Many families who experience miscarriage or stillbirth want to have genetic testing done both on themselves and on the baby. They want to know “why” this horrible experience happened. When it comes to miscarriage, many women are told that they must endure three miscarriages before testing will be done. They are rarely given the option to pay for it themselves nor are they told about private labs that provide testing.
With both miscarriage and stillbirth, there is only a 50/50 chance of any “diagnosis” being found. It is just as rare to receive the “why” as it is to be told, “your baby was perfect and we don’t know why.” Even with a reason, many families don’t find peace. “A knot in the cord, a genetic anomaly, a congenital defect,” are just some of the reasons families are given for their baby’s death. “What can we do to prevent this from happening again?” the family might ask?
“Nothing,” the doctor replies. “We can do genetic testing earlier and then you can decide how to proceed.”
Of course, there are probably other options that we won’t discuss here such as embryo selection.
Hearing that your baby was perfect may not bring peace either. “If my baby was so perfect, my baby would be with me,” explains a grieving mother.
Each mother might be left with doubt. Doubt about her health, doubt about her body, concern for what she did or didn’t do during her pregnancy. “Did I eat something bad? Did I exercise too hard? Was the shower too hot? Did I breathe in too much gasoline at the pump? Was I exposed to something that caused this?”
Doubt! It’s a horrible part of the grief journey. It’s almost always there.
What if instead of saying, “your baby was perfect,” doctors began to say, “We do not yet have the medical technology to find out why your baby died.” This statement alone, can reduce much of that doubt. This statement alone suggests there still might be a reason. Because there very well could be a reason.
Would hearing this statement have helped you on your grief journey? Would hearing this statement leave us in the same place we were before? We want a reason. We need a reason. Even if it’s not a reason we are comfortable with, it’s easier to say, “my daughter died because of low progesterone, vs. she was a perfect embryo and we don’t know why.”
“Why” was something I was looking for and paid for, yet did not receive. There were issues with why I didn’t get a “diagnosis.” I have my speculations but I couldn’t have it confirmed. “Maternal tissue only” was presented to the pathologist.
So what do you think? Would changing the words help you find peace?