Why CiaoLapo – the words of his dad

by Alfredo Vannacci

CiaoLapo was born in 2006 in memory of my son Lapo who was the victim on March 13, 2006 of an unexpected intrauterine death at the end of an apparently physiological pregnancy.

Following this event we decided to create the Association whose main objectives are to offer qualified support to bereaved parents.

Beyond silence and indifference

We have found firsthand that in dramatic events such as these, after the birth of a dead child, the mother is simply discharged. The idea is that he presumably returns to his everyday life. We have found that this is not the case. On the contrary.

When it happened to us, on the first night after Lapo’s surreal birth, when Claudia had not yet returned from the hospital, I surfed the internet, looking for something more than ” these things just happen, without a reason, don’t get swaddled. your head, you will soon be able to make another one “.

The impact was surprising (and somewhat humiliating): while in Italy there is almost nothing, internationally there are numerous university reference centers that are actively involved in the management of perinatal bereavement. There are American, Australian, European associations. There are even information brochures to be distributed in hospitals to parents, self-help books, specific scientific publications on perinatal bereavement and its consequences for parents and families.

There are many texts in English that can help parents overcome this event, there is practically nothing in Italian.

In the following days, especially in the long nights that followed, Claudia and I thought we were lucky: within a few hours we were able to search, and then find, by browsing worldwide databases and accessing online university libraries, a lot of information, a lot of testimonials. , the latest research on risk factors and prevention.

And who can’t, or can’t access it? We imagined many people lost and alone, without any kind of support, without any reliable documents to read, without any clear indications to refer to, after the tsunami of a diagnosis of perinatal bereavement. Before March 13, 2006, perinatal bereavement was a big taboo and misinformation on this “niche” issue was “normal”, the needs of parents ignored, the most advanced medical knowledge, the heritage of very few.

So we thought of doing something: on 11 April 2006 we created CiaoLapo, with the aim of reaching as many Italian parents and operators as possible interested in learning more about perinatal bereavement, its dynamics and possible resources.

There are at least three points on which it is possible and desirable to start intervening: the diagnostic study, the prevention strategies and the correct accompaniment of the couple. In these areas certainly something can be done, and certainly something more than what is done today in some centers: these things are not done routinely, to those ten families a day who are affected by perinatal death in Italy.

The first step was to create the website, www.ciaolapo.it: it is a site intended for all types of users, primarily parents and families, full of informative material, with a forum to which all subscribers can participate and a telematic self-help group is being activated.

And then there is the section for health professionals where bibliographic material is already available.

Among our primary objectives, there is the training of hospital and local staff and training for the management of self-help groups.

Obviously, both of us coming from universities, we are also interesting in the aspect of research in this sector which is not particularly developed, especially in Italy and therefore we already have contacts with national and even international groups with the possibility of participating in coordinated research on the subject. management of perinatal bereavement.

Self-help texts in Italian for parents and relatives are being prepared and then clearly there is the goal of collaborating with other Italian realities.

In our newborn association, obstetricians, nurses, psychologists, doctors are represented, but there are also and above all the parents: our association is dedicated to our son Lapo, but also to all the other children of the parents who in these ten months have joined us. Each of these children, who have often only lived in an intrauterine life, have nevertheless lived for their parents and each of them is, and will always be, unique and unrepeatable.

Alfredo Vannacci

(Opening of the works at the first Italian congress on intrauterine death, Florence, March 10, 2007)

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