Ever since Catching Babies was published I’ve received letters from readers. The latest one was sent to me via Headline publishers, and they had marked it ‘fan mail’.
I don’t see these letters as fan mail. They are mainly from women who have had a baby and with some particular trauma or incident. This recent letter was exactly that. The Mrs S had tragically given birth to a stillborn baby in the 1960’s. She never saw her baby girl, and she was unaware what had happened to her. Only last year did this mother write to the hospital to ask for more details, and she received compassionate care and assistance, including information on her labour record and where her baby was buried. She was given a copy of her baby’s birth certificate, and the opportunity to write in the remembrance book.
When I give talks to groups around the country about my career, this story of horrendous loss is often told to me in a quiet corner by a woman who has experienced having a stillborn baby. In my book I recount my mother-in-law‘s (Marie) traumatic first birth; a little girl born asleep whom she never saw. Rosemary (the baby) was never mentioned at all, and Marie grieved for her until the day she died. Marie went on to have four boys.
Today, it’s a different story. Whilst tragedies continue to happen, parents are encouraged to spend time with their baby, and they are quite rightly involved in all decisions. Support for bereaved parents isn’t as good as it should be, although national organisations such as SANDS offer a valuable life line at such an emotionally devastating time.
Back to my letter. It seems Catching Babies prompted Mrs S to approach the birth place of her baby girl to find out more, and now she has peace.
I can’t think of a better reason for being pleased that I wrote the book after all. What do you think?