"We must stop the perinatal mourning for a taboo", the hospital and parents are committed to doing so

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Strasbourg: CHU mobilizes to support parents in perinatal mourning (illustration) – Pexels / Pixabay

  • "It is the hell that opens under our feet". These are the words of Stéphanie and Flora, two mothers confronted with perinatal mourning at the time of birth of their twins at the Strasbourg University Hospital.
  • Every year at CHU, 250 parents are suffering from perinatal mourning. The staff is being formed, while the health facility asks for freedom of speech on this topic.
  • The CHU and the association Sémeurs d & # 39; étoiles are suitable for those who are interested in a theatrical work on this theme, Tuesday at 20 at the PréO d & # 39; Oberhausbergen.

"It is the hell that opens under our feet". These are the words of Stephanie, 34, and Flora, 39. During their first pregnancy, respectively in 2011 and 2006, the two rhino-ruminants were confronted with perinatal mourning at the time of the birth of their twins at # 39. ; Strasbourg University Hospital. Since then, they have had two and three other children. And he arrives, with emotion and hindsight, to talk about their experience.

Stéphanie lost her twins, Mathilde and Clémence, during her pregnancy at week 23. "When you're pregnant, you can't imagine that it's going wrong. It's not an option," he begins. So when it is necessary to give birth to dead children, it is "a state of wonder, a levitation impression, a fourth dimension". Flora adds: "A parallel world in which you are asked to organize funerals when you are prepared to live a happy moment." Manuel's mother and Matthew carried "life and death": "We knew that Manuel had died after four months. I went to the end with Matthew, who had been dead for ten days when I entered the hospital. I gave birth to a loud silence.

"We heard a lot of awkwardness"

With the hospital's medical team, Stephanie says she found all the explanations needed to be accompanied at best: "It is a time when we are so lost that we are pushed it is essential. "Having also heard the support of the health professional:" When my husband and I said after the birth that we would have made fantastic parents, "they told us" But you are a parent "". This will rebalance the balance after "many difficulties encountered in our environment, such as" you are young, you will have other children "". Flora emphasizes: "People's words are marked".

To avoid inelegant comments, finally linked to the lack of knowledge of perinatal mourning, both mothers require a liberalization of the word. "We must stop doing perinatal mourning as a taboo," Flora says again.

Contribute: with other parents, they participated in the writing of a testimony book of grieving parents (From us to you) and attend monthly language groups at CHU, a hospital where 250 parents per year suffer from perinatal mourning. always
with the idea of ​​encouraging the word of the patients and the nursing staff, the health institution proposes thanks to the participation of the association The sowers of stars
Gaël Leiblang's drama on this theme of mourning, Tuesday at 8pm at the PréO d & # 39; Oberhausbergen.

At the Strasbourg University Hospital, we adapt our practices

For its part, the health facility adapts, evolves, simply understands. Both so that "health professionals can talk about it with complete peace of mind" but also because it is "important to listen to patients. When you hear the same things thousands of times, it makes us change practices. 15 years have passed since they were settled "says Nadine Knezovic, manager of the midwife.

For this, we must train professionals. "How are you going to parents who do not want to talk about it? If you are not trained, you can break your mouth, say bad things. We will go without tact, without making lace. There are still times when the professional obviously wants to avoid the parents' room whose child is dead, he continues, but behind the pathologies, there is pain, and we are there to treat patients, not pathologies. Afterwards we must continue to work in our daily life, but we also need to know how to accept the disease. ; emotion of people. "

Photos and footprints of the child

In his own career, the polar midwife has experienced this transformation. "During my first 15 years of practice, I was told that we didn't have to leave a trace of the child, that we had to go quickly … Kindly, but as if we were putting ourselves under the carpet. Today at his service "we will respect the child. We will wash it, we will dress it. In front of a dead child, there is nothing to be done, apart from humanity ", he pleads. Now it is also a matter of materializing his existence," because he imagines that parents do not talk about it later, it's stupidity, people still talk about it sometimes 30 years later ": the medical staff then takes systematic images of the child and his footprints.

Stéphanie confirms that for her "it was essential to have a recording of her twins. I made an album with everything I had about them", however, stressing that "it's like that one shot. If it is not done at birth, it is done. "In addition, Flora regrets not having her hair, Matthieu recovered on the day of her birth. While today she accuses herself of not being able to take him in her arms:" But we are so unprepared for spontaneous death. " Leaving the maternity ward, he had not brought with him only two photos of the child, on whose head the care team "had the delicacy of wearing a cap. He had arrived in his cot, in his pajamas with the inscription "He moves in the bush". It was perfect. He just missed his breath. Finally, there are still words that changed her mind and led her to look for photos of her son. Renaud's mother says,
and its Mistral winner " Finally say that we must love life and love it even if the weather is deadly and bring the laughter of children "…

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