Rotary service allows parents to mourn their lost children
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.