Voices of women

by Claudia Ravaldi

“I don’t hold you in my arms, but I create space for you. Voices of women about the experience of miscarriage.” CiaoLapo deals with psychological support for women and families affected by peri-natal death ( around the pregnancy process, which includes the death of the child during pregnancy and after birth, as suggested in her texts by Dr. Hassaire Niquet, psychologist) . Many of these people are affected by early losses, which occur within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, the so-called “miscarriages”.

We are sisters on the go,
Singing in the sun
Singing in the darkest night,
Healing has begun,
The healing has begun.
Jane Tingle Broderick

CiaoLapo deals with psychological support for women and families affected by peri-natal death ( around the pregnancy process, which includes the death of the child during pregnancy and after birth, as suggested in her texts by Dr. Hassaire Niquet, psychologist) . Many of these people are affected by early losses, which occur within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, the so-called “miscarriages”.

This event is very frequent; among the peri-natal losses, it is by far the most frequent, so much so that it is estimated that one in six pregnancies among all those initiated that are “diagnosed” is interrupted with the death of the expected child, for medical reasons that are not always adequately defined.

In Italy, hospitalizations for curettage following spontaneous abortion are about 100,000 every year.

100,000 is a large and anything but negligible number of women, of all ages, all races, all socioeconomic conditions, primiparous or pluriparous or nulliparous.

For this multitude of people, in fact, there are no spaces for support and hospitality within their social microcosm, with the exception of rare and small local realities in dedicated counseling centers or associations. Although the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists has repeatedly reiterated the importance of offering targeted counseling to women affected by spontaneous abortion to reduce the intensity of bereavement and related discomforts, in practice in Italy this service does not exist.

Indeed, we tend to trivialize the event as “very frequent, and therefore practically” normal “, which happens to all women sooner or later”, nothing worth dwelling on. We forget about the investment in terms of physical, emotional and couple resources that involves starting and carrying on a pregnancy for a woman today. Even if only a fifth of these women asked for support for their loss, it would still not be possible to cover their requests, lacking adequate services.

Talking about spontaneous abortion is giving voice to an experience that many women live, which to date remains the least considered from an emotional point of view … yet a woman was born as a mother, yet she already imagined that that would be a child or a little girl, yet this fragment of memory remains silently hidden in the memories


“I believe that mothers affected by spontaneous abortion interface with a very subtle pain … The child is not recognized as such by society, and often the mother did not have time to strengthen her bond of attachment, her relationship just started with the child. Therefore, in the absence of a “recognition” of this mourning, motherhood often remains suspended in limbo. The interrupted pregnancy is something aleatory and evanescent, as if all of this was really just a figment of the imagination, yet painfully vivid. “


In 2006, when I founded CiaoLapo, I asked myself the question of what to offer to these hundred thousand women, their stories, their griefs. I thought that their feeling, with respect to the loss and the interrupted project, was not unlike my feeling, as a woman and mother affected by a stillbirth at the end of pregnancy. I felt, beyond some obvious differences, a common basis of pain, of betrayed expectation and the unbearable weight of empty arms. I have heard the miserable little voice of failure and unworthiness of the body, in my words, and in the words of hundreds of other women, grappling with a grief to resolve, and a life to take back in hand.. “


CiaoLapo was born to be there, it was born for all of us: thanks to the web resources intertwined with the tools I acquired during my twenty-year training curriculum in medicine, in psychiatry in psychotherapy and on the promotion of bio-psycho-social well-being, it was thought of as a place-non-place, present and discreet, where the parents, family members, friends of children who have touched our lives (for these children there is no unique name: someone calls them angels, someone stars, children meteor or butterfly children, everyone has their own way of referring to them with love and tenderness) they can meet virtually in online groups and in the forum or physically in vis a vis groups to share their experiences and start, complete, carry on, sometimes conclude their journey of mourning.

CiaoLapo’s gaze embraces many different realities, made up of people with different stories and as many life projects.

