Perception of loss in the worst possible way 

I’m angry right now. I really need to stop reading magazines and watching TV. 
I’m angry at the media and their portrayal of mother’s in particular that have lost children and the storylines that these programmes give them. 
In recent years we have seen for example, Ronnie Mitchell “lose it” after she lost her son to Cot Death a few years ago … What did the writers do? They made her swap her baby with a neighbour and attempt to bring up the child as her own …. So basically mum gone nuts. 

For the past few weeks , I’ve been closely watching a storyline in Coronation Street with a character called Jenny … A few weeks ago, I said to Dan, I know where this is going … It’s going to turn out that she is about to pretend another character’s son is her own and it’s going to turn out that she has had a son that as died … lo and behold, I’ve just read a spoiler alert from TV Times and I was completely right …. This is where the storyline is going … I’m not impressed, a) because of the way they send these characters personalities b) because it is focused yet again on the mother of a grieving child.

…. I know unfortunately thousands of people lose children and it is so wrong that it happens but the media really do not help the way in which grieving mothers in particular are perceived … No wonder people in general don’t know how to talk to grieving parents, what to say and what not to say … 

The media in these two storylines in particular have portrayed the grieving mums as that they have completely lost it, that they have gone mad!
Yes it hurts, it hurts so bloody much to lose a child but did it make me want to take someone else’s child? No it did not. Did it make me want to jump to my death with someone else’s child? No it did not. Did it make me want to pretend that someone else’s child was my own ? No it did not. 
Why for once , can the media not portray something real, something positive to come from a grieving parent losing their child. Dan and I are not the only parents to do something positive in the memory of their child. 
We know of many parents that successfully run charities as legacies for the angel children. 
We know lots of people that have fundraised in memory of their children. 
Do we know anyone that has lost a child and tried to swap it for another ? No, we do not.
Do we know anyone that has lost a child and tried to kidnap another and jump to their death with him/her? No, we do not.
Do we know anyone that has lost a child and likes to pretend A.N.OTHER is their child? No, we do not. 

Do we know parents who have made amazing legacies following losing their child? Yes, we do

Do we know parents who have gone on to have normal healthy relationships with people following losing a child? Yes we do. 
Do we know people that have/are dealing with their grief in a completely normal way after losing a child and at no point tried to impersonate being another child’s parent? Yes, we do. 
Can you see where I’m going with this? 
I apologise to any script writers/media people that may have been involved in writing these storylines if they are offended by what I am writing here… In fact, no hang on, I’m lying here .. I’m not sorry at all. I am not sorry at all that I have just told you that you’ve made me angry, that I am offended by the way that you have portrayed these grieving parents. Can you honestly sit there and say you consider grieving mums when building these storylines? I’m not too sure that you did. 
And yes I know it’s just a TV programme

It has made me wonder whether people have actually done their research into these storylines properly, whether it has actually been considered by these people the effect that they would have on a mum who has lost a child. If this has made me mad, I’m pretty sure there are lots of mums out there that feel the same … Particular as I don’t get mad that easily at things on TV. 
When you lose a child, you do feel like you are going mad, you do feel like you are in your own world, you do feel like no one understands and you do feel completely and utterly alone. And do storylines like this help? Not in the slightest at all. 

No wonder that baby loss is such a huge taboo within our society when this is the best type of storyline that a “talented” writer- and I use that word loosely there in this context, can come up with about a grieving mum.

Where are the storylines that show the parents dealing with the grief together? Where are the storylines showing how strong the grieving parents are? Where are the storylines showing legacies and changes being made from the loss of children in soap families? 

It’s clear that some people genuinely think that there must now be something not quite right about someone who has lost a child – how can they ever be “normal” again I know some people think. 

It’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. 
Life doesn’t end when you lose a child. It feels like it does for a while but ultimately it doesn’t. Albeit, there are some very dark places you go when you genuinely think that it would be easier to join them, but the majority of people manage to successfully pull themselves out of these what seem to be never ending dark holes …. and continue with their life. 
Life does continue, it never quite feels 100% right again , but it does continue. Without the kidnappings, without the swaps, without the bonkers mums and without the need to want to pretend that someone else’s child is their own. 

So peeps, what am I really saying here? 

Yes I lost my daughter and it rocked all of my senses,

But I didn’t lose my marbles and have the urge to commit offences. 

I didn’t want your child to hug and perceive just as my own,

I just wanted MY child in arms again, the one that I saw born. 

I promise I’m not crazy and I promise I’m not my mad,

And I really do appreciate all the genuine support that I have had. 

It can be hard for you to understand that I am just the same old me, 

Don’t be afraid to ask me questions, I don’t mind, really, feel free. 
Love one ( still sane ) mum to an angel xxx

16 thoughts on “Perception of loss in the worst possible way 

    1. Linda

      I couldn’t agree more, Jo. I am a grieving mum too and these sensational storylines do nothing to comfort me or give me hope for the future. I guess the reality would not make good ratings and would be too painful to watch. Please keep going with your blogs, its like reading my own thoughts and feelings. You put raw, painful experiences into words far better than I can.

