This week I’m exhibiting at the National Conference in Pregnancy and Infant Loss, designed for professional services to collaborate, to ensure high levels of bereavement care. From working with experienced professionals, as well as bereaved parents, it’s clear that pregnancy and infant loss is still very much a taboo subject.
At the frontline of parental grief, how can professional services be best equipped to support parents who have lost an infant? Currently mothers get very little support, and fathers are more often than not completely forgotten.
In my experience many parents who have suffered the loss of a child don’t feel able to move beyond initial grief. The idea that you’ll “never get over” the death of a child is a common piece of misinformation, potentially leading to parents seeking out information and emotions to match. In addition, couples can become angry with each other, as inevitably we all grieve in our individual ways, and one might “be strong” to support the other but then be perceived to “not loved our baby like I did”. By providing initial support to parents and equipping them in early in their grief, professional services could have a positive effect on the long-term recovery from grief.
The Grief Recovery Method was created when John James lost his three-day-old baby. While a lot has improved since then, there is still a long way to go to get the recognition for the emotional pain of any infant loss, no matter the age or gestation.
The reason we will be exhibiting at the conference is to introduce professional services - midwives, ambulance services, funeral directors, police officers, and anyone else who comes into contact with these parents in the short- and long term - to the Grief Recovery Method Certification Training that we provide. We give staff and volunteers the tools to help clients appropriately, and already work with a number of organisations. The training covers a mix of classroom training, practical experience, learning materials and ongoing individual support.