Loss and Bereavement in Childbirth Essay

“Grief, bereavement, mourning, and loss: the merest of words, without effect or consequence until such time that their association, their meaning, become personal in spirit and condition. At that moment, when beset by the darkest of all darkness, we require no dictionary, no scientific study, no clinician’s report, no psychiatric or psychological treatise, but the hand of love and the heart of compassion to lovingly assist us through that blackest night. It is neither a journey to be taken lightly nor willingly, yet an unavoidable path that we each must travel; a path that we each must follow: either alone, or with God.”

In childbirth today the obstetrician usually stands centre-stage. The midwife is invisible. Yet historically, ever since the first recorded accounts of birth midwives have had the main responsibility for giving care before during and after the baby is born, and in many societies today the health of most mothers and new-born babies still depends on midwives.

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Childbirth should not be a political issue, but it has become one in terms of home birth using a midwife versus having a baby in hospital with the best in technology available if needed.

All those suffering bereavement subsequent to perinatal loss, miscarriage or termination of a pregnancy require particular care and support from their caregivers. Although each person’s grief experience is different, in all grief, there is a universal sameness. In this extraordinary program, parents who have endured neonatal death share their thoughts and insights—hoping that their heart-felt testimonials will help other parents who are experiencing a similar loss. Guidelines for all staff and training should be an important aspect of local agreed policy and include the many aspects of grieving, burial or cremation arrangements, postmortem, good communication and appropriate referral for advice in future pregnancies, or with contraception.

 

 

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