Just think of the midwifery care you can provide to patients…

This post that popped up in my email reminded me very much of the conversation started on one of my Sunday Synopsis’s in the comments. I’ll be honest: I haven’t read the whole thing- and I’m not sure everything resonates with me, because of of the religious aspect.  But it falls under the “things not to say to the babylost” category. I don’t bring it up to start more conversation on the topic, but instead I wanted to share one point that hit me-

3. “Just think of the ministry you can have someday to parents who have lost children.” No. At least not the ministry you’re thinking. That would require me to say that God is somehow in this for them and I happen to know that’s not helpful. Plus, I don’t want that ministry. I’ve spent twenty years of my life trying to serve God full time.  I’ve put every major decision of my life through “God’s will” as a filter, including setting aside life dreams for myself.  All of the big things I’ve tried to do for him have been heartbreak for me.  I think I’m done with ministry at this point. – See more at: http://www.calebwilde.com/2015/01/23-spiritualized-comfort-cliches-to-avoid-when-a-child-dies-3/#sthash.q30SIzFp.dpuf

I have received similar comments that irk me just a bit. I am not religious and therefor not providing ministry, but I am a midwife and provide care. It could have easily read “Just think of the good midwifery care you can provide to patients going through loss.

Yes. Now that I’ve experienced loss myself, I do think I provide even better care to women as they experience their own- from infertility to miscarriage to stillbirth and neonatal loss. I have learned so much and become a resource for others in my medical community. I am unafraid (less afraid?) to help support my patients through their grief.

BUT, it does not make me feel better about my own baby dying. I like to think I gave decent care before- I might even have a few patients who could vouch for me on that. And even if I didn’t, frankly, I’d rather be a crappy midwife with a living child that a super compassionate midwife with a dead one.   The comment implies that I needed my daughter to die so I could grow personally and professionally. I know plenty of other care providers who could use similar growth, but I don’t wish a dead child on them.

I can see how Mabel’s death has made me a better midwife in some ways, but I don’t really need anyone to point it out or use that to make me feel better. It invalidates some of my grief. Yes, I think I show much more compassion to my babyloss patients, but it was a crummy journey to get there. I would have preferred to avoid it, thank you.

10 thoughts on “Just think of the midwifery care you can provide to patients…

  1. I’ve gotten, “Just think how this is drawing you and Kevin together, and strengthening your marriage.” Really? Because this shit can destroy marriages. This shit destroys people. Even really in tune couples won’t always be on the same page with grief, and that is unimaginably hard. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not worried about my marriage. I believe we will make it through just fine, because we already had a strong partnership. We still have to work on preserving our marriage through this though, because if this destroys either one of us, it destroys both of us. And the heartbreaking sight of my husband in tears is an unbelievably high price to pay for the supposed silver lining being offered to me with this phrase. You know what else would strengthen our marriage? Raising a child together.

    • I’ve been told similar. That now my husband and I are so close and in tune with one another. I’m pretty sure that I can think of more positive ways that that can happen.

    • Wow! People actually think that the death of a child automatically brings a couple together?? Yikes! Many divorces happen after the death of a child, so it shows these people are not paying attention. 😦 We’ve had the opposite response, actually. Several people in mentoring positions who have talked with us have pointed out that our relationship is probably strained from the death of our child, but we have grown closer and stronger (which is a surprise to them). So it’s not just heartless that they say that to you–it’s ignoring the real issue out there that the death of a child is DEVASTATING to a relationship. I hope you and your Kevin (I have one, too) can cling tightly to each other through the heartbreak!

      • it’s amazing how we can get such contradictory comments from different people. I’m glad that you have some people who recognize how hard it could be on a marriage. that is a form of good support!

    • that’s so true. I remember getting those comments early on- “you’re relationship is so good…” type things. I think I even countered once, “I hope we’ll be ok, we’re still so young in our marriage.” I totally agree- raising a child together would totally strengthen our marriage!

  2. Thank you for saying that for me. I was struggling with that just this morning. The silver lining is definitely not worth our babies’ lives, its just an outcome. These two are NOT the same.

  3. Reading through this post was so cathartic. I find that people often double-down on their comments when I point out that they aren’t really applicable… ie. “you NEED TO KNOW that God has a plan”, “you just have to trust”, “thankfulness is all we have”, “faith got me through xyz (difficult time period with positive, non-tragic outcome) and it’s what you need to get you through this.” I’m not religious, so I tend to brush all those conversations off — but reading that someone who is religious can face identical issues makes me feel a bit more justified in my resistance to platitudes and my confusion about the comments (and commands) that people imagine will be comforting.

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