Perinatal Bereavement Documentaries
through research at York University, Christine Jonas-Simpson has produced four beautiful documentaries that examine how individuals live with the loss of a child.
In 2001, on July 15th, my life changed forever when my son, Ethan William Simpson, was born still. He weighed nearly six pounds and had red curly hair, a button nose and long fingers like is brothers. His umbilical cord had knotted just prior to his due date. My research prior to the death of my son focused on how human beings lived and transformed with loss in their lives. The participants in my research were older persons and those living with dementia and their family members. I was in the midst of conducting interviews with daughters whose mothers were diagnosed with Alzheimer disease about their experience of loss when my son died. Immersed in others' experience of loss, I plunged into my own, and I was not sure I would ever surface again.
When I did surface I was struck with how little research had been conducted on the experiences of persons (mothers, children, fathers, grandparents and even cousins) who have lived with perinatal loss. This was beginning of my journey to explore and understand the grief process for those individuals are touched by the death of a child.
In moving through my own grief process, I created a book entitled, Ethan’s Butterflies: A Spiritual book for children and parents after the loss of a baby (Trafford, 2010). A couple weeks prior to the anniversary of my Ethan’s birth and death my family were gathered around the table outside for breakfast when a beautiful black and white butterfly with baby blue dots fluttered by. He kept swirling around us and my children and young niece and nephew burst out with, “It’s Ethan’s Butterfly, Ethan’s Butterfly.” From that moment on that beautiful butterfly became known as Ethan’s butterfly, which visits us each year on the anniversary of his birth and death in July. I went on to produce four documentary films about the experiences of those who are touched by loss after perinatal death.