chapter  5
Understanding the Parents’ Experience: Learning to Let Go
ByKaren Martin
Pages 29

Many medical experts had already told most parents that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has no known cause. They also said that SIDS can neither be predicted nor prevented. In the beginning weeks of this terrible nightmare, parents focused on the search for a reason or a medical explanation for their baby’s death. Eventually most accepted SIDS as the cause of death. The parents who accepted the punishment explanation were just as likely to understand that SIDS had caused the baby’s death as other parents. Parents also used the fate explanation: They attributed their baby’s death to “fate.” Those who accepted this explanation refused to believe that they had caused the death; they also refused to “embrace religion” for an explanation. One other important source of guilt came from the parents’ commitment to volunteering for the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.