Rituals

There is no space for a child who was born without life in our society. It doesn't matter if it dies after 3 days, 3 months or during the childbirth. It’s really difficult for me to understand why some deaths are more important than others. Why do we have the right to cry for some but not for others? Where is the difference? Didn't we love them enough? Do we not miss them? Did we not wish them?

 

In Spain, by the law, your child must be alive for more than 24 Hours to be considered a family member. If it’s less or he/she was born without life, then doesn't exist legally. This decision can make a lot of pain to those families who just lost a really loved person and no one accepts it as part of their families.  

There are not rituals if something goes wrong to allow us to say goodbye, to release the pain. We can't include our baby as a member of our family, we can't take his body to make a funeral, and sometimes neither we can have him in our arms for a moment, but this is luckily improving slowly. From my point of view it’s a really cruel and insensible part of our society that should be changed. They don't realize that allowing us to remember, to have a picture of our lovely baby, to keep his/her soft skin touch ours helps us to let them go.

 

We are afraid of suffering, we hide it, and we look to other side to not face it. Professionals who are next to us are the first who don't want to face it, who don't realize how important is for a family to respect the smallest member, with the same right as if would be alive. Why not?

 

But what we don't know, it’s how important is to take time to go through this intense, deep and heartbreaking experience. Whether we like it or not, we need to go through it. If we don't do it in the moment, we will eventually have to. We lost a baby, a child, our lovely holly child. We deserve to cry about it, to be angry, sad, frustrated, nostalgic... whatever we need is absolutely acceptable.

 

To many it helps if you keep something you have from them. Pregnancy test, first picture from ultrasound, umbilical cord, first wool socks grandma knitted. We don't need to hide everything like they never existed, because we know they did, and they will always be a part of us. It doesn't matter if people around us understand or not, we know what we need and why we need to do it. But it is a decision of every individual if he wants to keep some things and it also depends on the age of a child we have lost.

 

Even if our society doesn’t give us enough tools to release it, we can still do it by ourselves. Usually elements of nature: water, air, fire or soil are useful to choose how we want to let them go. We can find a special place: mountains, forest, sea, our own house. Wherever we feel is the right place. I’m certain you are already thinking about the proper place which you would like to do it while reading these sentences.

We can write something on a paper, saying whatever we like, apologizing, saying goodbye... burn it and allow it that air takes it away. Or take the ashes of that paper and bring it to a special place, where we will be able to visit it. Pray with a candle, burn the paper and use the ashes. There are many options. Here I just give you some of them so you can have an idea what to do.

 

But the most important is that you realize it’s natural to be sad; we deserve to be, we deserve to say goodbye, we deserve to miss them sometimes. They were (are) our children, and they will always be. They have touched our hearts and no one can change that. We have to allow us to mourn them, it doesn't matter how long it takes and what people around tells us. We need to do what we need to, and nobody can tell us what is right or not.

 

Sometimes those feelings appear again, even having done the goodbye rituals in the past and we have the need to repeat them. It feels like not everything is said or done. It’s normal and it’s ok to follow our feelings and to do what we need. Specifically in special moments like first year of the event, or date on which they should have been born, etc.

 

Whatever we need is right. Let's respect our feelings and our souls.

 

 

_________________

References:

  • Christiane Northrup. "Women's bodies, women's wisdom". Bantam Books, New York, 1994.

  • Richard Bandler y John Grinder, "La estructura de la magia. Lenguaje y terapia". Cuatro Vientros, Santiago de Chile, 1998.

  • M. Ángeles Claramunt, Mónica Álvarez, Rosa Jové y Emilio Santos. "La cuna vacia". La esfera de los libros, S.L., 2009

  • Text of different woman explaining their experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Loreto Fernández Rodríguez

 

 

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