A difficult subject to broach, perinatal bereavement is so delicate that it is the subject of a powerful taboo. However, we know today that it is essential to free speech, especially after a painful experience. As October 15 approaches – the World Day of Perinatal Mourning – Fourchette & Bikini has therefore decided to speak out, to help you and your loved ones cope with this tragic event.
Understand the source of silence to raise it
One of the elements that explains such a law of silence is that perinatal bereavement can take very different forms. Indeed, the tragic loss of a child can take place because of a miscarriage, after the ninth month of pregnancy, because of a problem in utero or following a medical termination of pregnancy. Sometimes it is even the parents who have to make the final decision. This is why they are called paranges, a contraction of “parents” and “angel”. But regardless of the situation, such a traumatic event brings constant pain to bereaved parents. Relatives, well aware of this suffering, do not know when or how to approach the subject, for fear of rekindling the affliction. A drama that seems far too immense to be able to talk about it, to find the right words, to help the victims… The problem is that the heartbreak is permanent, and the impossibility of talking about it does not help not to mourn.
Provide psychological support
In the face of such a disaster, medical support is crucial. Yet, midwives, doctors and nurses remain little – if at all – trained to manage this tragic event. While health professionals obviously have to keep an emotional distance, they are the only ones who know what paranges are going through, sometimes the only ones they can talk to about it… Receiving their support and empathy is therefore essential both to obtain recognition of the tragedy, but also to cope with mourning. And the testimonies of the Mamanges show it well: the support of the medical profession is very precious, sometimes the only one that mothers and fathers will receive. But if midwives, nurses and doctors play a vital role – which they often honor admirably – it is also because the necessary psychological support is not offered in all maternity wards. Despite their obvious distress, the paranges find themselves without any outside help.
Recognize the child and surround the paranges
While many people try to break the silence – particularly through social networks or awareness campaigns on perinatal bereavement – the subject remains very little discussed, and this omerta amplifies the suffering of parents. Living an experience that no one can understand, so traumatic it is, they need those around them and society as a whole to recognize their child… because it is also a way of recognizing what they are going through. Pronouncing the name of their child, being able to talk about it with loved ones and health professionals, feeling supported despite being overwhelmed, taking the time to mourn, are so many elements that considerably help paranges to rebuild.
Know the law
Another element also increases the parents’ feeling of helplessness: the difference in treatment and obligation depending on the situations of perinatal bereavement. While they have to manage the emotional tsunami of mourning, they also find themselves lost in the steps to be taken. Administrative support is therefore also very important, and it begins with knowledge of the law depending on the death situation.
In the case of a death following the declaration of birth, the little girl or the little boy is registered in the family record book and the paranges must organize a funeral. If the child was born alive, weighing more than 500 g or after 22 weeks of amenorrhea, but died before his declaration to the civil status, the parents can draw up a birth certificate, as well as a of deceased. Registration in the family record book, declaration to civil status and funerals are also compulsory. In a last situation, when the child is born lifeless, after a pregnancy of 15 weeks of amenorrhea, the parents receive from a health professional a medical certificate of delivery. The latter entails the possibility of making an act of a dead child, and makes it possible to declare the child to the civil status if the parents so wish. This declaration can be made months or even years later, and it is not mandatory.
Do everything not to increase the sentence
The testimonies of mothers are unanimous, one element should change as soon as possible: some mothers are forced to bring their child out on a delivery table, hearing the cries of other babies coming into the world in the distance. This discrepancy leads to even more suffering, the noise of life exacerbating the silence of death. If nothing can lessen the pain, some elements may not increase it. Being able to say goodbye to your dead baby in a completely separate place should therefore be a priority.