Why Baby Loss Matters
A review of the book 'Why Baby Loss Matters' by Kay King.
Why Baby Loss Matters
No matter the circumstances, baby loss is devastating. It is heart-wrenching and difficult to talk about with others. But Kay King, a doula and grief recovery method specialist, took a very personal and emotional experience, and embraced it. She sympathised with her readers and made them feel seen and heard. King made her book feel like a comforting hug for those hurting.
The book opens with a picturesque seen: one of sorrow and grief but brought forth with a sense of comfort. King had lit 212 candles on her desk and named each one for a baby that had passed. She wanted each parent to feel seen, be heard, be comforted and told that they are not alone. She wanted each person to know that she is with them and that she understands.
There is one quote within the book that stuck with me; it made me pause and truly reflect on baby loss and parents that are experiencing it: ‘Baby loss is unquantifiable and intimate, it is misunderstood and often hidden, it is lonely and can be desperately sad. Every individual experience of it matters.’ This really resonated with me because it showed how difficult baby loss is and how traumatic the experience is for parents.
Throughout her book, King encourages her readers to open up about not only the passing of their baby but about the hopes, memories, birth story and difficult decisions they have made. She wants her readers to talk about the lost identities parents are experiencing, the impact on the baby's siblings and the events after the baby's passing. She holds an open and honest conversation with her readers so that they can truly relate and express their feelings over the situation.
One of the main topics that King covers that I thought was so important was the loss of identity within parents after the passing of their baby. A lot of new parents had spoken about how their role as a parent was forgotten; people stopped seeing them as such because they didn't have a physical baby. Places that were once welcoming and supportive of them during their pregnancy where suddenly not there. They were excluded from pregnancy yoga, toddler groups and so forth, which aided in their feelings of isolation.
King goes into detail about empathy, sympathy and recovery throughout her book. She breaks down the differences in dealing with a traumatic loss, not only in spouses but also the family of those who had a baby loss. She talks with various psychologists and experts on different ways to achieve emotional empathy and how to practice it with someone who is going through a loss. She also breaks down the daunting and unattainable feelings that are associated with the term ‘recovery’. It is a point where a parent feels better, where they can share their experiences without being overcome with grief and without it affecting other people. It does not mean they are entirely healed but they are able to move on and live a healthy life.
Something I thought was incredibly interesting within this book was how King broke down why baby loss happens. She went into depth about different experiences – stillbirth, neonatal, miscarriages and even stepparent baby loss – each with their own explanations and actual case studies. This part of the book stood out to me because everyone's situation is unique and to have a book that talks about loss in general but then dives down into their unique situation is incredible. Its adaptable to a population as a whole as well as to individual people.
King magnificently took a devastatingly traumatic topic and was able to break it down to discuss the hardships while also offering a comforting embrace. She expertly walked parents through their grief in understanding what they were going through, remembering their baby and talking openly about the unexpected change in their life. She is helpful, insightful and connected with the reader on a different level to ensure that they are not alone. I would highly recommend this book for anybody, not just parents undergoing a loss but for those who were touched—even in the smallest way—by a loss of a baby.