An opportunity for love in an ocean of pain
One of the most painful and most common memories among parents with experience of perinatal bereavement is that of when we crossed the threshold of the hospital to go home with empty arms.
The loneliness and physical lack of our children is in those days so excruciating as to take your breath away.
Returning to one’s “old” life when everything has changed is impossible: the absence of our child’s “natural” memories makes his absence surreal, until one day we realize that it all really happened .
When our path of mourning makes this leap, suddenly the muffled and surreal pain becomes acute and cutting: our baby is really dead and we have to deal with his lack. It is usually in this period of mourning that we realize how many things we do not know about him / her. Suddenly, we would like to know how big he was, how much he weighed, the color of his eyes, the size of his little hands.
Suddenly we realize that no one will give us back what we have not seen / heard / experienced in those days … and the pain can re-emerge, very strong and permanent, anniversary after anniversary, regret after regret.
It matters little that many families like us have no real memories of their children, and it matters little to know that the shock of those days prevented us from thinking about what would have been better to do.
As the Norwegian midwives I met in Oslo in 2008 say, every mother wishes in the depths of her heart to meet and re-know the baby she gave birth to or only held in her belly, even if he is dead: it just needs to be placed in the better conditions to do so.
The lack of culture on perinatal bereavement makes this crucial passage still a rarity in our hospitals, and as a result of this, mothers are encouraged to “not see” and “imagine” and “resign themselves that it is better this way”.
For years CiaoLapo has been working to fill this care gap by developing specific care paths within the maternal-infant wards by making available the ultimate care tool, the memory box, free of charge .
The memory box project and how you can help too!
The memory box is a box used to keep important memories (box of memories is the literal translation), a “place” useful for remembering and honoring the memory of small but precious lives.
The obstetrics, gynecology and neonatology departments participating in the “FOOTPRINT” training project receive free memory boxes from CiaoLapo.
The CiaoLapo memory box has a standard content designed to collect memories from the 16th week of pregnancy onwards.
The memory box we are preparing now, available from September contains:
- the self-help book Little Principles
- two doudou
- a small wool or cloth blanket to wrap the baby in or keep as a souvenir,
- the little bear hat and / or the woolen shoes
- a photo frame
- the booklet containing the memories of the child “The memories of a little prince / of a little princess” compiled by the midwives with or in place of the parents
- the clay cast of the little hand and foot
- various information material on self-help groups etc.
What is the memory box for?
The memory box is a symbol of the passage of our children and respect for their lives.
Our memory box can be the starting point to make room for the memories of this part of our life shared with our child, collecting the most significant ones of the time spent with our children. Having a space for this and being able to use it when you go is truly therapeutic; There comes a moment, in mourning, when parents feel ready to reopen drawers and suitcases, and to create a personal space for that pregnancy and for that child, in which to collect objects, thoughts, and small gifts.
In the experience of the parents of our association, the emotion that most often accompanies us in the first long months of mourning is the oppressive sense of emptiness and the physical lack of tangible traces of the passage of our children.
From January 2012 to today CiaoLapo has distributed thousands of memory boxes in about 80 hospital departments.
The requests have been growing for some years, and CiaoLapo wishes to be able to satisfy them all so that no parent is deprived of the memories that matter .
How to help:
A single memory box costs around 45 euros. With this donation, a personalized memory box in your name will be sent to one of the hospitals affiliated with us.
How to donate:
You can donate in two ways: by bank transfer to IBAN: IT12D0501802800000011183837 REASON: Memory Box Project
Or, with a free donation on Paypal specifying the reason: Memory Box Project