‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’: Light your can­dle Oct. 15

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Viewpoints - BY TRACY BOWIE

Le­gend has it that Ernest Hem­ing­way won a bet when he stated he could write a novel in only six words. Those were his sub­mis­sion. Whether that story is fic­tion or not, for one in four fam­i­lies, the re­al­ity at the end of a preg­nancy is all too tragic.

The death of a baby pro­foundly af­fects par­ents, grand­par­ents and sib­lings. Usu­ally, there is no out­let or space for them to ex­press their grief or sad­ness, as so­ci­ety of­ten avoids talk­ing about the death of a child. We don’t even have a word for it in the English lan­guage.

We rec­og­nize chil­dren with­out par­ents as or­phans and los­ing one’s spouse cre­ates a widow(er). There are many the­o­ries as to why this is, sev­eral in­volv­ing the dis­heart­en­ing re­al­ity that it is some­thing that has been so preva­lent in years past that it’s com­mon­al­ity meant it re­quired no term.

In Canada, first trimester mis­car­riages oc­cur with 15 to 30% of preg­nan­cies. Hav­ing more than two con­sec­u­tive mis­car­riages low­ers the chance of a suc­cess­ful preg­nancy. All of us likely know at least one fam­ily who have had this ex­pe­ri­ence, whether we re­al­ize it or not. It is help­ful to un­der­stand what you should and should not say and do to show your con­sid­er­a­tion. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that this is a case of loss of ex­pec­ta­tion, of hope, and of a vi­sion of the fu­ture.

As with all losses, ac­knowl­edg­ing the pain is cru­cial. Show love and sup­port to both griev­ing par­ents, tak­ing care to re­call that be­cause this is also a phys­i­cal loss for the mother there may be ad­di­tional con­se­quences to her health, and there is a father in mourn­ing as well.

Un­so­licited ad­vice, no mat­ter how well in­tended, min­i­mizes the pain and the ex­pe­ri­ence. Things such as “At least you know you can get preg­nant.”, “It hap­pened for a rea­son.” or “You can have an­other one.” are said with the aim of mak­ing the par­ents feel bet­ter, but in re­al­ity, do the op­po­site. They wanted THIS baby, had en­vi­sioned a fu­ture in which THIS baby were al­ready a part.

Par­ents want to share the ex­pe­ri­ence and deal with the sor­row now. Do of­fer to help any way pos­si­ble. De­pend­ing on the close­ness of your re­la­tion­ship, this could be any­thing from help­ing with house­work to go­ing along to doc­tors ap­point­ments.

Oc­to­ber 15 is rec­og­nized as Preg­nancy and In­fant Loss Aware­ness Day in sev­eral prov­inces, in­clud­ing Saskatchewan, to hon­our and re­mem­ber all ba­bies who died too soon. Ev­ery­one is in­vited to show their sup­port by tak­ing part in the In­ter­na­tional Wave of Light – peo­ple will light can­dles for one hour at 7 p.m. lo­cal time which will form a con­tin­u­ous wave of light around the globe.

(Tracy Bowie is from The Good Foun­da­tion Inc based in Maple Creek)

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