Have you had a miscarriage or stillbirth?
Do you need to share your feelings?
Come and talk or listen to others who have had a similar experience. We have booklets ‘Babies Who Live Only In Our Hearts’ available for you.
Our support group for women and their families meet every third Thursday of every month 5.30- 700pm. All are welcome; sessions are free of cost.
On several occasions, Flori Chai Hong and myself (Julie Gouveia Ferguson) were invited by the counselor support department at Mt. Hope Maternity Hospital to address groups of women and their loved ones, who have experienced the loss of their baby.
We were asked to specifically address grief with regards to infant loss. We were greeted with mothers at varying stages of grieving for their loss. A few were accompanied but the majority came by themselves, for various reasons. Some, because they did not want to ask anyone to accompany them for fear of being chastised and ridiculed. Others came out of sheer desperation, severe depression, and complete despair.
The sessions began with a short prayer followed by a moment of silence, As expected, Flori and I had to begin the discussions as everyone sat in silence, some silently crying, many simply staring at the floor. Although we were well prepared with information and statisics, we put away our notes, and just began to speak about our experiences.
Then the interaction began with the many different feelings flooding everyone present, all stemming from the pain of loss, confusion as to why, and to complicate matters, the physical manifestations of this pain.
Afterwards, all were encouraged to remain and participate in individual discussions and the majority did. What it blatantly showed us, was the desperate need for help, of any kind, to our mothers during this time of loss. While each mother’s experience was entirely different, the pain was so very clearly evident. It showed us that the issues remain the same, whether it is at the group sessions we have held at Mamatoto, or in the hospitals.
Our healthcare system in Trinidad & Tobago is inadequate, particularly with regards to the care and service provided to mothers (and their families) who have experienced a loss. Our caregivers need to be trained in the area of loss, and be mindful that their words and actions, even while they try to be comforting, in many instances actually can do more harm.
While space is clearly a challenge in many of our hospitals, the physical aspects of placing a mother who has just lost her child, adjacent to, or as is frequently the case, in the very same room filled with nursing mothers and crying babies is cruel and unusual.
It was indeed a privilege to be able to attend these sessions, and we hope to be invited to many more.
Julie Gouveia Ferguson