Ro­tary ser­vice al­lows par­ents to mourn their lost chil­dren

Kalgoorlie Miner - - OPINION - The Revd Dr El­iz­a­beth J Smith, Kal­go­or­lie

Call the Mid­wife is a feel-good show that has be­come a great hit.

It’s about moth­ers in over­crowded slums in the 1950s, and the mid­wives who de­liv­ered their ba­bies.

Some of the mid­wives are feisty Angli­can nuns — women of faith who never had ba­bies them­selves, but they care for ev­ery­one on their patch with common sense and com­pas­sion.

Call the Mid­wife is not all roses and ro­mance.

There are bat­tered wives, there is post-natal de­pres­sion, and some­times there are deaths.

Moth­ers and fa­thers in Aus­tralia to­day also lose ba­bies to still­birth, mis­car­riage, SIDS or child­hood ill­ness or ac­ci­dent.

Per­haps some were sur­rounded by the same prac­ti­cal love as the TV show presents.

But there are oth­ers whose grief is shut down, ban­ished or be­lit­tled.

Fam­ily and friends don’t know what to say.

They may not even have known about a preg­nancy that ended in mis­car­riage.

Sup­pos­edly com­fort­ing cliches are easy to say, but can make the hurt worse.

For a long time, par­ents did not even re­ceive the body of their baby to say goodbye and ex­press their love and grief. Un­til 1995, my church, the Angli­can Church of Aus­tralia, didn’t even have a spe­cial fu­neral ser­vice for young chil­dren who died, let alone for ba­bies. Now we have both. Hos­pi­tals, too, have learnt a lot about how to help.

But what about moth­ers and fa­thers who lost ba­bies or chil­dren in the bad old days?

At this time of year, the sad­ness can be par­tic­u­larly acute.

The Ro­tary Club of Han­nans is spon­sor­ing a Fam­ily Re­mem­brance Day be­fore Christ­mas.

The event will be in the Ro­tary Peace Park on Du­gan Street at 5.45pm on Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 18.

Ev­ery­one is in­vited to bring their mem­o­ries of chil­dren who have died.

Je­sus Christ did not say “win­ners are grinners” or “ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son.”

In­stead, he said “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be com­forted”.

This event is a chance to go pub­lic, gen­tly, with what has of­ten been a very pri­vate grief.

And when we are free to mourn, com­fort and peace can follow.

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