“AT LAST” I cry ,and what a shame that it is only through her personal tragedy and experience that the plight of many bereaved parents might now be acknowledged. Lets hope her calls for changes and more support doesn’t fall on deaf ears.In the UK ,we believe there is a vast area of training that needs to be undertaken and understanding enhanced within all industries and services ,not only those immediately connected to healthcare and bereavement services.” Alex James
This is taken from When A Child Dies a chapter in our free e book
Living With Bereavement
The book was written and published several years ago, today in the UK news report a female MP calls for more support for bereaved parents.
Infant Death “‘My baby was always happy and contented …….she slept. I blame myself, although the hospital says it wasn’t my fault but I should have known something was wrong…. why didn’t I know? I read about other mothers who say things like they just knew. I keep thinking about her lying there, dying all alone and I never comforted her. It is so painful. I hate myself. I feel so lost, my world has changed forever. I can’t talk about her. Sometimes I think the hospital will call me to go and get her, it’s been a mistake, and she’s ok. I look for her in other people’s prams ……. I still want to buy her things. I think other people think I did something wrong ….. I think I did something wrong. The emergency service came, the police came and I felt they thought I’d caused it. My husband says he knows it isn’t my fault but I think he is only saying that, I go over it bit by bit I think about everything all the time but there isn’t an answer. I don’t want to be with other people’s babies in case something happens, and I feel envious of others too. So jealous – I think why couldn’t it have happened to you? I don’t like myself for thinking that. I want to talk about it over and over, but other people tell me not to keep doing it to myself …….. they don’t understand, they just think they do. This has crucified me …… I feel so alone and empty” This mother believed that she had neglected her daughter, pleased to have a cup of tea before tending her child and then overwhelming guilt that she didn’t check her child more closely and thoughts that if she were a ‘good mother‘ she might have known something was wrong. Her failure for not saving ,or protecting her daughter. Her guilt for the times that she had left her baby crying, for the times she’d felt over tired and found mothering hard work. She was re-examining every action to try to discover what she did wrong and she needed to say all this and for it to be heard and validated. ‘Don’t keep doing this to yourself’, ‘Don’t keep going over it’, ‘Don’t dwell on it’, ‘It isn’t your fault’, ‘You couldn’t know ‘ – statements that are all so kindly meant and often said, with the best intentions in the world, to those who are experiencing this trauma. It is very difficult to look and to really see, to listen and to really hear and not offer a solution, for there is no solution or easy way through the pain. Acknowledging the pain, being able and willing to hear the story time and time again without seeking to give advice or to offer consolation are not the easiest ways of helping the bereaved mother, but giving her your presence and support at this time is the most valuable and enabling assistance you can offer. You cannot prevent a mother from blaming herself for the death of her child by telling her so. Let her acknowledge her feelings, be present while she voices her thoughts and fears again and again so that she herself can hear them and begin, very slowly, to put them into some semblance of understanding until eventually finding her own way through these paths of pain and self-reproach.