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Letters To The Other Chair

To the mum who knows why…

I have spoken a lot recently about the “Tell Me Why” campaign that Tommy’s have launched; a campaign to help fight for answers when a baby dies.  However, for many people, there is a known reason – and tragically for a number of these families, this could have been prevented.

In her letter, Alison talks about her experience of losing her son Sebastian due to medical malpractice. Whilst the pain of loss is universal, realising that your child has died due to errors made by others is complex.  There are many layers to unpick and understand, which can make grief all the more challenging.  Alison, articulates this beautifully here and you can read more about Sebby on Instagram @thankyousebby

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To the Mum who just found out her baby died due to medical malpractice,

This makes it both easier and harder. 

There is a relief in hearing your son died because of another’s actions. That is OK. You don’t need to feel guilty about it. You feel that relief because it means your secret fear that you killed your child is not true. 

It doesn’t mean that fear won’t still lurk in the background. It will tell you that you should have known they weren’t doing their jobs properly; it will tell you that you should have had a home birth; it will tell you that you should have gone into labour a day later and had a different medical team. But it does mean that when you cannot trust your own head and heart and the feeling that you are to blame is overwhelming that you can revert back to the medical report; you can revert back to the consultant with whom you had a debrief; you can revert back to the Coroner who all said that your son died because of them and not because of you. That will help you take a breath. 

This new knowledge will, however, also make it harder. Now you are not only grieving for your son and the life you wanted with him but you are also grieving for your naive security blanket that was woven together with the assumption that people ‘have got this’. You know that the staff did not go out to kill your son. But you also know that they made grave mistakes whilst they were telling you everything was fine. So how do you trust anyone who tells you everything is fine now? How do you not constantly worry big, bad, life and death mistakes are being made all around you and you don’t know about it because everyone is telling you everything is fine? 

Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for you. But I can tell you that, like the grief for your son that you are so used to, the intensity of those worries that stop you in your tracks come and go like waves. Just as you think it is too much to handle, you take a breath and the intensity dials back.

But the most important thing I can tell you is that how he died will not be on your mind daily. What happened to him was tragic but he is not tragic. Your focus will be on him. On the love and pride you feel for him. On all the things you now see and feel because of him. On the joy he brings you and his constant presence in your heart and life. When it comes down to it, that is what matters.

Love, 

The Mum who found out two years ago that her baby died due to medical malpractice.

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