Babies, Bereavement, Birth, Compassion, Dying, Grieving, Helping others, Hospital, Human kindness, Kindness, Labour , birth, MatExp, Midwife, Midwifery, Midwifery and birth, New parents, Newborn, NHS, Obstetrics, Patient care, Post traumatic stress disorder, Student Midwives, Women's health, Women's rights, Working from the heart

A Midwife’s heart and caring for families through stillbirth ❤️

This is a very difficult blog to write . Yesterday someone highlighted a tweet to me about midwives and how they deal with the impact of caring for a family who may have to face the loss of a baby . It was to do with midwives knitting hats for stillborn babies .

I have been a Midwife to many women whilst they birth their baby who has died before labour starts . It broke my heart each time I cared for these families. However I saw the fact that I was allocated to care for them as nothing but a true privilege and joy . I wanted to make the moments they had with their precious child special , full of love and memories . I helped them take the best photos . assisted them through washing their babies and also knew that I had to give them time to grieve and to communicate to them through deeds not words that I was “with them” totally . I cried with them , held them whilst they sobbed , even laughed with them – which may sound strange but it’s true . I cooked for them , made endless pots of tea and I washed their feet . I saw in these women & men a strength that can’t be put into words on a blog . I recall walking a couple through a labour ward to a bathroom with their stillborn son , so they could all be together in the bathroom whilst the mother took a bath – they insisted I sat with them ,so I did – on the bathroom floor – I know these memories are as special to them as they are to me.

Midwives do not routinely get counselling post events like this – fire workers and police staff do so is the NHS missing a clue ?

In 2006 I reflected on an incident at work where a woman came in to be induced and when I put her on the CTG monitor, we discovered that her darling son was not for this world . I was devastated and had to arrange childcare so that I could stay with the woman & her husband post my 21.00 shift finish . Another thing. that also hit me hard was that the friend I asked to help me with my young family had no qualms about saying yes – I later found out that the reason was that she had given birth to a stillborn son many years before (she told me that she felt by helping me she was helping the parents of the stillborn baby ).

As I left the couple to go home much later , I wept from sadness for them and their empty arms as well as emotional exhaustion and was told not to cry by a senior member of staff. I couldn’t go into work the next day .

What transpired was an article about my reflection by Rosemary Mander . The mother became a friend of mine & I helped her with a SANDS event – I went to her sons funeral and this connection helped me to cope as much as it did her to have someone who saw her son like she did – as a beautiful boy .

It’s so important that we see our role as supporting parents through sadness & also happiness . The midwives who choose to knit hats are simply trying their best – they might not know what else to do – it’s s coping mechanism. You can’t train for events like these just like parents can’t prepare for this to happen to them .

I’d like to thank Rosemary Mander for writing around my reflection in 2006 , the mum & dad of the darling son that was born asleep for giving consent to publish my reflection all those years ago (you gave me the courage to show my emotions to other parents) and also to my friend for her kindness in caring for my family whilst I stayed with the family ❤️

Also thanks to @kwelsh1 for showing me this powerful sculpture by Albert Gyorgi called “Melancholy ”

it sums up how any parent who loses a child must feel

Bereavement, Courage, Grieving, Human rights, Kindness, Learning, Media, NHS, Post traumatic stress disorder, Respect, Women's rights

Aiming and succeeding – the journey of others  

Today I’ve been reading a lot on the Internet and twitter about “The Secret” which is a dramatisation of real events that took place in Northern Ireland in 1991  -a tragedy that totally disrupted and still continues to affect the families of the victims . 

The courageous daughter of Lesley Howell (Lauren Bradford) tried her best to stop a programme going ahead . This programme has been advertised and aired on ITV as a “drama”. The drama is based on a tragic event that tore through the hearts of the families involved as well as their respective families and their friends . Lauren decided to make her own voice as well as others heard and wrote an outstanding, impactful letter to The Guardian about why she disagreed with the “drama” and the unforeseen effect of it being on aired on TV  would cause . The letter is  HERE

I feel that Lauren has written this letter to ROAR for her own mother  Lesley , a wonderful, strong, kind   and giving mother. Lesley’s voice was silenced by murder and so she cannot speak for herself about her life or how much her treasured children meant to her . Much more than this however Lauren has given other victims the chance to see that they too CAN  and MUST  speak out   – so in writing her wonderful letter she will have helped others to realise that their voices WILL  be heard . The media must no longer hold the power of ‘story telling the lives of others’  in order to make money or gain viewers or readers, they must realise that they don’t know the story so therefore it will never belong to them -it’s not their story after all is it?

Speaking out as a victim must be very difficult – which newspaper does a victim approach ?  Which TV company ? How does a victim ensure that their views enable others to empathise with their true story? Here’s how – be like Lauren   – write with truth and dignity in your heart. 

I am so immensely proud of Lauren  because through her words and thoughts she is actually helping others who may not be able to speak out to also have their voices heard . In addition to this Lauren is encouraging us all to think differently about how cases are reported and written about . How can it be right that a person can actually make money from someone else’s tragedy ? 

Thank you for reading and please leave your thoughts and comments on Lauren’s article . This will to help the media see there are two sides to every story .
❤️Jenny❤️