Let’s face it

by Claudia Ravaldi
CiaoLapo Onlus
CiaoLapo Onlus

“Mettiamoci la Face” is the social awareness and awareness promotion campaign on the theme of perinatal bereavement that CiaoLapo has conceived and curated since 2011, now in its second edition this year.

The goal of Mettiamoci la Faccia is to foster the personal and social awareness of those affected by perinatal bereavement, their families, friends and their community.

Stories of perinatal mourning beyond the taboo

What does awareness mean?

“Awareness means” cognition, awareness “.
This word denotes an extremely intimate phenomenon , and of cardinal importance.
Awareness is a condition in which the cognition of something becomes interior, profound, perfectly harmonized with the rest of the person, in a coherent one. It is that kind of knowledge that shapes ethics , life conduct, discipline , making them authentic.

Awareness cannot be inculcated: it is not a given or a notion. It is the original construction of one’s way of relating to the world – as identity knowledge, truly capable of elevating a person above ignorance and plain information. This is the case with awareness of pain, which makes one compassionate and kind ; of the awareness of being loved, which makes us invulnerable.

(unaparolaalgiorno.it)

For CiaoLapo, for its founders, for the professionals and for the parents who make up the scientific committee and the operational core of the volunteers, promoting awareness plays a central role both for the elaboration of grief and for the prevention of psychosocial distress, more frequent than you want to believe.

Awareness means not only, but also, illuminating a dark corner in our collective consciousness.

It means shedding light on a frightening and complex topic that is kept on the fringes of society, academic training, dialogues between families and couples.

CiaoLapo works to make “visible” the absence that accompanies many families affected by mourning for a much longer time than socially accepted; works for to make the experience of mourning and the experience of elaboration that families often have in solitude and with great effort “speakable” , because they are left to themselves; it means making it possible to narrate an experience that represents a archaic social taboo to transform it into the cultural heritage of all, and therefore into a shared resource.

Putting our face on it has been for many of us a way to responsibly deal with grief and what it entails in everyday life, in medium and long-term projects. Putting one’s face on it was a way to get up and walk on one’s own legs, head held high, without feeling stateless at home, finally free to be in mourning and then not to be anymore, depending on the case, the time, the circumstances. Free. Putting one’s face on it is also a specific request to our society, to our microcosms: do not hide what has happened, do not hide what they are. Don’t ignore my son. Do not minimize the efforts I make every day not to crumble, and to continue living.

The frightened and indifferent silence of the taboo is not a resource.

Parents in mourning, apart from a few small opportunities for meeting and sharing, struggle to find space to be themselves, including bereavement. Sharing and a good social response can help transform pain into an experiential resource and shared heritage, useful for everyone, generation after generation.

Taboo hinders resilience and promotes the genesis of complicated bereavement, psychological distress and illness, which have nothing to do with a natural path of bereavement. Which is dynamic pain. It is transformation, evolution, effort, discovery. Nothing to do with the fixed immobility of the depressive experience. Grief and grief are one thing, depression another. If we want to deal well with both of these situations, we should never confuse them, ever. Know them, yes. Distinguish them, perhaps. Preventing depression from grief left to itself is the ideal we strive for. Also by promoting awareness of a society without words for mourning (and without words for depression, by the way). A mute, frightened society, noisy in its indifference.

Let’s face it is a story of images and words . Many couples participated in the project by carefully choosing the images to share and the words to tell each other. Hundreds of different stories, of different faces, of men, women, babies, microscopic children, very small, small, hundreds of stories. A story of love stories. It is always worthwhile to listen to love stories. Even when the ending is not certain. But possible.

In the awareness campaign that will take place from today until October 31st on www.babyloss.info , the official website of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness in Italy, we will find part of the stories that have come down to us. We put our face and show a piece of mourning to the society that does not want to see it, and yet sees us every day (the mother-in-law, the employer, the district gynecologist, the psychologist of the service, the mother of the school friend of the our firstborn, our best friend). We share a bit of mourning and it would already be wonderful if after seeing the project people stopped urging us to “make an effort”, to “go back to the old ones” to “forget about it”.

Awareness and love, perhaps, are the same thing, because you will know nothing without love, while with love you will know a lot. ( Fyodor Dostoevsky )

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