Babyloss 2014 in Italy

by Claudia Ravaldi
CiaoLapo Onlus
CiaoLapo Onlus

In our previous post we talked about 15 October, why it is a very important date celebrated all over the world and how for eight years CiaoLapo has been promoting this day of awareness and awareness on the world of parents affected by perinatal bereavement and on the resources needed to learn about this type of grief and to offer support.
This year, 35 Italian squares enthusiastically joined the local organization of BabyLoss Awareness Day and hundreds of parents and volunteer workers have worked hard in their community to break an anachronistic taboo that has a profound impact on the well-being of families and of affected parents.

Images and reflections from 35 cities

Read reports from all cities at www.babyloss.info

Many, including parents and professionals, have put their face to it, taking to the square, organizing training days and round tables. Even more people have invested and donated their time for the organization, which started more than six months ahead of October. Many material and psychological resources have been invested in this great project of sharing and change, many problems encountered and then resolved, many obstacles overcome. For the first time in eight years, many parents have gone from receiving care to being an active part of change and care, each in their own time and ability. Many of us, perhaps without being fully aware of it, have broken this year one of the first dogmas of unprocessed mourning, which would like parents to be discouraged, disinterested in projects of change, and above all distant and fearful of the institutions, which are perceived, not always wrongly, as indifferent and distancing. With great tenacity, however, many of us crossed for the first time after the loss the doors of public offices and the doors of hospitals, and met the representatives of their local institutions with determination and sensitivity. Many of us have gone to public offices to request space and listening, giving voice not only to personal experiences but also to the important project that was born from that pain and which is an integral part of the inner re-birth that we wish to all who are affected by a bereavement.

Color Italy with thousands of pink, blue and white balloons, offer citizens the opportunity to decorate a butterfly with a thought for those who are no longer there and are still loved and held in their hearts (not only children or grandchildren, but even siblings, grandparents, parents), releasing those balloons in the obstinately blue skies after days of storms allowed the meeting of two parallel realities in many cities.
It allowed the beginning of a sharing and a convergence, of two worlds otherwise painfully distant.
Due to the Italian cultural taboo that denies perinatal bereavement and urges parents to “forget” as soon as possible, we find ourselves socially deprived of tools to welcome bereaved parents into our communities and to walk with them towards hope, and towards transformation of that mourning that scares us so much that it is left there, suspended, sometimes even for years. In many local realities the life of the community to which they belong and that of the bereaved parents unfortunately run parallel, without any point of contact, without any accessible service, without any territorial and hospital project of prevention and listening. Co-citizens, people, even if they see pain, simply expect that sooner or later it will pass by itself, because that is how they have been left to believe. They stop on the threshold of fear, on the threshold of compassion, they stop on the lack of shared rituals and words to tell what happened, what is happening, what can be done to help.
They stop and advise, they stop and minimize, they stop and pathologize the reactions and needs of the painful.
Fortunately, in half of the cases the parents take action independently to seek help, and process their pain, albeit with difficulty, even without external help. In a third of cases, those parents left alone will fall ill with mourning. In other cases, rarer and more dramatic, it will be the new children of those abandoned families who bear on them the burden of the unspeakable and the drama of abandonment.

For all these reasons, which affect very different levels of the person, family, society, health and well-being of citizens, October 15 is an extremely significant day, which offers citizens the opportunity to reflect on perinatal death, on life of those who remain, on how it is possible to help and return to parents that community space and that sense of belonging that too often fails after a bereavement.

This year in 35 squares the meeting of the enlarged reality, that of citizenship, with the small but significant reality of mourning parents took place. In most cases it was a meeting made up of knowledge, exchange, sharing. A meeting that is not always easy, often feared, both by citizens and by parents. At the end of the afternoon of awareness, a wave of light illuminated the streets, the squares, the windows of the houses.
From a symbolic point of view, our little lights lit in the squares or in the hands of the bystanders were the ideal metaphor for what we intend to promote in our Italy, so rich in resources, even emotional, yet so poor in initiative and curiosity: to bring light where families grope in the dark.
Bring light to the eyes of closed and frightened communities and untie those hands in their pockets.
That we would like those hands to come out of their pockets and graze our hands, and we would like the now enlightened eyes not to escape from our orbi eyes. But they remained, alongside, as a testimony that no, in mourning one does not necessarily have to get sick in general indifference.

Many seeds have been planted, in the 35 cities where October 15th was celebrated, many new people have been welcomed, good practices of reception and bereavement support have been disseminated once again.
Our thanks go to all those who have committed themselves to us, to those who have looked beyond fear and indifference, and to those who have been able to grasp with intellectual honesty and purity of heart the profound meaning of October 15th and the precious treasure that is hides behind awareness.

Now, the word to mothers and volunteers, and their reports on the day.

Thanks to all, from the heart!

Read reports from all cities at www.babyloss.info

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