We painfully experience the death of someone we didn't manage to say goodbye to, but we are more painfully affected by the death of someone we haven't managed to say hello with yet

I once asked preschoolers what a treasure is. Various proposals were made. - Diamonds, gold, a chest of money. Finally, a shy answer was given: - If parents do not have a child for a long time and this child is finally born, this is their treasure.

Magda enjoys her treasure, but before it happens, she lost six children in the first months of pregnancy. She says that her heart is made up of collected pieces because it has cracked so many times - with every loss. Today, 5-year-old Wiktor is a slice of honey on her cracked heart. On October 15, on the Day of Lost Children, I meet them at Mass. for the parents of lost children, and then I watch them send six white balloons to the sky. - For Antosia, Bartek, Karolinka ... - lists Wiktor. I also meet Ewa with my husband - they have two white balloons, but they don't hold children in their hands anymore. They lost their two children and later they failed. They say God's intentions are not as obvious and predictable as one would like.

A child who changed his mind

Losing a child is always a trauma, regardless of his age and the circumstances in which it happened. The psychological and social consequences of such a loss are multidimensional, as posttraumatic stress can cause various types of mental and depressive disorders. The most difficult element of losing an unborn child for a woman is the fact that she never saw him or hugged him, and she knew about his existence. As Fr. Arkadiusz Olczyk: "In short, we are painfully experiencing the death of someone with whom we did not manage to say goodbye, but we are more painfully affected by the death of someone with whom we have not yet managed to say hello."

Lack of social consent to the experience of mourning is also difficult. On the one hand, this fact is being underestimated, while on the other, cheap comfort is heard: "You will still have a child"; "If it were to be sick, it would be better ...". Meanwhile, the woman is experiencing drama and regrets because her child has died - this is the one she was waiting for. - Sometimes it is a pity for the whole world: for advanced pregnant women on the street because they succeeded; to God, because he could remedy it and did nothing; and even absurd grief for vegetables on stalls, which you measure with pharmacy accuracy every day, and yet do not ensure the health of your child - says Małgosia. - The most difficult thing, however, was to explain to my 3-year-old daughter - knocking on my stomach and asking how the baby was - that he would not be born. A little girl asked disappointed: did the baby change his mind? - confesses Małgosia.

Don't be sad

At the Osobowice cemetery in Wroclaw, I saw a statue of a lost child who stretches out his hands to his parents in pain to comfort them. The figure of the child is transparent and is a symbol of a lost but also present person who seems to say: Don't be sad! But before parents stop being sad, they must go through days of despair and mourning, and it looks different. The child's father experiences a different loss - just as much, though usually more secretly - and the mother. There are no set rules and one way to survive, everyone also has their own pace. The fact is, however, that after many days of pain, sadness and suffering comes inner peace. Psychologists say that the duration of mourning is optimally twelve months - so that parents can go through the awareness of loss through all key days of the year: the first Christmas without a child, the first family celebrations without a child ... Ania recalls: - Jasia lost in the 4th month of pregnancy, but by the 9thmonth I was wondering what would happen to him now, how big it would be. Maybe he would even smile on an ultrasound. And in my mind I was smiling at him. Immediately, however, that image from the memorable ultrasound appeared - a sad, lowered head. And despair came.

A form of management can also be a form of coping with regret - a woman immediately plans another pregnancy or falls into a whirlwind of imaginary duties to take care of something and not think about loss.

What do the rules say about it

One of the stages of experiencing mourning is the funeral and farewell of a loved one, which is why the funeral of a child is of great importance. Current regulations allow it to be organized, regardless of the week in which death occurred. Parents are also entitled to funeral grant. Hospitals do not usually inform you about this, and the question about the procedures cannot be answered by employees of either hospitals or funeral parlors. - The hospital doctor looked at me like a crazy woman. I also looked at him as someone who lost his mind because a child who lived nine wonderful weeks under my heart called a dead pregnancy and did not want to give it to me. I explained that every lost child deserves a funeral and a place on earth. He finally agreed with me. I cried when I gave my daughter's name at the Civil Registry Office: Anna! And then I proudly looked at the birth certificate, although it was also the death certificate of my child - says Renata.

For several years, some hospitals prevented the funeral of a child because of no data about their sex. Parents had to pay for expensive genetic tests, and they had problems getting funeral grants. This changed in 2016. On the website of the Institute for Legal Culture "Ordo Iuris" we read: "To apply for reimbursement of the cost of the funeral of a deceased child before birth, it is necessary to obtain a birth certificate with the annotation of a dead birth, i.e. registering the child at the state office civil. For registration, it is necessary to determine the sex of the child, which in some cases is possible only through genetic testing. It is important to remember that the cost of these examinations is considered funeral expenses, which means that they are reimbursed as part of a funeral grant. "

Renata organized a funeral for her daughter a month after her miscarriage. - I didn't know the grave was so important. I thought that since the child would stay in my thoughts forever, we didn't need a marble tombstone. But why did I feel so homeless every time I walked through the cemetery? - shares his experience. - After the funeral, I felt relief, as if I had closed an important chapter in my life, because our Ania got her place not only in our hearts - he adds.


„Niedziela” 40/2019

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl