The midwife and stillbirth

by Claudia Ravaldi

Nicolas was a beautiful child, with a lot of brown hair and ears so perfect they looked painted, but his mother will never know that.

Nicolas “was” because fetal intrauterine death exists; any family that experiences this pain tends to feel alone in misfortune.

You are not. Talk about it, seek the help you need, ask, and you will find that you are not alone.

You are no different, not having your child in your arms does not make you less parents than others.

Nicolas’s mother will not have the memory of those little ears because the operators who witnessed that birth were taken by surprise by death where life was expected; they did not know that the only thing that mother wanted at that moment was to see her child, that she had the right and that this would serve to create a family bond with the long-awaited child and, consequently, to facilitate the process mourning process.

Being a midwife or gynecologist most of the time means welcoming life, welcoming a warm little body and the noises with which it comes into the world; but sometimes it also means welcoming silence, pain, bewilderment, anger, frustration, disbelief, the inability to think about tomorrow.

It is a difficult task , which makes us clash with ours limitations of health workers and human beings, which cannot be improvised but which, on the contrary, require adequate preparation because, if not correctly carried out, it can have repercussions on the life of an entire family even years after the event of loss and on the professional health of the operator himself.

Thanks to CiaoLapo I have understood that what you do not know must not be a source of fear, but of inspiration to be the best professionals and people.

The families we deal with every day deserve all our knowledge, our competence, our availability and our kindness.

Not only can we talk to mothers and fathers about fetal intrauterine death, but it is fundamental.

Don’t be afraid to use words commonly considered inappropriate; it is necessary to educate and educate oneself, talk about prevention, keep the memory alive; because shedding light where there was darkness, sharing, participating, not ceasing to feel empathy within us, is the only possibility we have, as doctors and midwives, to take care of the pain.

Because it is true that ” it is not possible to cure death, but it is possible to take care of the pain that remains ” and make a difference in the lives of our patients.


We thank Dr. Graziana Cavone, obstetrician, for her important testimony.

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