Sunday, 31 May 2015

Joanne: Perception of loss in the worst possible way

I’m angry right now. I really need to stop reading magazines and watching TV.
I’m angry at the media and their portrayal of mother’s in particular that have lost children and the storylines that these programmes give them.

In recent years we have seen for example, Ronnie Mitchell “lose it” after she lost her son to Cot Death a few years ago … What did the writers do? They made her swap her baby with a neighbour and attempt to bring up the child as her own …. So basically mum gone nuts.

For the past few weeks , I’ve been closely watching a storyline in Coronation Street with a character called Jenny … A few weeks ago, I said to Dan, I know where this is going … It’s going to turn out that she is about to pretend another character’s son is her own and it’s going to turn out that she has had a son that as died … lo and behold, I’ve just read a spoiler alert from TV Times and I was completely right …. This is where the storyline is going … I’m not impressed, a) because of the way they send these characters personalities b) because it is focused yet again on the mother of a grieving child.

…. I know unfortunately thousands of people lose children and it is so wrong that it happens but the media really do not help the way in which grieving mothers in particular are perceived … No wonder people in general don’t know how to talk to grieving parents, what to say and what not to say …

The media in these two storylines in particular have portrayed the grieving mums as that they have completely lost it, that they have gone mad!

Yes it hurts, it hurts so bloody much to lose a child but did it make me want to take someone else’s child? No it did not. Did it make me want to jump to my death with someone else’s child? No it did not. Did it make me want to pretend that someone else’s child was my own ? No it did not.

Why, for once, can the media not portray something real, something positive to come from a grieving parent losing their child. Dan and I are not the only parents to do something positive in the memory of their child.

We know of many parents that successfully run charities as legacies for the angel children.

We know lots of people that have fundraised in memory of their children.

Do we know anyone that has lost a child and tried to swap it for another? No, we do not.

Do we know anyone that has lost a child and tried to kidnap another and jump to their death with him/her? No, we do not.

Do we know anyone that has lost a child and likes to pretend A.N.OTHER is their child? No, we do not.

Do we know parents who have made amazing legacies following losing their child? Yes, we do.

Do we know parents who have gone on to have normal healthy relationships with people following losing a child? Yes we do.

Do we know people that have/are dealing with their grief in a completely normal way after losing a child and at no point tried to impersonate being another child’s parent? Yes, we do.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

I apologise to any script writers/media people that may have been involved in writing these storylines if they are offended by what I am writing here… In fact, no hang on, I’m lying here .. I’m not sorry at all. I am not sorry at all that I have just told you that you’ve made me angry, that I am offended by the way that you have portrayed these grieving parents. Can you honestly sit there and say you consider grieving mums when building these storylines? I’m not too sure that you did.

And yes I know it’s just a TV programme.

It has made me wonder whether people have actually done their research into these storylines properly, whether it has actually been considered by these people the effect that they would have on a mum who has lost a child. If this has made me mad, I’m pretty sure there are lots of mums out there that feel the same … Particularly as I don’t get mad that easily at things on TV.

When you lose a child, you do feel like you are going mad, you do feel like you are in your own world, you do feel like no one understands and you do feel completely and utterly alone. And do storylines like this help? Not in the slightest at all.

No wonder that baby loss is such a huge taboo within our society when this is the best type of storyline that a “talented” writer - and I use that word loosely there in this context - can come up with about a grieving mum.

Where are the storylines that show the parents dealing with the grief together? Where are the storylines showing how strong the grieving parents are? Where are the storylines showing legacies and changes being made from the loss of children in soap families?

It’s clear that some people genuinely think that there must now be something not quite right about someone who has lost a child – how can they ever be “normal” again I know some people think.

It’s not like that. It’s not like that at all.

Life doesn’t end when you lose a child. It feels like it does for a while but ultimately it doesn’t. Albeit, there are some very dark places you go when you genuinely think that it would be easier to join them, but the majority of people manage to successfully pull themselves out of these what seem to be never ending dark holes …. and continue with their life.

Life does continue, it never quite feels 100% right again , but it does continue. Without the kidnappings, without the swaps, without the bonkers mums and without the need to want to pretend that someone else’s child is their own.

So peeps, what am I really saying here?

Yes I lost my daughter and it rocked all of my senses,
But I didn’t lose my marbles and have the urge to commit offences.
I didn’t want your child to hug and perceive just as my own,
I just wanted MY child in arms again, the one that I saw born.
I promise I’m not crazy and I promise I’m not my mad,
And I really do appreciate all the genuine support that I have had.
It can be hard for you to understand that I am just the same old me,
Don’t be afraid to ask me questions, I don’t mind, really, feel free.

Love one ( still sane ) mum to an angel xxx

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Joanne and her husband Dan established Millie’s Trust when they tragically lost their daughter during a choking incident when she was at nursery at just 9 months old in October 2012.

They didn’t want her passing to be in vain and they wanted to do something long lasting in her memory, this became Millie’s Trust.

Millie's Trust (registered charity number 1151410) provides First Aid courses at the lowest possible cost and FREE First Aid awareness courses if you are pregnant, have a child under the age of 12 months or are struggling to find the funds to attend. They also provide a Paediatric course for nurseries to ensure more nursery staff become trained.

Joanne also writes on her own blog Same Person, Different Me which is where this blog post was originally published.

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