Contemporary society suffers from many health problems, though there have never been paid enough attention to the hidden issue of many families – perinatal loss. Today’s society cannot imagine what families have to walk through when they face a tragedy of perinatal loss. This is a serious psychological issue affecting all the family members with different force. Perinatal loss is not something that can dissolve in time. It is a problem that needs enough attention from all family members and health professionals. This essay is aimed to spotlight two sides of this issue – family support and nursing care. Moreover, perinatal loss affects not only parents and other family members, but nurses whose duty is to help and support parents during pregnancy. The most important point of this issue is to give families the necessary psychological support and appropriate help from social organizations and networks.
It is a fact that every family should have its own approach how to overcome the grief and complicated mourning. Nobody is secured when it comes to the loss of a baby. It is important to act in a proper way and help parents walk through the hard times. Of course, nobody is sure that it will be easy. It is obvious that parents should never give up and believe that better days are yet to come. Families which did not get enough help and support are usually bound to break in a couple of years after death of their baby. Grief may come out almost at all levels of human being including psychological, physical, biological, and behavioral levels. A tragedy of perinatal loss changes lives of families forever, and the way families act after it fully depends on the support they get.
There is no wonder that a sudden death of the wanted child is a great tragedy for families. It is hard for parents to adjust to a thought that the future they were planning for their child will never come. Life of their precious baby ended up in a split second, and parents feel confused and depressed. Parents lose their dream, a part of themselves, a future that will never occur. It is hard to believe in loss of the baby; that is why during first weeks, parents’ conscience refuses to accept this fact. A hard period of sadness, irritation, guilt, loneliness, and depression comes when parents’ minds start to absorb the tragedy, and they realize that they have lost their baby. Grief is always different for everyone. There is no pattern for grieving, and there is no time limit. Sometimes, it may take more than ten years to recover after perinatal loss. Death of a baby is always a challenge for a marriage. The important conditions that help to save the relations between parents are care, sympathy, and support. There is no recipe from mourning and complicated depression after the baby’s death. When parents act as one unit, it becomes much easier to feel the relief. According to Leon’s (2008) study, “Usually there is not, however, a complete recovery, meaning a total return to one’s “old self”.” A perinatal loss is a life changing moment for both of the parents and other family members.
Grieving in perinatal loss is natural. It is a way to heal the wounds. However, there is no pattern for grieving. It is impossible to predict in what way parents will act when they find out about the baby’s death. In most cases, the news about perinatal loss is brought by a physician; that is a right decision. Parents deserve to get honest answers to questions about their child’s death. Honesty is the first thing they need when a tragedy comes. If there is no honesty from nurses and doctors, parents will think that some facts about their child are hidden from them. Every step should be taken carefully with understanding and sympathy appropriate in the current situation. When all the reasons are clear, the next step will be giving parents enough privacy. Perinatal loss involves at least two people – parents. Sometimes, nurses offer parents to spend the last minutes with their dead baby. Some parents agree, and some of them refuse to do that. However, most of the specialists encourage parents to spend some hours with their lost child, give him/her a name, make photos and hold baby for a while. Parents cannot be judged for the decisions they take.
As it has already been said, there is no pattern for grieving. At this stage of grieving, parents decide whether to keep privacy or to have family members and nurse around them in frightening minutes after perinatal death. All the important measures should be taken with no rush. Parents should take their time to accept the tragedy. This delicate situation has very unpredictable results. It should be filled with trust, sympathy, and understanding from both sides – health care professionals and family members. Parents should be surrounded with care which is important to overcome grieving in a short period. If one of the parents keeps silence for a long period, it does not mean that there is no grieving. It means that a parent cannot find the way to express feelings. In this situation, there should be given as much privacy as it is needed. Afterwards, slowly, step by step, a nurse should help parents to find this balance of support and care of each other in a painful life changing moment. Nurses must take into consideration all the traditions and rituals of the family. Tragedies leave a great impression and cannot be forgotten. Nurses are the ones who help people change their attitude towards tragedies and teach how to live with them.
Perinatal loss affects not only families, but nurses too. Usually it is a lifec hanging moment for both sides. Parents assume guilt and fear of having another baby, and nurses share these emotions too. Most of the nurses feel guilty that they were helpless in a tragedy when parents considered nurses as a source of hope. Nurses are always bound to the families. They share the same emotions and are grieving together with the parents. This bound is explained by trust gained during pregnancy, and grief in a moment of sudden perinatal loss is not a surprise. In a normal situation, nurses get used to taking care of families, and they are becoming a part of whatever happens to them. When a tragedy occurs, it is very important to give parents the necessary support, and nurses know the best how to do that.
Another point in a painful situation of perinatal loss is another child, the one who has been waiting for her little brother or sister to come home with parents. It is always hard to explain serious things to children, especially when it comes to death. Children are very sensitive, and bad news about the baby’s death should be announced in a very delicate way. Nurses know the best how to act in this case. They are like a guide for parents who feel confused and scared to come home without a little brother or sister. Of course, the presence of health care professionals is not needed all the time. Parents should have enough privacy. Every step taken by nurses should keep the balance in relations in the family suffering from grief. Families should have their own private space. They should learn how to cope with sadness and tragedy as the nurse is not going to stay with the family forever. A valuable contribution to parents’ healing will be psychotherapy. It is a serious step towards getting back to the normal state. Parents who refuse to attend mental specialist are suffering from depression at least for two years while those who use the help of a therapist need a year to recover. The main aim of mental physician is to help parents overcome their guilt and fear. The cure of parents in grief must be conducted in the atmosphere of care, sympathy, and comfort. People facing this tragedy should know that they are not alone, and there are specialists willing to help them. The worst decision in grief is to close up and refuse to talk about the problem.
Perinatal loss is a great tragedy and leaves scars on lives of the families. To my mind, there are two determinants of health that are changed forever when it comes to death. First of all, the most affected area is the social environment. The consequences of child loss can sharply change the way person acts in the society. When parents do not get enough attention and have to struggle with their problems alone, they may lose friends and cut off themselves from the surrounding world. When there is no understanding and nobody takes seriously the way parents feel, they simply refuse to trust people around them. The second health determinant is closely connected to the previous one. To my mind, coping skills are also damaged when parents feel grief and depression. When families do not get enough attention, they feel confused and helpless. It may result in problems in overcoming various life challenges, self-care, and even decision-making. Tragedies change lives forever. They make life basement unsteady giving a person fear to take chances and make decisions. A person who struggled to survive in a difficult situation by himself has lots of problems making choices later in life. It is a fact that all choices people make are influenced by the society. That is why care, support, and enough attention play a major role in family recovery.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that death always leaves scars on the lives of people. When someone loses a parent, the past is lost, but when a child dies, dreams and hopes for the future vanish. It is impossible to get back to the old way of living after perinatal loss, but there is a chance to get started from a new stage of life. Death always brings sadness, depression, and grief. The most important thing is the chosen way to live with the loss inside your heart. Losing a child means loosing a part of one’s self, and nothing in the world can fill the space left afterwards. Parents who are unlucky to experience perinatal loss have to face many problems. Nurses are the ones who should stay next to parents to give them enough support. Families should be given enough care and understanding from family members and health care professionals. There is no pattern and time limit for grieving. Parents who experienced perinatal loss have to adjust to the new world with destroyed dreams and learn how to cope with the pain inside. This issue will always be the main one in the sphere of family health. Nobody is secured from the tragedy of perinatal loss. Perinatal blessing is a curse. It is impossible to get ready for the tragedy, but everyone should be aware of its consequences.