Aude, 36, is the mother of a 5-year-old girl and a baby who died at 2 months. She opens up about the tragic story she experienced and speaks out about shaken baby syndrome in order to prevent other tragedies from happening. Discover his testimony.
What happened on February 28, 2019?
Hear: The day after my son turns two months old, I have a medical appointment. To attend, I leave my baby at home, with his dad. When I go out, I call the dad straight away to see if everything is okay and he tells me that he is in the hospital because Timothée has been unwell. I rush to the hospital and find my son unconscious with many doctors around him. I understand that something serious is happening. He was quickly taken for a CT scan and the doctors told us that Timothée had subdural hematomas. In other words, his brain is bleeding and he has what’s called shaken baby syndrome (SBS). At that moment it was a shock for me because I didn’t understand at all what was happening. It’s only me who takes care of Timothée, I’m with him all the time, I’ve never confided him to anyone. Obviously, I myself have never harmed my baby or shaken him. I absolutely cannot imagine that the father could have made such a violent gesture. Thus, Timothy will struggle for five days in a state of coma. At the end of these five days, he died. In that moment, my life fell apart.
How did you react ?
Hear: I remained in shock for several weeks in a state of astonishment. I felt like a zombie. I got up because I was told I had to get up. Nothing made sense anymore and this state lasted for a long time.
What is your commitment today to ensure that such tragedies no longer happen?
Hear: Today marks one year since my son Timothée died. I am engaged in a fight so that there are no other little ones who experience the same story as him. For this, I am convinced that we need to talk more about shaken baby syndrome. Indeed, unfortunately we still talk about it too little and when we do it is often poorly said. Before this tragic event, I myself had false ideas about SBS. No one ever spoke to me about it, neither during my pregnancies, nor in the maternity ward. I discovered this syndrome through news items but I never had any information or prevention on the subject. I think there’s really a lot to say about it. Some maternity wards do it very well, but it varies enormously from one maternity ward to another.
Do you think parents are sufficiently informed?
Hear: I am convinced that future and young parents are not sufficiently informed about SBS. It seems so obvious to me that we should address this subject during pregnancy courses as well as during childbirth preparation classes. What is needed is real prevention and not just a phrase in the guise of something else. For example, in the maternity ward when young parents hear lots of babies crying around them, I think it is the perfect time to address the issue of managing crying. We must take advantage of this to raise awareness and carry out prevention on SBS.
I would like tomorrow all young parents to leave the maternity ward knowing what it is, and knowing that the risk exists. The awareness that I raise also involves the walk that I organized in tribute to my son. It was for the 1 year of his death. It was much more than a tribute to my son but also to all the little victims of shaken baby syndrome. This was an opportunity to discuss the syndrome, answer questions, and review preconceived ideas. I noticed around me that speech was freed, that taboos were lifted. I am sure that it is this type of event that will help change things.