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The death of a child is a life-altering event for parents, leading to grief that is individual, intense, and long-lasting. The grief experienced by parents following the death of their child can affect their relationships, and how they sometimes see it, their role within society. Parents can find grief isolating, due to society’s lack of understanding of their grief experience. Parenthood is the phase in human life that seizes the stages of obtaining freedom from the family of origin, and creating loving relationships while having and raising children. The death of a child is hurtful, and children are the bigger part of life. Losing a child is something that few really comprehend. The death of a loved one – family member, friend, child, and infant – is an unavoidable process that all people will experience at some point in life, whether you’re ready or not, and when it happens, it will change everything. Followed by death then comes the process of grieving, which is dealing and coping with the loss of the loved one. This can be very difficult and will be one of the hardest times that you will go through after a loss.

God blessed my wife with her first little girl, and in a blink of an eye, she was gone. My beautiful daughter came into the world one day April 16, 2019, and passed away the same day. Months way before, my wife gained so much more weight than she did when she was pregnant with our two little boys. She constantly told the doctors that something was wrong, yet the doctors just kept brushing it off and saying that this was just a part of pregnancy and it was all in her head. She always made it to all her appointments and was told the same thing over and over. Months down the road, everything seemed to remain the same, she was gaining more weight and swelling had suddenly occurred in her feet, but the doctors kept saying the same thing as they were at the beginning of her pregnancy.

On April 16, 2019, at approximately 4:20 in the morning right, when I was about to leave for work, my wife woke up in excruciating pain. Immediately I called her stepmom, so she can take my wife to the hospital and I can get the boys dressed. When I made it to the hospital, which was right at 4:58 a.m., my wife’s stepmom and she were still waiting in the lobby to be seen. By this time, it’s been quite some time, about an hour and twenty-five minutes, and my wife still has not been seen by a doctor. Somewhere in between the long waiting time my wife started bleeding and wasn’t sure what was going on. The doctors finally rushed her to a room so that they can check the baby’s heartbeat. While they hooked her up to the machines, I can see my wife in so much pain and I knew she just wanted the pain to stop. Meanwhile, the doctors could not get a hold of her OB-GYN, and during the wait, one of the nurses told us the doctor was in the hospital, but when I got a hold of him to figure out what was taking so long, he was unaware of everything and wasn’t even at the hospital. While waiting for my wife’s doctor, the results came back, and it was heartbreaking. The doctor finally got there and quickly did an emergency C-section. Her doctor then told me that my wife is bleeding, and she is at risk of having a seizure and stroke, and she and our baby might not make it. I felt that the doctors were lost and time was not on our side, but in all reality, my wife should have been rushed into emergency surgery as soon as we got there. Because of the doctor’s malpractice, that was the result of my wife and I lost our child. She went weeks of not being heard from the doctors which was also another result of our daughter’s death. Literally the same day her doctor said she had preeclampsia.

Researchers have labeled the death of a child as one of the most tragic events a parent must endure. In a study by the Medical Malpractice Center in the United States, which dealt with the loss of children, “there are between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice with doctors every year” (Weatherspoon, 24). From what I researched, “Birth-related medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other medical staff acts negligently and causes one of the following: injury to the mother or child, wrongful birth, and wrongful pregnancy. Although rare, sometimes a doctor’s medical malpractice causes either the mother or infant, or both, to be injured prior to or during the birth of the baby. Some examples of malpractice that can cause birth-related injuries or death include: negligently failing to control excessive maternal blood loss post-delivery, and negligently failing to monitor the baby’s oxygen intake pre-and-post-delivery” (Boeschen, 1).

