Media and Perinatal Loss

Click here to see media coverage of the topic of Perinatal Death:

Today I saw a news reporter and camera man in the lobby of our hospital. I don’t know exactly why they were here but there have been interesting local events, so I could guess. I am certain, however that they were NOT here to do a story on the incidence of Perinatal Death in our country.

I have a passion for caring for “my ladies” and that passionate side of my personality made me want to run up to them and say “Do you have any idea how many babies die in the US/world every year? When is someone going to tell this story?”

(I also have a practical side that knows if I did such a thing I would be fired and the PR dept would make a dart board with my picture on it. I don’t want to behave like a luntic, so I wont be accosting any camera-toting visitors anytime soon. )

I hope my point is well understood though. In most advanced cultures, problems are discussed in the openness of the virtual town square which for years has been television. The fact that you are reading this blog shows there is evolution underway, but I still think that average people believe that if infant death were common, you would certainly see it on TV. Important and compelling things are on TV, so if it isn’t on TV it must not exist.

The rubber meets the road when I enter the room of a woman in the late stages of pregnancy who is early in labor after learning that her baby has died. She (I argue) is subjected to an increased degree of pain because nothing in our culture prepared her for the fact that this was a possibility.

Perhaps worse than no coverage though would be bad coverage. Imagine if someone did a show about it and tried to assign blame as to why it happens. We really don’t need that.  If anyone is ever going to do this topic justice, it will have to be brave enough to be honest about the unknowns and ambiguities in this area of loss.

I have emailed media outlets and show hosts and as you can see the crickets are chirping. We get it, talking about infant death doesn’t make money. We do need to keep pushing…SOMEDAY this will come out of the dark corners …I just hope it is done with truth and integrity.

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7 Comments

  1. A great project here in Victoria, BC Canada and has received quite a bit of media over the past week. http://www.timescolonist.com/health/Saanich+parents+will+have+special+place+park+grieve+miscarried/7205451/story.html

  2. R. S. D.

    I know this is not your point, but that video showed a grasshopper, not a cricket.

    • Not sure why its necessary to point that out; maybe today my grieving children didnt remind all my glaring faults and mistakes enough that the universe needed to send another message to keep me humble. My goal was to have a cricket sound and that is the only one I found. I likely would have still used it if the image were a dancing bear.

  3. Rebecca Duncan

    Please accept my apologies. I have just discovered your blog, and have been reading it a lot since I did. I guess I have not yet internalized all the lessons I might learn from it. I have not heard direct personal experience with the kind of loss you deal with, but as you point out it is not uncommon and I have had many friends and acquaintance who have.

    I just pointed it out because I thought it was funny. I am a biologist by training and habit, and I routinely notice what kind of bug something is. Perhaps you would notice if you saw a picture of a priest in the secular press and it said something like “a priest at Easter” but you noticed that he was wearing purple vestments? I am not likely to say something like “you have a bug in your hair” but more likely to say ” you have a June bug” or whatever it is.

    Again I am sorry if that came across wrong.

    • I am also sorry…I didn’t get the point of your comment except to point out that I was wrong and so many people do that on a daily basis that I might need an irony warning of some sort that humor is on its way. Today I had a Chaplain accuse me of inflicting a photographer on a grieving family without their consent. The photographer was there at the parents request and I was aghast that anyone would think I would ever do such a thing. I think I was a little over sensitive, sorry.

      • R. S. D.

        Okay, let me try again. (Humor alert)

        I think the lead actor in that video is not really singing. I think he is just lip synching (wing synching?)

        It truly did not occur to me that it might come across as criticizing you. If lead actors put out fake videos its THEIR fault.

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