Education > Why help bereaved parents?

By Kara L.C. Jones
KotaPress Editor

Well-meaning friends, family, peers, and co-workers still ask me this question sometimes. They wonder why I would cling to the grief world when there is so much more I could do with my "writing and artistic talent" to lead a "much happier life." What is the saying about, "If there is one suffering person, I cannot be happy and pretend they do not exist." ??? The suffering of other bereaved parents continues to impact me everyday. Their experiences influence my own experiences of grief and life after the death of a child. And I cannot ignore them.

If you heard some of their stories, you would not be able to ignore them either. But unfortunately, our mass media does not always want to offer the "real stories" because they don't "sell like sunshine" -- so it is up to us in the alternative media to share the "real stories" with you.

Let me tell you of one that I just heard this week. Names will not be used and a few of the details changed, so as to protect this newly bereaved mom's privacy:

A woman recently found out she has a terminal illness. She was also pregnant. And alone. She went into labor at 5 months. She was checked into a hospital where the staff knew that the baby was being born so early that there was no way they could save him/her after birth. So they left this mother alone in a room to give birth. Don't kid yourself. SHE GAVE BIRTH -- to a fully formed baby, umbilical cord, and placenta. In fact, her child's heart was still beating when born. And when she called out for help, do you think anyone bothered to come and comfort her? To clean and wrap her child with dignity and help her hold and love her child? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She was left alone until the medical staff was sure the child was dead. Hello?! Nothing like adding to trauma, aye?

Then after all was said and done, when the woman told the hospital that she could not afford to pay for a burial or cremation for her child, do you think they offered her help? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They told her they would mass cremate "the remains" when the time came. Nice, huh? So the woman reached out for local grief support. THANK THE GODDESS ABOVE!!! The support group was able to help her find resources to pay for a proper cremation and urn for her child. Where did they find that resource? Right here in our little Loss Journal.

Now, I know I am just one insignificant writer in this huge bucket of a universe. But how humbled and grateful am I to the powers that be in the universe for inspiring me to offer that article about funeral resources?!!!

That woman is why I continue to do this.

AND ALL SOCIAL WORKERS, HOSPITAL CARE GIVERS, AND MATERNITY WARD WORKERS SHOULD HAVE THE SAME ETHICAL AND MORAL SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY WHEN IT COMES TO BEREAVED PARENTS. If you are in those lines of work and you DON'T feel that way, THEN GET ANOTHER LINE OF WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How dare any of you let this woman suffer alone like that? It's unforgivable. And totally irresponsible.

There is no shortage of materials available out there for learning how to take up your ethical and moral responsibility to living human beings who are suffering after the death of a child. We should all be more aware of this in today's day and age when we are so tied up in wars where children are dying everyday. When the troops come home minus many members who originally went over to the war in the first place, how are you going to help their families, friends, and loved ones as they live life after the death of that person? And as we re-build the world in the capitalistic image, how are you going to take responsibility for offering grief support to people who have lost their children, parents, loved ones AND their entire cities, homes, ways of life? We can offer them something better, huh? How exactly are we going to do that when we can't even give comfort to a woman giving premature birth to her child in a hospital in a large, bustling U.S. city?

Educate yourself, people.
If one of us is suffering, we are all to blame.
I heard a quote this morning that sums it up for me:
The peace movement is not born out of guilt. It is born from grief.

There's a difference. And if you have any sensitivity in you at all, please educate yourself to help people.

Some articles and resources recently offered:

If you are a caregiver or professional in the grief support field - MISS Foundation Resources

If you are in the helping field, get yourself to this MISS Passages Conference!

Helping Bereaved Children - Resources from the MISS Foundation

Talking with Families about Death from Mister Rogers Neighborhood/FCI

Mister Rogers Helped Families Talk about Concerns of Tragic News Reports and War

Losing Layla by Vanessa Gorman

I Hate This! (a play without the baby)

Diana Sugg Wins Pulizer After Writing Story on Stillbirth

Military Wives Story by Julia Smyth
-Includes stats about the pregnant women whose solider husbands have already died and will not be coming home for their babies' births at all!!

City Memorial for Babies Who Have Died


About the Author

Kara is the Grief Coach & heARTist who founded

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