Sunday, June 26, 2011

Diary of a Breaved Mother: Wonderful friends

Gary and Janice Corbett and their children.

When we left New Zealand for Singapore in July 1990, our friends gave us a big party at Gary and Janice Corbetts' house at Mt Eden. Ian Destigter took a lot of photos which helped me remember of all our friends in New Zealand.

From the first chapter of my book, you will read my reference to these two couples. These friends are gems, and they did so much practical things to help me during my difficult time. Ian and Dawn's house became a second home to my girls, Deborah and Gabrielle.

They will always remain a special place in my heart. When you know them, you will understand how I was able to survive through my worst case scenario.

Ian and Dawn Destigter and their children.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Diary of a bereaved Mother: Feedback

A reader went on facebook to tell me that she did a post on her blog on me. It is wonderful for her to do it, and as you read her post, you will think how uncanny it is that our lives are intertwined in so many ways. Yet, it seems impossible that we should meet. For it is like what Robert Frost had written,

Two roads meet, and I took the one less traveled.

Indeed, Elizabeth had traveled all the way from South Africa, and I from Borneo, and we meet in New Zealand.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him." Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Ann is a woman in my local church here in Auckland, New Zealand. She is an immigrant like me. She is a mother like me. We both have a baby in heaven. My baby died before I was 2 months pregnant, but Ann's baby was born ... he lived ... and he died.

Ann's story is a sad story. It tells of her Andrew. Precious Andrew who lived for 55 days. Andrew and I share the same birthday - 29 September. It is interesting the connections we find with people.

I haven't finished reading Ann's book. I find sometimes I can't put it down ... other times I just have to put it down and take a deep breath. It is a book written with raw honesty. Ann lets you look into her soul.

This book will touch your heart and your soul.

Ann's addressed this book to "The Beareved", "The Care Givers", "The Medical Personnel" and "The General Reader" in the hope that it will encourage and strengthen those who have walked / will walk a similar path and to help those who walk beside them.

This is Ann's opening words in her book:

Diary of a bereaved Mother: Front page

The greatest tragedy
A white head buries a black head.
~Ancient Chinese Adage~

In the book of fairy tales,

Girl meets boy,

They fall in love,

They marry,

They have children,

They live happily ever after.

In the book of melancholy,

The owl hoots,

The crow caws,

A loved child is taken,

A hole in the ground,

The heart bleeds.

In the book of Christianity,

Reach out,

Cry out,

There is comfort,

There is healing,

There is light.

This is my story in a nut shell.

~Ann Chin~


Ann said...

Thanks Elizabeth, this is beautifully written.

In deed our lives are connected in so many ways. That morning when you were telling your story in church, I was crying, I saw a younger version of me in you. Kay tapped on my shoulder and asked if I was alright.

That was why I came to hug you and send you my email though I had been in church for 5 years, we never spoke.

God brought us together that only he knows why, but I know , we both have a special gift, to comfort another grieving mum.
June 25, 2011 11:24 PM
Elizabeth said...

Ann, Thank you for your encouragement. I know that your book will touch many lives.

Our Village is a Little Different said...
I think this book will be a wonderful gift for bereaved mothers. The loss of a child is so painful and isolating - because nobody wants to talk about it. But the worst thing for a mother, and a marriage is to keep that enormous grief inside!

I hope writing it was good for her soul. I know that this will touch, (and hopefully help heal) many other women who may feel alone.

June 25, 2011 11:32 PM

Friday, June 24, 2011

Diary of a Bereaved Mother: Lyn Kriegler

lyn kriegler

Lyn Kriegler is a book illustrator, scriptwriter and oral storyteller. Originally from the United States, born in a town at the Niagara Fall. Her career as a staff artist and art director saw her work for a variety of organisations such as Mademoiselle, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post.

In 1974 Kriegler immigrated to New Zealand and has since illustrated 22 picture books, seven chapter books and 25 readers. In 2006 she illustrated Margaret Mahy’s Family Surprises, and more recently she has written her own book, Mister Minty (illustrated by Blair Sayer).

I was very honored to spend time with Lyn when she came to my school to speak to the children. She gave me two illustrations and one was signed. She told the kid who got one that he could sell it on Trade me. We talked about my next book.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Diary of a Bereaved Mother: Flowers 2


Narcissus 'Erlicheer' double flowered narcissus
Narcissus 'Erlicheer' belongs to the plant family AMARYLLIDACE and Genus Narcissus

A fan brought me this bunch of Erlicheer. It is winter here, and the florist told her that this is a hot house variety. It brings "early cheer" to the recipient.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diary of a Bereaved Mother: Book Order

What greater honor is it to walk to the bookshop of the Universities where you are an Alumni to see them sell your book.

The University Bookshop of Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology, both of which I am an alumni approached me and placed a big order.

With this comment:

It looks like the sort of book we’d do well with in store.

