Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Fleetingness of Life

“Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.”
William Goldman
The Princess Bride

This month has been a difficult one for me but not as difficult as those who have been in my care. When I tell people that I am a midwife their response is often “Oh what a lovely job!” The reason for that of course is usually that they have either not had children, or had uncomplicated pregnancy and deliveries. In this day and age and in most countries we are very lucky to have the benefit of modern maternity services. It is rare nowadays for things to go badly wrong that the worst happens and people often forget that women still become seriously ill and yes, lose their lives when having a baby. The other thing that people never think about is sadly even more common; losing a baby.

This month has brought that very clearly into my focus as I personally cared for two couples who lost their baby and my colleagues looked after another three. At times like these I question why I do what I do...because as you see, it’s not always a lovely job. I have to do things that make me very uncomfortable and are upsetting and while I’m in the moment, I hate every second of it. I feel sorry for myself in private and I grieve along with the parents. While I take handprints and footprints and pictures I often cry. But I do it. Because I am responsible for the only thing these parents are going to take home from the hospital. Every single thing that I do matters to them. They remember it and are grateful for it in a way that those who take a healthy baby home will hopefully never understand.

At the end of the day my goal is to make this horrible event as easy as possible and to send them home with some measure of peace. Occasionally I get a card telling me that I did that and those mean more to me than any other card or gift I receive. I wanted to take a moment today to pay tribute to those mothers and fathers who have been there. Please take a moment today to give a thought or a prayer or donate to a charity for those in this situation. In the UK most don’t realise that it is charities like SANDS and SIMBA who furnish ‘home away from home’ rooms and provide memory boxes, counselling and other vital services. If you knit then think about making small hats and cardigans or blankets to donate to your local maternity hospital. People often think of donating to the Neonatal Units but never of the little souls who don’t make it there. You could help someone like me give a little peace.

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
Kabir (1440-1518)




Tam said...

*sniffle* A beautiful post and I'll think of those mothers on this Mothers Day who didn't get to celebrate how they had hoped. Thank you for being one of the people who helps, even when it's so difficult.

Cait Miller said...

Thanks for reading it Tam, I just felt it needed to be said.

Lynn LaFleur said...

A very touching and sad post, Cait. I know you help bring new life into the world. I never considered how some of those little lives don't make it.


Tara Nina said...

Cait, I never thought of this side of the picture. You are a kind soul and do your job well. I cry for you and the parents of those tiny souls that don't make it. But I smile right along with you for every bundle you deliver that takes that first breath and grows. You've got a gift Cait --Hell, you are a gift. For women everywhere, thank you for being the wonderful, caring person you are. Keep doing what you do best. You and your colleagues are needed.

Ruby Storm said...

Cait - I thought your post was very appropriate for Mother's Day. Reading it last night brought tears to my eyes! Kels and I visited with our neighbors and friends today. I've been friends with the mother, Donna, since I was 12 years old. Her daughter, Nikki, was in Kels's class and they've been friends since we adopted Kels. It was so wonderful to visit them this year. Nikki was experiencing her first mother's day! What's so wonderful about it is that Nikki first had to go through a devistating delivery of a stillborn three years ago. Here was a family so excited about the birth of their first son and first grandson. The day she went to the hospital to be induced, it was discovered that the baby died sometime that day. The family gathered at the hospital, Nikki delivered and they all had a chance to hold Gavin, take pictures and say their goodbyes. It was a horrible time. Now she has a new little baby and life for them is so happy! No one ever thinks about the baby's gone and what the families go through. Thanks for blogging on something everyone should think about!

Tarot By Arwen said...

Beautifully said, Cait. Thank you so much for sharing the tragic reality in such a thoughtful, caring way.

romanya vizesi said...

thanks for sharing