To be a little harsh here Honey

“There’s your baby’s heartbeat,” said the sonographer, pointing to the screen as we listened to the thump-thump-thump that was the most magical sound I had ever heard. A week later, the next scan showed that this beautiful twinkling heartbeat had gone, and our baby had died. I couldn’t face having to wait to pass the pregnancy sac, so I opted for surgery: a procedure called an ERPC: “evacuation of retained products of conception”.

I remember thinking that “evacuation” sounded like something you’d have done to your bowels. “Products of conception” might be the correct clinical term,  but to us, as a grieving couple, that was our dead baby: our much longed-for baby, who was already loved and anticipated as a unique human being, not simply an object to be discarded.

From the outset of your antenatal care, the NHS refers to “your baby”,  acknowledging that the stage of gestation doesn’t determine the meaning of the pregnancy to the family. But as soon as the pregnancy is “non-viable”, there’s an immediate and stark switch in the language used. Bethan Raymond lost her daughter Bella at 16 weeks. “I was told over the phone that my – still very much alive – baby girl had a fatal chromosomal abnormality, and would therefore die,” she told me. “I’d barely had time to process this when I was asked how I wanted to dispose of the products of conception.”

Well, what language should we be using then? If you didn’t want the baby and were having an abortion then you’d scream blue bloody murder if we all went around saying you were getting rid of your baby, wouldn’t you? It’s a gob of meiotic cells or summat if you don’t want it.

And the thing is, what it is isn’t dependent upon your view. It is – it is what it is too.

10 comments on “To be a little harsh here Honey

  1. “And the thing is, what it is isn’t dependent upon your view.”

    But that’s exactly what they believe about everything. If it fits the narritive then it’s correct and fuck reality.

  2. I dunno, Tim:

    “I was told over the phone that my – still very much alive – baby girl had a fatal chromosomal abnormality, and would therefore die,” she told me. “I’d barely had time to process this when I was asked how I wanted to dispose of the products of conception.”

    Maybe we should expect NHS staff to behave with normal human empathy?

    Yes, they’re tired, overworked, and a lot of them barely speak English, but still…

    Anyway, this is true:

    From the outset of your antenatal care, the NHS refers to “your baby”,  acknowledging that the stage of gestation doesn’t determine the meaning of the pregnancy to the family. But as soon as the pregnancy is “non-viable”, there’s an immediate and stark switch in the language used

    And it undelines just how sick abortion is.

  3. Don’t understand your point at all, Tim. You appear to be accusing this particular person of double standards, but I see no evidence. This seems to me to be someone who is devastated about the loss of their unborn baby. Having been there, I have every sympathy with her. We had our little lad christened Mark at the hospital immediately after he was delivered and he had a funeral and was cremated. He has a memorial plaque. Every May 20th, I still struggle, even though this year it was 31 years after he was born and died.

    Ten years after his death, we were completely stunned to discover that MrsBud was pregnant, something we had not contemplated in the least and which very much disrupted our plans. We never contemplated abortion because, for us personally, that is not an acceptable course of action. Last month she turned 21, much loved by her mum and dad, her siblings, wider family and friends.

    That said, we’re not opposed to abortion for those who don’t share our values. I don’t feel a hypocrite, it is just that I’m prepared to accept that people have different values and I choose not to judge those whose values are different from mine.

  4. DocBud

    He’s accusi g tje medical profdzsion of double standards. Or rather I supposeof adopting whatever standard is convenient to justify whatever it has decided to do today.

  5. DocBud – I think the hardest part of being a parent is that we don’t get to keep our children. Just hold their little hands for a time.

    And sometimes, that time is tragically short.

    I’m sorry about your son.

  6. Thanks, Steve,

    Interestingly, MrsBud, doesn’t struggle as I do. As a mental health social worker, she no doubt considers my behaviour unhealthy, but she doesn’t tell me so (we’ve had the fight about me wanting a wife not a social worker). I do however accept that I would not change things if I could. A year after Mark, we had Lisa, something that would not have happened had Mark survived. Lisa has two daughters. I cannot wish that Mark would have survived as that would have deprived us of Lisa and two granddaughters.

  7. (i) “I choose not to judge those whose values are different from mine.” You Nazi, you.

    (ii) “Bethan Raymond lost her daughter Bella at 16 weeks.” I implore you, people, don’t name your baby until he or she is safely born.

    (iii) Well said, Steve.

  8. As DocBud says, it doesn’t come across to me that she has double standards. She comes across as a grieving mother and that’s what so shocking about the NHS. Every person with the empathy of a potato or better would understand that telling a woman that the “product of conception” had died inside her should use gentle language. If the woman is in for an abortion then use medical language but a normal maternity visit use “baby”. However given the low talent of the push and breathe brigade I expect they wouldn’t even manage that simple request.

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