Over the years, measuring ourselves against our small strengths and with the desire to respond to parental requests, we have extended our embrace to new expectations, to support for subsequent pregnancies and to promote a good mother-child relationship. The most recent studies clearly indicate that the previous loss, at whatever gestational age occurred, can favor the presence of anxious or depressive symptoms in the mother, and negatively influence the relationship with the baby. Hence the urge to offer some clear and simple answers to the needs of bereaved people


CiaoLapo’s goal is very ambitious, considering that a perinatal social and psychosocial culture has not yet developed in Italy and most people miss the importance of empathic support as an engine of resilience and elaboration: we want to offer a reasonably long and personalized space and time to people affected by perinatal loss to allow them to regain a certain level of serenity and confidence in the future and to help them have the energy necessary to invest in new creative projects (be they a new pregnancy, an adoption, the development of a personal competence, it does not matter, as long as the person feels “renewed” and an active part in their own life and your daily choices).

“The loss of a child in any period of pregnancy is the interruption of a love project, even if it were only of one of the two parents. Living in grief implies the need to face and feel a whole series of negative feelings concerning pain, sadness and desperation for what happened. It is an event that completely overwhelms an individual both in his individual and in his social world and the resulting change can be positive and bring new life to the person, or completely negative, and lead the person to a state of continuous suffering “ .


Elaborating mourning is an arduous path, which forces people to measure themselves with some aspects of their character, with the social dimension of the problem (read: with the taboo), with their own perception of themselves.

Often the mourning dimension is so uncomfortable that it cannot be inhabited for a very long time. At that time, thinking of yourself as a grieving person or a grieving person is so frightening that it does more harm than the pain of grieving. Some of us need a lot of time and many positive subsequent experiences to allow ourselves to focus attention on their past bereavement, and it is right that each person can choose when and how to deal with their pain.

However, it is even more correct and without a shadow of a doubt necessary that every woman be able to dispose of some useful resources at zero time to orient herself in subsequent choices. There is no set time to address the delicate issue of perinatal loss, and there is no expiration date by which to start dealing with one’s grief, but it is important that when the right time comes, each person knows who to turn to. what to expect, and above all how to take steps to seek the most suitable help. One of the biggest cultural errors is that “time heals all wounds”, and that “giving time to time” is enough to resolve the complexity of an event such as perinatal loss.

“Each person experiences his own personal journey of mourning, especially when it occurs during pregnancy or immediately after birth. Spontaneous abortion is the form of grief that unites many mothers, but very often it is silent and lonely. Sharing allows us to create a circle of experiences and growth: together we can allow ourselves to listen and understand what mourning takes and brings in our lives, because even if we have only dreamed of holding you in our arms, or if we have done so. for a short time, we dedicate a space to you in our hearts “


“Sharing means welcoming the uniqueness of each individual with deep interest, made up of understanding and solidarity, of absence of judgment and attentive listening done with the mind and with the heart. Sharing of this type gives quality and meaning to what we do by giving the right value to our emotions ”


They collaborated on this article

Irene Fornasier

“I’m Irene, mother of Zeno, born dead at 24 weeks; of Aeneas who arrived along the path of elaboration of my mourning to bring a ray of sunshine, and of Isaiah who gave us balance. I am a doula, and breastfeeding peer counselor, and volunteer for CiaoLapo “

Stefania Semenzato

“I am the mother of 4 children Beatrice, Niccolò, Irene and Riccardo. THErene was stillborn on the day of delivery at 39 + 6 weeks.
She brought me to know the non-profit Ciaolapo Association, which literally brought me back to life by teaching me how to get out of the darkness of pain for the death of my daughter. Since that day, I have proudly supported Claudia Ravaldi and her husband Alfredo in projects to support bereaved families and to raise awareness in the area of both operators and society as a whole. This is me”

Antonella Solidoro

“My name is Antonella Solidoro and I am the mother of two splendid sunflowers, Sara and Oscar. I believe that motherhood is an opportunity for growth, to give expression and shape to something new and unique in life. The miracle is your child, a message of peace and love. I have chosen to stand by with respect, empathy and listening. I’m a doula. “

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