Sunday, 23 January 2011

here's a question for you.

i've been reading a couple of books about birth. one is Stand and Deliver!: And other Brilliant Ways to Give Birth > and one is Birth Skills: Proven pain-management techniques for your labour and birth . and they're very interesting, yadda yadda yadda, and make me realise that i really do need to prepare for birth starting earlier rather than later.


the books don't mention stillbirth. not at all. not even in passing. not even contact details for SANDS. and... i don't know. i can even (kind of) understand pregnancy books not discussing it, at least not properly. because they are more general. but it seems extremely remiss, knowing that 17 babies die before or shortly after birth every day in the UK, to leave that fact out of a book about the process of giving birth. not even to give the contact details for SANDS.

what do you think?


Miss Ruby said...

I can totally understand it. Most pregnancy books want to focus on the POSITIVE rather than the NEGATIVE, more book sales that way ya know?

It would be a very brave author/book publisher who covered ALL areas of birth even the negative ones - that being said I've seen plenty of books over here that have discussed stillbirth within their pages. Plus even though stillbirth IS a reality, few people who are pregnant want to acknowledge it, no matter that it COULD happen to them.

Which is probably why you find so many books written about it from a perspective of AFTER the event, rather than before it could possibly happen.

It's still one of those topics that even though we know we SHOULD be talking about it out in the open, few do - yet.


Catherine W said...

Tee hee! I have to say that it was this issue (or the lack of this issue) that caused me to hurl one of those Bounty magazines I mentioned across the room.

I really like the standard NHS Pregnancy Book (which I never had during my first pregnancy sadly) which does devote some pages to complications, premature birth, stillbirth and neonatal death amongst them. I don't think it is something that needs to be dwelt upon or over played in a pregnancy book (thankfully they are all comparatively rare) but to pretend that these things NEVER happen just seems daft.

I think that people would probably not read them in detail. I know I skipped over the 'loss of a twin' section in the books I read about twins. Nice work there me. But, even if it simply acts to make people aware that this can, sadly, be the outcome I think it has done its job. It is an awful thing to happen and I feel that awfulness can be compounded by the feelings of isolation and loneliness, as though you are the only person in the world not able to carry off a 'normal' pregnancy. I think that most books would do well to at least acknowledge the reality that not all births end happily.

Brooke said...

So many pregnancy books cover possible birth defects and other kinds of complications quite thoroughly and don't mention stillbirth AT ALL. As relatively common as it is (compared to Downs Syndrome, for example) I think it ought to be mentioned. I probably would have skipped it and thought it was "creepy," but I definitely would have looked it up when I got home from the hospital without my baby.

B said...

Thanks all.

catherine - 'I don't think it is something that needs to be dwelt upon or over played in a pregnancy book (thankfully they are all comparatively rare) but to pretend that these things NEVER happen just seems daft.'

exactly. it's not that i want chapters and chapters, just a mention that yes, it happens, and the contact details for people who are there to help. it will always be the most horrendous shock for anyone it ever happens to - BUT - the fact it doesn't get mentioned anywhere just makes the ones it happens to feel even more they are the only ones ever to be struck by lightning.

Hope's Mama said...

It really irks me. I know I went back and looked at my pregnancy books after losing Hope and most didn't mention a thing about stillbirth. If they did, it was very, very brief and said stupid things like "the parents often experience feelings of grief after the loss". I wondered what on earth I had missed, but it turns out nothing, as there was nothing to read about it. I sent a narky letter to a magazine once that all expectant mums get here in Australia as it didn't mention stillbirth at all. It mentioned miscarriage and some labour complications, but NOTHING about stillbirth. They never replied.
I know most will skim over these details and I probably would have as well but I strongly believe greater awareness of this huge public health issue could save more lives. If I knew more about stillbirth, I really do think Hope could be here.
I don't think it is about only showing positive outcomes or not wanting to show negative outcomes, I just think these publications should show realistic outcomes and tragically stillbirth is a big fat reality for far too many of us.

(sorry, massive comment there!)