We’ll also promote your title to our library /school customers in our newsletter.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Diary of a Bereaved Mother: Hospital administration

21 years after I became a bereaved mother, Wilemina and Jaccob Simeon were made to wait in a public waiting room with her still birth baby.

This reminded me when I delivered my very sick baby, he was rushed to ICU. I was allocated to a normal ward with two other mothers with normal babies. I was there for about 6 hours before my baby's pediatrician moved me to a private room. I am very thankful for him.

I do not wish for any one to go through what I had to go through. It was just cruel to let a mother with a very sick baby to share a room with healthy babies. Where was my obstetrics specialist who should have be there during my delivery?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

diary of a bereaved mother: Flowers

A fan sent me these lovely orchids to my school. The school receptionist brought it to my room.

My students went wow! and they asked, "From your boyfriend?"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Diary of a bereaved Mother: You got mail

Dear Ann,
Your book….it was a book I could not put down…….I kept reading even though I needed a break. Well done. It is so brave of you to put on paper such deep, raw feeling. I learnt a lot.
My mother-in-law lost a girl…R. R and I sat next to each other at a small primary school. Then it was a tiny and full of “farmers’ kids.” R was new and used to town kids. She had only been in the district about 18 months when a boy along the road shot her with a gun for teasing him about being a softy for needing a plaster on a little cut.
It has been nearly 60 years ago. The school’s counselling….well it was effective, I suppose….we were to get the strap if we even mentioned anything about the shooting. My husband who was R’s older brother has only spoken of it twice. It was never mentioned in his family…yet it was always there.
You made me sad, as I wished I had read your book long ago. I would have had a better idea of my mother-in-law’s pain. I must have reminded my mother-in-law of what R could have been all the years I knew her. (R was my mother-in-law’s only daughter.)
All the best for the future.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Diary of a bereaved Mother: Newspaper article

The local newspaper magazine did a feature article on me.
This magazine comes with the New Zealand Herald, one of the biggest mainstream newspaper in the country.

Words of healing
Rebecca Blithe | 3rd June 2011

Ann Chin has published a book about the death of her infant son. Photo / Kellie Blizard
A mother's account of the death of her newborn son has been turned into a book in the hope it will help other mothers heal. Rebecca Blithe meets the author.

"The specialist said, 'You're going to have a normal baby'," says Ann Chin, as she sits with a pile of her recently published book, Diary of a Bereaved Mother.

But the days that followed the birth of her son, Andrew, proved anything but normal.

"Once I had my baby they realised he was dying," she says, of his diagnosis of Campomelic syndrome; a bone and cartilage condition resulting in short limbs and breathing problems because of a small chest capacity.

"They knew because of the scans, but they didn't investigate because it was a rare thing," she says, of the abnormalities. "When the baby was born, they resuscitated him. He was going to die that night. He survived for 55 days.

"One afternoon I was told he had died. He stopped breathing, he turned black, he was dead for half of the afternoon. Then he began breathing again." Describing that afternoon, the author seems lost for words. "You can't really give words, except that it was heart-wrenching, I was in a black tunnel."

During this period, Mrs Chin stayed in the nurses' home at National Women's Hospital, awaiting her baby's death, and writing.

"It was not only a diary for myself but I was writing letters to family in Australia and Singapore.


I kept carbon copies," she says, adding her father had made his six children write daily compositions from a young age.

Twenty-one years later, after meeting other women who lost children, she decided to revisit her ordeal, in the hope of helping mothers cope and those close to them understand. "Six hundred babies a year die. That's more than the road toll. [Compared to the funding for road safety] there's just nothing provided for us."

Mrs Chin, who teaches English as a second language, says reliving the experience was difficult but cathartic.

"I took out all my old files. I read them and I cried. I sat at the computer and I cried. But after a while, I was okay. Then I finished the first draft on his anniversary."

She says the feedback so far has been positive, especially from those who have had similar experiences.

"One of the mothers [from a Stillborn and Newborn Death support group], she just cried. She said to have someone writing about it was really helpful. I've spoken to grandparents as well. People tell me, 'Now I understand'."

Her story also tells of her disappointment with some of the staff at the antenatal unit and the importance of cultural sensitivity. "We had two doctors who kept saying, 'This is his problem'," she says, of medical staff shifting the blame.

The book has been requested by one of Mrs Chin's doctors, who is now based at the University of Toronto, Canada, to assist with training and hospital management procedures.

Dr Simon Rowley is a consultant at Starship Children's Hospital who's been given a copy of the book.
"It is a good reminder to all health professionals that when our patients leave us, the story does not end for the parents. The detail is amazing, and every little thought and action seems to have been recorded as it happened, and then has been reflected upon.

"For parents undergoing similar experiences this book could be a great comfort. For health professionals, I would see it as essential reading."

Further reading

Diary of a Bereaved Mother is available for $25 at The Women's Bookstore, 105 Ponsonby Rd, or email Ann Chin: