Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Mumsnet

The arrogance and ignorance of some people never ceases to amaze me.
Over the last few days I’ve been following closely and contributing to discussions on Mumsnet surrounding the Eastender’s storyline. The majority of people ‘get’ why it is so distasteful and why bereaved parents especially are upset by the storyline. (I reiterate I am not upset about the cot death, I think there has been a golden opportunity lost to educate people. I am upset about the sensationalist headline and rating grabbing ill-conceived baby swap).
But there are those (aren’t there always) who are rude, crass and vile in their response to our protest. We, as a group of bereaved parents and those who support us, have been told by these small minded idiots (no other word for them) to “get a grip”,  “it’s not real”,  “it is only a TV programme”,  “turn it off if it upsets you”, “its entertainment” among others, oh and get this one “people die, life’s a bitch”.
The more I read these comments the more infuriated I’m becoming. Now I’m not naïve, and neither do I expect everyone to have the same point of view as me. However what is becoming increasingly irritating is the belittling and blasé attitude from some regarding our experiences and why this current storyline is damaging on so many levels.
So for the record; Eastender’s is turned off in the Morgan household, that is the easy part. No I don’t have to watch it and I don’t intend to. That is not the issue though is it. This storyline has portrayed a newly bereaved mother as dangerous. I and many others have the intelligence to know this is not true to life; however, there are also a significant amount of people who will be watching this plot unfold and believe that this must be what happens to a woman when a baby dies.
It may only be a TV programme but the power of influence it has over our society is immeasurable. Soaps pride themselves on tackling and raising the profile of difficult issues. They proudly claim they research their stories thoroughly and carefully to deliver the content in a realistic to life manner.  Eastender’s have done none of these things in this current storyline.   Instead, because of its influence ill-informed people remain ill-informed at best, at worst their first experience of a bereaved mother is that of baby stealer and now hundreds of vulnerable women up and down the country will in all likely-hood, be viewed with suspicion through their grief.  
Please do not tell me to get a grip on reality and that it is not real. I know IT is not real, I know IT is only a TV programme and believe me I have a very firm grip on reality. I live the reality of a baby’s death every single day.  It is not me who needs educating about the reality of a baby’s death.
You see, my life IS real, my daughter being dead IS real. That IS my reality.
It’s entertainment we’ve been told. How disturbingly worrying that someone could consider the tradegy of a baby dying, real or otherwise, entertaining. But Eastenders were way off the mark with informative, maybe it was entertaining they were going for instead… But enough with me being facetious.  
Most disgustingly of all we’ve been told “People die, life’s a bitch” -  words actually fail me. How very dare someone be so blasé about the death of my child.  Vile.
I think I smell a couple of trolls.
I should step away from these threads, they are doing me no good.  But I’m still there. Why?  I am there because I am furious that a bereaved mother has been portrayed in this manner. You may think melodramatic but it could give people justification to be wary of me, incase I have a complete meltdown and become unhinged.  Because there are actually people out there who will think it to be true because Eastenders said so.
I’m furious because no-one has any idea what Jon and I went through and yet the biggest evening programme in the country saw fit to make a mockery of what happens when a baby dies and that even one person finds its content entertaining. 
I gave birth to Anabelle on the labour ward of the hospital. It was a slow process, an induced labour that was failing to progress until my waters were manually broken at the end of the fifth day. For two of those days I was kept on labour ward, unable to be shielded from the screams of other mother’s in labour or shielded from the cries of the other babies on the ward.
Finally at eight minutes into the sixth day after she died our beautiful daughter was born sleeping. You’ve no idea how in those hours after her birth how hard I willed it all to be a bad dream, how I willed her to breathe, to move, to cry. All a new mother wants is to hear her baby’s first cry. Only I never heard Anabelle cry. Holding my silent daughter I was surrounded by the cries of other newborns, and I hated them, I just wanted to get as far away from them as possible.
Not once did I want to go and swap Anabelle for one of those screaming babies in the rooms surrounding us. I didn’t want them, I wanted her. Anabelle was mine and I’m so very proud of her. I held her for hours not wanting to put her down, knowing that these few hours were the short precious time I was ever going to be able to hold her or look at her. I remember trying to fight a drug induced sleep so that I didn’t have to take my eyes off her. I didn’t want to take my eyes off her.
Handing Anabelle over to go to the mortuary after 12 hours was soul destroying. Even that felt like I was abandoning her. I wanted to keep her with me forever, even just as she was. Equally, walking away from her in her tiny pink coffin in the chapel of rest the afternoon before her funeral was literally heart breaking.  I didn’t want to give my Belle up, in that moment I felt like I could die with my daughter too.
That is the reality.
It has been irresponsible, insulting and damaging of Eastenders to insinuate it could be any other way.   But apparently the reality of a bereaved family does not have enough dramatic effect as it is, and that is the point of making our voices heard.
Thank you Mumsnet for hearing our voices. Thank you for taking the time to listen and using your influence to campaign on our behalf.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Made my cry buckets, Caz. I'm so sorry. Those trolls, or whoever they are on MN need to back off. I would never wish what's happened to you on anyone, but if they ever had the slightest idea..... they are just ignorant, horrible. So much love, beady xxx

