, for a moment, with this right-wing politician, so be it."