In 2 hours, I will go to collect Brendan Bjorn from Crumlin hospital. It’s 1 day shy of 10 weeks in hospital. While I sat here eating my morning toast with marmalade and sipping coffee, I read this article by Breda O’Brien out today in the Irish Times. I then watched the related video clip of TD Kate O’Connell speaking in the Dail. Finally, I then read the National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss statement on the HSE website. I would encourage anyone reading this to take the time to read and view those links as well.
To say I’m stunned is an understatement.
I write this piece as a woman who has experienced 5 miscarriages, one of which ended up in a D & C because the 12 week old (gestational age) baby girl with Down Syndrome didn’t pass naturally after her heart had stopped inside the womb.
I write this piece as a woman who has spent the last 14 plus years of my life caring for the very complex medical needs of my severely disabled eldest son, who has a life-limiting condition.
Watching the clip of TD Kate O’Connell this morning filled me with both sadness and anger as I listened to her ridicule the intended good works of having a National Bereavement Care program following pregnancy loss or the diagnosis of a baby with a life-limiting condition.
How dare she.
How dare she equate those wraparound support services and perinatal hospice to the horrific laundries of days past in Ireland. First of all, she should know that a perinatal hospice is not a physical place, but is the wraparound hospice support services. She should know that. As she then went on about her 3 children and her husband, she asked who would mind her 3 children at home if she was in a crisis pregnancy. Did she not just answer her own question with mention of her husband? This I say as a lone parent who has just spent 10 weeks trying to care for 2 boys in 2 different counties.
If anything, families like mine and families experiencing the heartbreaking news that their baby will not survive or will have a life-limiting illness need more wraparound supports! No matter where you, the reader, stand on the issue of termination of pregnancy, there is absolutely no excuse for not supporting these types of services – and in fact, for not supporting an increase in these types of services which will help families get through what is likely to be one of the most painful experiences of their life…that of losing a beloved child.
Now, on with my day to collect my precious son and then continue caring for him 24/7 without any wraparound support services.