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.

Monday, 13 August 2012

DHACs and Jason Manford

Jason Manford, I salute you. 

Today you have been a voice for bereaved parents of stillborn babies everywhere. Today you've given the judging "don't have a clue's" of this world what for. Or as I like to label them; DHACs. Unfortunately as a bereaved parent it is guaranteed you will encounter a DHAC. 

There are the DHACs who try to be kind and supportive, but are misguided with some comment they make that inadvertently cause you pain. These are the DHACs that at least try to have empathy and show human compassion. 

But then there are the type of DHACs that commented on Jason Manford's status update last night. 

Jason had applauded Gary Barlow on the strength he had mustered to still perform at the closing ceremony of the Olympics, despite his world being shattered mere days before with his daughter's, Poppy, death.  

I wish I could say it was unbelievable that some people felt it was appropriate to make some of the comments that followed, but when walking that path of bereavement it quickly becomes apparent that people presume the right to judge your pain. Even more so through the relative anonymity of the internet. And so there they were; those types of DHACs, the ones judging Gary Barlow for performing, for leaving his grieving wife and children to be part of the Olympics. 

I have yet to see the entirety of the closing ceremony, I haven't seen Take That's performance. I cannot pretend to understand how or why Gary Barlow decided or managed to perform Sunday night, but you know what? It doesn't matter what we understand. It may not be the course of action you think he should take, or even know it wouldn't be the course of action you would take, but that doesn't mean Gary Barlow isn't entitled to take it. The days, weeks, months, years after the death of your child is a profoundly personal journey. You do what it takes to survive, you do what you need to do. Clearly Gary and his wife decided performing Sunday night was best for them. And that should be all that matters. It certainly doesn't negate the searing pain they will be feeling.  

I'm in no doubt that his performance took great courage and strength beyond what he believed he ever had. I am in no doubt that Gary Barlow is a broken man changed forever. I am in no doubt, because although our lives are at polar ends when it comes to celebrity status and lifestyle we have one huge thing in common. Our daughters are dead. That kind of grief, traumatic event that doesn't discriminate through the classes. His life is  irreparably changed, just as my life is irreparably changed. 

But the comments didn't stop at judging his reasons to perform. There was another one; described by Jason Manford as 'Person D'. 

Person D went one step further. Person D sat in judgement on the severity of Gary's grief.  Person D arguably the worst DHAC of them all. Person D who had taken it upon himself to decide that losing Poppy really wasn't that bad at all, because she hadn't lived properly. Person D had cruelly made the assumption, as so many do, that our stillborn children are not real, not worthy. Person D adding in for hurtful good measure the comparison to an older child's death as worse. Person D clearly not getting it. 

Person D evidently is a  DHAC of the highest order. 

Stillbirth is still so grossly misunderstood and misrepresented. Anabelle is no less a member of this family because she died before she was born. Poppy is no less a member of the Barlow family. Anabelle is no less my daughter than any of yours here on earth, and neither is Poppy to the Barlow's.  It is vile to suggest as Person D has that their death somehow impacts less on the family simply because they were born asleep.  

Person D and all other hurtful DHACs; you've no idea the trauma of giving birth to the deafening sound of silence. The trauma of labouring for your precious baby already gone. The trauma of fleetingly holding your precious child in your arms before having to say goodbye forever. The trauma of what forever really means as it lives with you day in day out. 

Today Jason Manford has written a response to these people, a response which has gone a bit viral.  I implore you to take a read of it. Powerfully and eloquently written, Jason has inadvertently become the ambassador for bereaved parents, giving you a glimpse into our world, putting these incompassionate DHACs in their place. 

Thank you Jason Manford. Thank you. 


Abi C said...

I just spent 5 minutes reading the thing by Jason Manford & crying. I have a lot of respect for him now!

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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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