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A wise woman told me that grief may seem to last for a lifetime, but it’s only for a season. It’s the one common human experience we all have at one time or another. But we don’t expect it to be the death of our child. Suddenly, without warning, it hit me. I felt guilty after the death of my daughter because I constantly wondered what I could have done differently and were all the signs there for me to know something like this could happen. I thought to myself, could this have been because of something wrong I have done in the past and now it come to hunt me in the future? In the month in a half following my daughter’s death, I felt that no matter how endless my loss or how profound my pain was, the world just doesn’t stop for one family who went through what my wife and I had to go through. I remember thinking how can I ever be happy again? Will God ever bless my wife and me with another little girl? I felt my wife’s pain and I knew the pain she was going through was visible to others, and I would be thinking that this grief that we were feeling would last forever. I was just going through it because I just lost a child. My wife and I weren’t eating for days, so family and friends brought over food for moral support. My wife and I were told that we need to try going to grief and loss therapy and maybe try writing in a journal. With all these thoughts and emotions going through my head, I felt that the suffering of our loss was taking a toll on us and everyone around us. No parent should go through or have this type of unbelievable loss that my wife and I just faced. I’m a big believer that a parent should not bury their child, a child should bury their parents. For most parents, like myself, I feel that I have fulfilled my life and my children are my legacy.

It’s been about a month in a half since my beautiful little girl left this earth, and sometimes I’m still in disbelief. But the work of healing has brought relief to my heart. I now feel a joyful connection with the sweet poem of her memories that I wrote for my daughter. I learned that healing doesn’t mean you’ll never feel sadness, but you’ll be able to have memories without hopelessness. My wife and I have been using a journal, and my journal became my security blanket, so I can empty all my sorrows, while my tears hit the paper of my journal and all my emotions can be at rest. We were going to therapy to get away from everything and everyone, and in doing so, I especially began to form a new relationship with my child, it was as if she was right there in my arms. I felt it was as if she was there the first day she came into the world. As weeks went on, I’d read back over the journal entries and I perceived that I’d overcome this obstacle and that I’d survived another day, another week, another month, and everything was back on track. I now look at my daughter’s death and look at her newborn pictures and I still wish for the life she could have had. With her death, I’ve learned how to live with her loss and not lose myself because of it. I’ve been going to therapy and doing my journals and realized that both were a big part of helping me through this roller coaster.

My wife and I cherish every moment together and try not to let the death of our daughter keep us from not interacting with our two boys. Just recently we discovered that we are good at art, we created beautiful shadow boxes, a quilt, photo collages, and memorial videos, and memorized my wife’s car in memory of our daughter. What we went through has helped my wife and I talk about how we are feeling, and we pray together when times get hard for us, especially when we see little babies in the store, but overall this incident has brought us much closer together than we’ve ever been before.

My daughter’s loss taught me to love harder and appreciate life, and it is too short to waste. It taught me to reach out to others and begin sharing my story in hopes it could reassure other parents who have gone through the same experience my wife and I just faced that there is life after a loss of a child. As days and weeks go by, I’ve learned a parent’s love will never diminish; my love for my daughter will forever remain in my heart and will never leave my side just as if she was still alive. My wife and I will always be her parents, and she will never be forgotten. She will always know that she is my wife’s and my legacy, and as parents, our love for her will never die, no matter what.

In closing, the death of my child was a terrible loss that almost destroyed my family, but with the love and support from our family and friends we were able to bear through this rough patch, but after the death and loss of my daughter my wife and I were able to have the grief we needed. Because death is such a major part of life, only those who experienced it firsthand can truly know what it’s like when dealing with a loss of a child. The death of my child changed how I feel about life and how I view society. Overall, the malpractices of the doctor are what I believe are the main result of my daughter’s death. If the doctors took the time and listen to my wife and weren’t assuming that the weight gain and the swelling around her feet were from her being pregnant, our daughter would still be here today. Even though my wife and I are going through this tragedy, we are going through it together by making sure we are grieving and taking it one day at a time. I make sure that whatever we are feeling, we let it out in our journals and continue going to therapy together. Learning how to grieve is the most important part after going through a loss of a child. Find what works for you and your family and never let death come in between one another and change who you are. You will never forget your child’s death. You may feel that you will never get over the death and loss of your child, but you will overcome the challenges that come along with a loss.

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