As I write this weeks Musings, I have confirmed my hotel in Toronto and as you are reading this, I am in the second day of Perinatal Bereavement Training. This course made available through the Perinatal Bereavement Services of Ontario combines insight, knowledge and experience to promote the skills necessary to interact with families experiencing a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, medical termination, stillbirth or neonatal death. I am taking this course because I want to be the best that I can be. I want to help others as much as I can. As a former Chaplain participant said “It was so helpful to hear directly from parents what helped them, and embarrassing to hear some of the hurtful things we say and do that we thought were helping”.
My sister Beverley lost her first child through miscarriage when she lived in Bermuda. It was Thanksgiving and Jennifer answered the phone…it was Al and I could tell by Jen’s voice that something was wrong. Beverley was a nurse and she worked at the same hospital in Bermuda where she went the night before because she knew that something was wrong with the baby. Bev called a nurse for help because she knew that she shouldn’t be getting up. The nurse looked at her and said “I’m sorry, you lost your baby last night”. Bev said that she looked at Al, and Al looked at her and they cried. And that’s all that I ever knew about the child that my sister dreamed of and had affectionately nicknamed “Baby Pumpkin”.
When I first started working in Funeral Service, it was common for new Moms to stay in a hospital for five days even if her child was stillborn. I can’t imagine how devastating it would have been to share a room with other Moms who were holding their babies. And for some reason, society felt that it would be easier on Moms if stillborn babies were buried before she left the hospital. To this day I hear stories from mothers who don’t know where their babies were buried.
How could we have ever let that happen?