LAURA MCGLYNN SAYS she was disgusted to hear last week that Clare Daly’s bill is unlikely to pass through the Dáil. As a woman who has been through a termination for medical reasons, she fights passionately for better care for women in Ireland.
Has Ireland still not learned the lessons of the past-with regard to Pregnancy and supportive care
My story is below from some 35 years ago
I know only too well the pain; sorrow - the long lasting grief that overtakes women that gives birth to a stillborn child.
I lost a little girl the year the Pope came to Ireland in 1979; she lived for 2 minutes.
When I went back to see the Consultant for the reasons why ; she said ; 'unfortunately- there was no real medical reason why my baby died; if she had have been on Duty ; I would have performed a c. section. Wow. There no reason for my baby to have died .mind boggling news when a women is at her most vulnerable. As the Consultant [a women] sat writing in my medical notes ; I sat and waited to hear if they were going to offer me some counselling …….. No … when she managed to look up from my notes … she said; ‘is there anything else’
Trauma and grief did not allow me to think straight - for me to respond to her and I just got up and left ; fell in my husband’s arms and wept .he had not been allowed to come in with me to hear the results . He wanted to go back in to see this Consultant but was told; he would have to wait until she was finished with her patients. I pleaded with him for us to go home to my other two children where I knew I could cry in private; so we left
For months and months afterwards I walked around in a cloud of grief; everyone I met had some advice for me ; ‘oh you will soon get over it ‘ or well you did not really know the baby ‘ well-meaning as all these people were – I did not want to listen to this ; so I stopped speaking about my pain, my lovely baby girl who was lying in a grave, instead of being pushed in the pram that I had washed and made ready with all the knitted garments that I had so lovingly knitted. Of course I had known her; she had been with me for nine months !!!
The following year I had a baby boy; all everyone could say to me was - oh it’s a shame it’s not a little girl; I wanted to scream at them, he is alive and well.
18months later I became pregnant again; and at 5 half months I was told my baby had died.. Once again I was traumatized / grief stricken; and gave birth to a little boy. Once again I went to see the Consultant for some answers; this time it was male- once again I did not get any; other than he said ‘ oh these things happen ‘ he did not expand on this few words .
Not expecting any support from a male Consultant; he surprised me by telling me that they had a support unit on site and I could go there straight away. Somehow they had become more aware of the need for grief counselling for women who had given birth to a still born child. However that one hour of counselling I received was all I was offered- no further appointments were made for me. Thankfully my sister Anne was very supportive and minded the other children for me when I was in Hospital; and it was too her house I went to cry all over again.
Thirty five years on from this - I still find myself wondering and thinking what I could have done to have saved my babies; if it was something that I had or had not done that had caused them to die --- they are always with me in my heart and soul.
My heart goes out to the young woman whose story has prompted me to write this. I have rarely if ever spoken about my loss as it was far too painful. Now- knowing what this young lady has suffered so much in Ireland ; it was time to purge myself of this pain. .