At 99, a woman fights a moving battle to have her child who died at birth recognized

At 99, a woman fights a moving battle to have her child who died at birth recognized

75 years after giving birth to a little boy, who unfortunately died within a few hours, a mother is fighting to finally have her child recognized. Johanna Rozenblum, psychologist, explains to us the importance of this journey.

A mother never truly mourns the loss of her children. And Odette Pichard, 99 years old, can attest to this. 75 years after the birth of her son Pierre-Alain, who died 4 hours after giving birth, she is trying to move the lines so that he has an existence in the eyes of the law.

At the time, we didn’t ask questions

On May 12, 1949, Odette, 24, gave birth to a little boy in a Parisian maternity ward. A difficult birth, using forceps, and experienced without her husband. But Odette sees her child, very much alive.

“I was lucky enough to see him move, he screamed and then we took him straight away” she declares on RTL. No skin to skin, no baby placed on the stomach, at the time this was not done.

“When I called a few hours later, a doctor came to my room to tell me he had died”, she continues. A dramatic announcement without any real explanation.

“I didn’t ask questions, it was a time when we didn’t ask questions”says Odette Pichard, still in shock today.

But now, beyond the pain felt by this mother, this infant has no legal existence, and does not even appear in the family record book. When Odette’s husband wants to declare the child in the civil registry, he indicates that Pierre-Alain was stillborn. The birth of the baby is therefore not officially declared.

The fight of an old lady to honor the existence of this son

At almost a hundred years old and supported by her granddaughter, a lawyer specializing in family law, Odette undertook to reestablish her truth: she launched a legal action, so as to register the first name “Pierre-Alain” on the family record book.

“Two medical documents attest that the child lived four hours”, assures the lawyer. However, the case remains complicated to defend, the birth of the young child having been declared after his death. Odette Pichard still believes in it:

“It is also a fight for the dignity of all parents who have one day lost a newborn” she adds, before concluding “They say: ‘mourning, mourning’. But we never mourn, that’s not true.”

An important void to fill in order to find peace

At 99 years old, this mother’s remarkable fight may seem in vain to some. But Johanna Rozenblum, clinical psychologist and member of our committee of experts, shows us that a mother’s distress has nothing to do with her age.

“The loss of a child that we carry within us, of a child in short, is always a tragedy from which we never really recover. A lifetime would not be enough to recover from the loss. loss of a child that we carried, hoped for, that existed even before being born. This 99-year-old mother proves it today: she needs this ultimate recognition, as proof of love, for this child who indeed existed. Regardless of her age, it would indeed be wonderful to grant this recognition to this child, so that she can move forward in the time she has left in peace.”