Sam H said...

Unfortunately every forum gets trolls (sad but true) and the best thing you can do is ignore them and their vitriol. Hugs to you and Jon xxx

Anonymous said...

Caz - I can't imagine what you and Jon are going through but my thoughts and prayers are with you and your lovely baby girl. Thank you for being so brave and sharing some of your thoughts and feelings.

If you need someone to talk to or even just to stay with you while you cry, Samaritans are there 24/7 to listen: 08457 90 90 90

BitOfFun said...

I am very touched by your words, and extend my most heartfelt sympathy to you. Of course you shouldn't have to deal with this shit, and I will back you 100% in fighting it. Much love to you and your family x

Susan said...

Caroline

I’ve also been extremely upset by the EE circus, but I think for pretty different reasons.

(1) Bereaved mothers are not treated badly (and we often are) because EE ran a baby swap storyline. The reason that posters (and they are not trolls – they are just nasty, small minded individuals) say things like “people die, it’s a bitch” to a mother who has recently lost a child is because that standard of behaviour is widely accepted by society. People on Mumsnet behave like this all this time, and the moderators do bugger all about it. Like EE, their tolerance of this behaviour reflects the societal norm – it may well help to support it – but to focus your anger on EE rather than the wider context is misguided. I think MN is actually guilty of a far worse offence than EE, because its poor moderating allow its member to attack real bereaved mothers on an individual basis – often in catastrophic ways.

(2) The most offensive element for me in all of this is the unavoidable Justine Roberts all over the press expressing outrage – saw this comment on a news article yesterday, and think it is a good summary:
Mumsnet are, apparently, one of those organisations who can be relied upon to be conveniently offended about events that generate publicity and inflate their own sense of involvement and importance.
You’ll recall that I wrote a fairly bland blog expressing concern about how posters on MN treated bereaved mothers, and Justine Roberts personally deleted my account, denying me any ability to reply, and suggested I had fabricated my daughter’s death for attention. How she has the audacity to complain about how EE portrays bereaved mothers is really quite beyond me – and how you see her as a champion is equally puzzling. But good luck with that.

(3) Finally – it is a television programme, and a bad one at that. I haven’t watched it since 1986, and I understand the only character still in it from then is Ian Beale – went to look at the wiki entry and his life is er.... colourful, scary and hugely offensive... Drama loves tragedy, and all drama, from Hamlet to the Major of Casterbridge, to Ian Rankin to the Hans Christian Anderson tales is fairy gruesome... and EE is the worst kind of sensationalism We actually don’t watch almost any TV in our house as it often offends – and I commend that course of action to you. Whilst it is not wrong to complain about such things, how much better would the world be if MN and mothers were incensed about the under-staffing of labour wards hitting the newspapers on New Year’s Eve (which will in all probability result in real babies and mothers dying this year) rather than the treatment of a blinking fictional character.

Susan x

Anonymous said...

I turned East Enders off a long time ago, I can't look at a baby even on television since we lost our son which is why I also know what a headline grabbing load of complete bollocks this storyline is - steal a baby to replace my son? last week I cried in the supermarket because the woman in front of me was buying nappies. So I've turned the TV off but this morning I had to rip 2 pages out of the paper because it had a picture of Kat holding the tiny white coffin, well I've done that so i don't need to see a picture of it. Earlier this week I dreamt someone had given me a baby and told me it was mine, but I knew it wasn't mine and I woke up crying. jmc

Nanny Davies said...

I cried when i read this, remember that we, your family are always here for you and jon!
Television and the media have a lot to answer for when they treat a tragedy like the loss of a child as entertainment.... I have not watched it and i refuse to do so.

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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