“I had to give birth to my stillborn son and nobody cares about me,” says Claudia Gómez, 35, who has experienced two gestational deaths: one before 180 days of gestation and the other after. In his first abortion, he did not have permission, but they gave him a common sick leave unlike the other, where he had more time to recover. This difference is due to the fact that in Spain maternity leave exists in cases of perinatal death, but only when six months of pregnancy have been exceeded.
Gómez has decided to start a petition on the platform change.org in order to put pressure on state authorities. With the title: I suffered two gestational deaths and my pain matters. Gestational Grief Leave NOW!, the initiative has more than 31,206 signatures – at the end of this article – of the 35,000 that it intends to obtain.
This Madrilenian explains that pain in cases of gestational death does not understand days or weeks. “The permit only exists for those mothers who lose their children after 180 days, despite the fact that 80% of spontaneous abortions occur in the first 13”, he emphasizes.
A few weeks ago the news came out that New Zealand has unanimously approved a bill to grant a three-day bereavement leave in cases of pregnancy loss. The measure, which will become law, represents an important improvement of the current legislation that already contemplated paid leave when perinatal death occurred after 20 weeks.
Seeing this, it occurred to Gómez that she could help make this a reality in Spain as well and decided to start raising awareness about this topic from their social networks and now it is collecting signatures. “Beyond achieving the proposed objective, I want to raise my voice so that this problem is no longer invisible in society,” says Gómez.
“It is urgent that it be regulated without an arbitrary period of time, that physical and mental grief be recognized and that it includes the couple who are part of the equation and also suffer,” denounces Gómez who has suffered physical pain in the first person and psychological of a gestational death. The three words that started both duels were: “There is no heartbeat.”
“No one is prepared to hear this phrase, but the worst comes later. I had to give birth to my second baby, Hugo, who died in my womb at 17 weeks gestation and I will never forget the sensation of feeling his small body between my thighs and for the nurse to put a sheet over me so I wouldn’t see it, ”she recalls. “Later a gynecologist arrived who said to another: Bring that boat to put the baby in,” she says.
On Change.org it’s not the first time that a petition on this subject moves many signatures. Beatriz Rodríguez managed through her activism in networks to change the state law in her region. “Perinatal death exists and those of us who suffer it would help us a lot if a specific action protocol will be applied in the hospitals where we give birth. I don’t want any woman to go through what I had to go through, ”says Rodríguez, who gave birth to her lifeless daughter when she was 41 weeks pregnant. In his request, he explains that no one at his hospital prepared him for what became a traumatic experience. He assures that tact, communication and information were lacking.
“I can’t find the heartbeat,” they told him. After confirming with other professionals, they gave him the worst news: the girl had died before being born. “We are going to induce labor,” they warned him.
According to her story, no one prepared her for what she would have to live. “I gave birth to my daughter without life as if it were a common childbirth. They took me to a room where I was surrounded by mothers with their newborn babies ”.
For this reason, since then she has been asking for a perinatal death protocol, so that no one has to go through what she went through. The protocol includes measures such as psychological assistance, support from minute 0 and training so that professionals know how to act in these cases. With his petition he has collected to date more than 235,000 signatures and hundreds of comments that claim to have had similar experiences.
Rodríguez now continues to pursue the protocol to be established in all hospitals in Spain. For this, he has traveled to Madrid to deliver his signatures to the Ministry of Health, but despite his multiple calls, emails and requests for a meeting, he is still waiting for a response from the Government.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.