Nowadays we all understand the traumatic impact of stillbirth but as recently as the mid-1980s this trauma was treated very differently. Stillborn babies were removed from parents immediately, never to be seen again, and grieving was actively discouraged.
Parents often did not even know the gender of their baby or have the chance to give their baby a name.
Parents were not involved in any way in the laying of their babies to rest. Stillborn babies were often buried in mass graves with other such babies or with random hospital patients who died at around the same time in hospital. Ashes from cremations were not given to parents. Traumatised and grieving parents were not afforded any of the rituals associated with the loss of a loved one, which can be so important to the grieving process.
Now, many parents from decades ago whose babies were stillborn are doing all they can to try to find out where their babies are buried. This can prove difficult due to the above culture at the time. All parents trying to locate their babies’ graves should be afforded all the help that can be given to them to do so by the relevant authorities. Click below to hear my speech on this important and heartbreaking issue: