the LOST ones



My son died after three days of life. This was in the time when counselling or support was unheard of, 1965. I was not married and held in contempt by my family and peers but this did not lessen the pain or heartache I still feel today.

He died because the delivery theatres were "full with respectable married ladies giving birth" and I was left ignored on the ward and delivered my son myself, alone.

SIDS is not what my child died of, but the fontanel not closing properly during birth e.g. I didn’t know about panting, so the head could shape properly for delivery. I knew he was not 'right' after the birth, I told the nurses he didn’t respond, but I was ignored until they too noticed he was lethargic 36 hours later. He had been bleeding from the soft brain tissue since delivery and was beyond help by the time they took suitable action. I was allowed to see him only once after they noticed he was unwell. He was perfect, 6 lbs, 4 oz, sleeping (?) with limbs slowly going slack.

He was born on 26 October 1965 at 4.35 am and died on 29 October 1965, also, at 4.35 am. I "knew" he had died precisely at that time, a cold clutching within, and when they came to tell me, at 7.30 am I told them to leave me alone as I already knew. Mother Superior told me that "God had delivered me of my living sin" and that I was never to forget that I was just "a vessel for man's dirty water". That was how they told me. I stopped being a catholic that day, forever.

I was not allowed to name my son; my parents and the convent named him Paul. His name to me always was Richard. I was not allowed to go to his funeral, "Requiem of the Angels", held 2 days later, nor was I told where he was actually laid to rest. Many years later, I went to the cemetery and asked to look at the layout plans, and finally found where he was. There was nothing to see, and just a jumble of long grass between two other infant sites. I am told my grandmother actually did visit him and tend his site, but by then she had been dead many years.

I was never officially told the cause of his death so I eventually trained as a midwife while living in England in 1974, purely to understand his cause of death.

Time does not heal, it just dulls, and occasionally the emotions take over when I look back at what I considered to be great injustices done to me back in those days.

I think this site has helped me - it has been a most private part of my life, and I have not shared these details with hardly anyone in my life.

What is the most difficult? Coping with a miscarriage, a still birth, or a death of one who lived a short while? and died needlessly through the incompetence of others.

Why do I still cry after all these years still? 40 years later.

By Denise Moffitt

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