Saturday, March 3, 2007

a rose by any other name

I've read in a variety of places, that hospitals should encourage the parents of a dead baby to hold, dress, bathe and name the dead child. To me (and I recognize that reasonable minds may differ) this sounds like a needlessly cruel nightmare, guaranteed to deepen and prolong the parents' legitimate grief. Had the hospital offered me the opportunity (and thank goodness, they did not), I would have been horrified and repulsed by the idea of "playing dress-up" with a little corpse. What I wanted was my little girl, not the dead body that she had so briefly inhabited.

How awful it would be if my only -- or my strongest --- memory of my lost children, was looking at or touching their lifeless bodies. This way, I can remember their kicks that kept me awake at night, their profiles on the ultrasounds, and, most of all, my hopes and dreams for them.


Amanda said...

now this may be a little late, but I linked to your blog through the one that my sister in law~ish has, and I noticed that this particular post or musing had no comments and found that very odd, when talking about conceptions of dealing with grief and what memories remain.

I agree with you that the memories of hopes and dreams and the kicks and the love should be those that remain and not the corpse that once occupied the soul, or the souls, those dreams were for.

I personally think, and this could be wrong, and by ALL means, feel free to disagree, but rather than encourage parents to play with a corpse and pretend that it's alright, this practice would be more of an assurance that the shell your child once wore was whole and breathtaking. This would also allow the parents to have the opportunity to ensure that their child was being prepared for their return to the earth from whence they came by the same hands that committed to love and hold them, rather than an impersonal lab type person.

My opinion anyway. I have an almost 11 year old son and was sterile for 10 years only to be ecstatic to learn that one of my 3 surgeries was a success (read: Knocked up was I) only to have it turn out to be ectopic, and lose my dreams for my child in a haze of pain, medication to kill the pain, another trip to the OR, and billions of tests. I was never given the option to bathe my dead child because it either had been removed in a hideous procedure, or my angel I was fortunate enough to have born healthy.

May God watch over you, and please feel free to use my e-mail address to say hello any time


Kami said...

I think hospitals and care givers should give options, but everyone grieves in their own way. I benefited, I think, from holding our dead son. The idea of bathing and dressing him sounds awful though.