Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FSO: The work you do.

 When Dr Peter Tang Ing Bing, gynaecologist and obstetrician, my student took me for a grand tour of his medical centre, he had not read my book. I don't think he knew about my story. I didn't want to take too much of his time.  I did not ask him if he ever had to say, "Thank you for your baby" to a mum.

If I was to ask my students to talk about the work you do, they would probably talk about doctors, nurses, policeman, fireman, teachers, posties, shop keepers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, bankers and spies,. They are all correct. 

Yesterday, I was asked by Sands Auckland to write for their Spring Expression magazine. I went outside the box and thought of all the other people whose work are not recognised. The many volunteers who spend hours and hours, doing jobs that nobody even think of. 

I salute the ladies and men of Sands and those who sew liners for moses baskets for those whose babies who had died. My bouquets from this frangipani is the most unlikely flower to give anyone in Singapore and Malaysia. Over there, it is called the graveyard flower. But to the Sands parents, graveyards are not a taboo subject. Very often, they go there, and linger, to feel for the loved baby they had lost.

Here is my article containing an excerpt from my own book, "Diary of a bereaved mother, goodbye my baby."

Thank you for your baby.

A recent post on Facebook showed three photos. A mum and dad dressed in blue surgery grub, giving their baby girl their last kiss. There was a line of doctors and nurses who were bent in respect.

The caption was, “Thank you, Thank you.”

It reminded me of my own time. We said yes to the doctor’s request if the hospital could have Andrew’s body, because Campomelic syndrome was so rare. After he died, the doctors and nurses came to pay their respects.

When we had him for the morning, a nurse came and told us there was a message from the coroner that we shouldn’t linger as they needed to perform the autopsy.

We walked slowly downstairs back to Ward 11A. We both cried, knowing that separation was imminent. These would be the last few minutes. I buried my head on his. The ward clerk came and touched my shoulders and my head.

The head nurse, Jenny came and I gave her the doll.

“Tell him it’s from me, his mummy.” I eventually handed him over, however reluctant I was. I felt stupid, why would Andrew need his toy.

Jenny said, “On behalf of the hospital, I thank you for him.”

 I walked away without looking back. Otherwise, I might have snatched him back.

It was the saddest thing; we hugged and walked out of Ward 11A. We had empty arms but they were heavy with an invisible load. No wonder people say the death of a child is the ultimate tragedy.

Ann Chin, “Diary of a bereaved mum, goodbye my baby.”


  • Non-Profit Organization
    Sands Auckland Central is a parent-run group supporting families, throughout the Auckland region (mainly North Shore, Central Auckland and Waitakere), who have experienced the death of a baby - at any age or gestation, and in any circumstance.

Sewing Volunteers needed please. Sands Auckland Central provides moses baskets to Auckland, Waitakere and North Shore Hospitals, for babies who have died. We have recently ordered and received more baskets and we need to make liners for these and would really appreciate some help. We have the fabric and ribbon all cut out and ready to sew. If you can help us out, please message us or email to
, Thanks.

  • Thank you so much Ann for the article for Expressions. We always appreciate personal stories and are honoured to be able to share them with our members.

    Your words "We had empty arms but they were heavy with an invisible load" are so poignant and true. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts and feelings so many of us have but are unable to so eloquently write.

    Here is a comment from an usual quarter, no one from Sands.
    Wow, I don't know you and I have not had the loss you have had or felt the pain you felt, but reading this just brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing and selfless thing you did. I'm not sure I would have been able to do it myself, it is hard to know until you are in the situation. I'm sure that this great gift will help the medical professionals and others. Bless you :) Jenny

link to Mr Linky at the Friday shoot out link below.


Reader Wil said...

Dear Ann, how sad to lose a child . You are very brave to write about this . You talk about your students, are you also a teacher?
You asked if there is a synagoge in my place. No there are only a few of them in the Netherlands. Before the war we had 6 million people in this country and 140,000 Jewish citizens mainly in the big cities. After the war 40,000 came back. So 100,000 were killed in the camps. Many synagoges were not longer used for religious purposes . Some of them are used as museums. now there are 150 synagoges in the Netherlands left. Thanks for your visit and comment.

~JarieLyn~ said...

Anne, that last moment with your son is so sad. You are definitely selfless in your act of handing him over for scientific research.
Amazing. How long ago was that? I'm sure you probably think about it everyday and carry your son with you always.

GingerV said...

Ann, You have mentioned your son before, thank you for sharing this additional glimpse into your time with your child.

Pauline said...

What a beautiful, touching post, Ann.

Gattina said...

Very touching post !

Martha Z said...

You make me cry, Anne. The loss of a child or the lost dream can be hard to bare. As much as we love Michael sometimes there is a wistfulness, a longing for what might have been.

Elaine Yim said...

Ann, your words pull at my heartstrings. You were selfless and brave. I have learnt a lot from your thoughts and stories.

Unknown said...

Wonderful story Ann. I am assuming you are in the medical field. My heart shares a loss with you as our first pregnancy was twin daughters and they died 1/2 hour after birth. We will see them again in eternity.