A person, not a statistic

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My name is Daphne Evans Walsh. I would be forever grateful to you if you would kindly print this for me. I do not intend to try and change anybody’s beliefs, however, I do intend to try and get people in authority to understand that I, as a mother, grandmother and a great-grandmother, have beliefs also.

Let me tell you a little bit about  me.I gave birth to five children. My first child stillborn on May 29, 1973. His name is Stanley Christopher. Next came Tina Michelle born May 10, 1974. Then Daphne Ann born July 25, 1975. Then Edward John born Sept. 16, 1976. Then Deborah Marie born Nov. 24, 1977. Tina and Daphne are still living and have children of their own. Tina even has two grandchildren.

Unfortunately, Edward John died at two and one half days old and Deborah Marie died at one and one-half hours old; they both are with their brother Stanley Christopher in the children’s plot at the Anglican Cemetery, Forest Road.

My problem is this. Recently I went to Vital Statistics to get my deceased children’s birth and death certificates. I had no problem getting Edward’s and Deborah’s certificates, but my son Stanley’s is unobtainable. They first informed me that he wasn’t registered.

Then a few days later, after a few calls to some people, I received a letter informing me that they had found more information and that my son was indeed registered and gave me his registration number (1973-12-900107) and registration date, June 4, 1973.

I called the person whose name was attached to the letter and requested my son’s birth certificate and death certificate. I was informed that because he was stillborn, no birth or death certificate would be issued, that the letter was all I could get.

If people choose to terminate a pregnancy that is their right. When a person chooses to give birth to their child it is also their legal right. I chose to give my child life.

Who decides when a child is a child? Who decided when a person is a person or not? If my son Stanley is not considered to be a person then I think it is time for a change. The people who make these decisions need to have an open mind. It should be up to the individual person involved.

Some may say he didn’t exist because he never drew a breath. I beg to differ. To me, my son Stanley was alive — every time he kicked or moved inside me he was indeed alive. It is not his fault he died while being brought into this world. I was 37 and one-half weeks pregnant when he was born. I was only 21 weeks when Deborah was born and approximately 33 weeks when Edward was born, yet I had no problem getting their birth certificates. Why, you may ask? Because they both lived for a little while.

When my son Stanley was born the hospital staff wouldn’t even let me see him, let alone hold him. All I got to see was the back of his beautiful head of dark hair as they were taking him out of the delivery room, and a hospital card with birth information on it. There wasn’t even a picture of him.

I was told he had a lovely service at Barrett’s, even the fact that his little white casket was open for family to see him. I was told because I couldn’t attend — I was gravely ill. I, too, almost died bringing my son into this world.

I was in touch with my clergy and was informed that even though my son died being born, I could still give him a name which you can see I have.

I am presently in the process of having his headstone changed to say Stanley Christopher instead of Baby Boy. Regardless of what anybody says, my son Stanley Christopher did exist. He existed to me, my family and God Almighty!

It has taken me over 40 years to be able to talk about Stanley, Edward and Deborah. If it takes me the rest of my life, I will continue to fight to have my son Stanley’s right to be known as a person, not a statistic. I only wanted the certificate for personal use; I didn’t think it would cause such a problem.

Daphne Evans Walsh

St. John’s

Organizations: Anglican Cemetery

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  • Rhonda McMceekin
    November 06, 2013 - 08:50

    My daughter, Everlee, was stillborn this past February. I, too, ran into this same problem and took it upon myself to challenge the system in her name. I contacted the Minister, who in turn began to deal with vital stats on this matter. No mourning parent should have to be forced to jump through the hoops that we have been in order to recognize our children's lives. The Minister and officials agreed. Quite literally 10 minutes ago I got a call from the Registrar at Vital Stats who has told me that my daughters certificate of stillbirth is now available to be picked up and that now a systematic change has taken place. Parents with children like ours will now be issued these certificates. If you'd like to read more about my store please visit my blog about my daughter www.everleerose.com. I hope you are able to get in touch with Vital Stats and get the certificate you deserve too.

  • Stephen D Redgrave
    November 06, 2013 - 07:08

    Dear Daphne: You have my heartfelt condolences. To do all you can to have action taken on your behalf, you must involve your local MHA. You will find him or her to be most helpful with any matter pertaining to those within their constituency. Tell them your story as you have told us --you may be pleasantly surprised by the response you recieve. Best wishes