Our “luck” beyond the drama is to have both been present, my husband, an emergency doctor, me, a liberal nurse, understanding that there was no culprit. The emergency services did everything possible”, remembers Céline. On July 6, 2019, Ilan, their 3 and a half month old little boy, died suddenly, a victim of sudden infant death syndrome. A syndrome with no scientific explanation to date and which affects 500 babies a year. But Céline and Louis-Marie Jouanno may well be informed, lucid, no parent can “grieve” naturally, as long as the loss of a baby is not.
“As Ilan died at the beginning of the summer, we were not left alone for a moment. Family and friends took turns to support us. For our daughter Maëlyss, 3 years old, we tried to smile as we took her to the zoo, while feeling guilty…” The couple advance mechanically until they return to work. But the young 27-year-old mother has lost all confidence in herself, and Louis-Marie refuses SMUR missions if they concern a child, certain that he will never succeed again.
“I was looking for tools to desire an “after””
Conscious that they could not manage alone, they sought help, associative or otherwise. “And we quickly assessed the shortcomings in our region,” notes the nurse. Admittedly, Céline joined a Facebook group dealing with this tragedy: “But I had the feeling of sinking into it while reading “nothing will ever be the same again”. I was precisely looking for tools to desire an “after”!” An “after” that finally takes shape thanks to the helping hand of nature. The young woman becomes pregnant three months after the tragedy.
“Happiness and grief were intertwined. Isn’t it too soon? Will he feel loved? Will we be able to live up to it? What will people think of us? And how do we do it? a place in Ilan?” To this last question, they find an answer by setting up a small corner in the house for photos and souvenirs, and plant a tree, “Ilan” in Hebrew and Breton, in the garden. “This kind of suggestion has its place in the support groups of the association we founded to help parents in Morbihan, with physical meetings that we need, specifies Céline. Perinatal bereavement, during pregnancy or in the first months of the child, is never similar to another, but the rituals which soothe can be useful to others.
“Hypnosis allowed me to escape the traumatic vision of my deceased child”
The Aël & Sterenn association (more info on the Aël-Sterenn Facebook page), which means “angel and river of stars”, also invites professionals. “For me, it was hypnosis with my midwife that allowed me to escape the traumatic vision of my deceased baby,” explains Céline.
A year and a half ago, the family grew with Awen, “welcome” in Breton. Maëlyss talks about her brother Ilan when she sees a plane go by. As for Louis-Marie, he became head of the emergency department, overcoming his personal tragedy. The couple welcomed the law of December 6, 2021, allowing the registration in the civil status of the child born lifeless, with a first name and a surname: “Parents need their child to be recognized in the eyes of all: gone too soon, but existing forever.”
Celine and Louis-Marie Jouanno © DR