Reading through a newspaper, I came across an article about bloggers dealing with grief. One of the blogs is by a young mother, Alice, whose beloved baby died in the womb and so was stillborn. Alice describes the four hours she and her partner spent with their baby before they took the baby away. She and her partner were sent hundreds of cards and food and flowers and charity donations as people expressed their grief at the loss of this little baby.
Another young mother is preparing to leave the hospital where her abortion has taken place. She is shocked and will try to put what has happen out of her mind for ever more. She has no support and does not feel she deserves support because they kept telling her it was her choice. She did not want to do this but in order to keep her fragile relationships going she did it anyway.
Now she must come to terms with her grief and go through her mourning alone. If she speaks about “it” she is met with blank stares. “Put it behind you and get on with your life”. She would do if she could only work out how to do that. In the night she wakes to nightmares of crying babies. She gets up and goes to find the baby and then realises it is a dream. Later, when she becomes pregnant again, she has the baby….she still has no support and finds it hard to hold and care for her baby. As the child grows, she thinks he will die, she continually visualises his death – and again she is not allowed to express her fears.
She has disappeared from view, one of the people who are not allowed to grieve because we cannot allow ourselves to recognise that abortion kills a baby. Along with this refusal to see the death of the baby comes the refusal to provide good follow up care for bereaved women with all the impact that has on her family. Although, of course, if the humanity of the baby were truly recognised, support would be provided for the pregnant woman and abortion would doubtless not even be legal.
How can we ignore this suffering?