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  1. Rosie

    One very brave Milly’s Mum as always. The storylines are made to make supposedly entertaining viewing, that’s probably the problem. Why scriptwriters feel the loss of a child and the drastict actions that follow would make a storyline the nation wants to watch beats me. Keep your little star close and enjoy cuddles with the next.x

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  2. Claire

    Joanne, we would love to republish on Loss Through the Looking Glass. We would of course link back to here at to your site for Millie’s Trust. Please email me if you would be interested. Claire x

    (lossthroughthelookingglass@gmail.com)

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  3. Jill clark

    Totally agree with you Joanne. Why can’t they make the outcome of these tragedys happy ones or at least more real? I don’t think they would lose any viewers if they did. Everyone likes a happy story don’t they!

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  4. Sharon

    You hit the nail right on the head with this and you are right to be angry
    Let’s have a real life story not fiction in TV soaps for a change , what so happy endings after traigdy are not worth writers doing as it’s not as a big impact as mum loses child mum goes crazy .
    Hey writers why don’t u try it and see ?

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  5. Sara

    I have never lost a child, but I echoed your sentiments to my partner when watching Coronation Street. It’s a simplistic and reductive portrayal of grief. I pray I never go through what you and many others have. But if, God forbid, I ever did somebody else’s child could obviously never fill the void. You are inspirational Joanne xxx

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    1. JMT Post author

      Hi Sara,

      Thank you for your comment, I especially find this extremely interesting from the perspective of someone who has not lost a child. This proves that the it is not just emotional grieving mummies who are irritated by these storylines – that actually people who have been lucky enough not to lose a child can see it too.

      Really appreciated your feedback and thank you for your lovely comments. x

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  6. helenw87

    I completely agree with your comments about TV story lines. And I have not lost a child. Another thing that they don’t portray properly is the grieving a parent does when loosing a child, even the programmes that don’t make up story lines where the mother goes mad. The parents seem to grieve for a few months and then it’s as If they completely forget that the child existed and they are never mentioned again. No wonder we live in a society where so many people believe the sayings such as ‘it gets easier’ or that there is a time period for grief.

    Loving reading your blog, so open and honest xxx

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  7. Hayley

    You’re absolutely right Joanne and I feel you should be angry, because these writers have no idea – if they did, we wouldn’t see these stories. It happens in programs such as Law & Order; Mum gone mad and stolen a child at the school gates to raise as their own.
    And you’re right that it affects society. It’s hard for someone to understand an experience if you personally haven’t been through it. Soaps and dramas play a HUGE part in ‘educating’ the masses on how a person in that particular position would react. That’s were there taboos come from. That’s why there are stereotypes and stigmas.

    You should send this blog entry to the BBC, ITV etc. if it makes just one person think and change their view, it’s worth it.
    Hayley xx

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  8. Aly F

    Hi Joanne I totally agree with what you have said. Like yourself a few weeks ago I said the same thing to my husband. I think that they need to seriously think about the way they portray subjects like this. they are so concerned about getting other terrible issues correct e.g. a rape seen or domestic violence but don’t do the same for the grief of a child. My friend has recently loss her beautiful son and she is asking people to donate to The Woman’s hospital in his name because of all the amazing care they gave him and her and her husband. He was born 16 weeks premature and fought very bravely for 18 days before he sadly passed away
    Aly xxx

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  9. samantha wilkinson

    Hi joanne…i have only just discovered your blog and its always bittersweet when i read it as i cant imagine how hard losing millie was (and still is). Im a paramedic, and a mother , and being a paramedic has always made me a more worried and anxious mother as i was aware of all the things that could happen to my child that i couldnt control. I was shocked to hear that there isnt extensive first aid training in nurseries – there absoloutely should be! I help with raising public awareness around cpr as part of my job , but the work you do for millies trust is fantastic. You are all doing an amazing job. Lots of love xx

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  10. Maggie Wolstencroft

    You are completely correct in every aspect in what you are saying…I haven’t lost a child, so it would be wrong to say…I know how you feel, I can only imagine, I have lost very close family, & that was horrendous ( still is) so what you & so many other Angel mummy’s go through, must me a million times worse…so if anyone can get these script writers to even try to understand you very brave, mummy’s ….then once again Joanne & Dan…you have once again, helped so many people…you never cease to amaze me & many other people…two of my daughters have been on your courses, & one of them had a baby, ( caesarean) who was choking on mucus, & your course helped with her, when the baby was choking…common with section babies…she got blue lighted to hospital on two occasions…but at least she managed to do the procedure that your course taught her, so thank you from the bottom of my heart…xxx

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  11. Rio

    i can’t explain how glad I am to read this.. It’s so ridiculous how grieving mothers are portrayed!
    I lost my son to cot death a year ago, and one thing that stands out in my memory is my next door neighbours reaction. Her son was a week younger than mine.. She actually wrote in my ‘with sympathy’ card that it would be better if I didn’t pop round anymore so I wouldn’t see him. She acted like she was scared of me!
    And bumping into an old ‘friend’ who had just had a baby, she literally turned the pushchair around and made excuses to get away from me as quickly as possible.
    I really do blame storylines like this for that kind of reaction. Why the hell would I want someone else’s kid?! I want Jacob, every waking moment, but I live with that.
    I think we should actually complain really x

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