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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    :And I'm sure they felt sad, but unlike today it wasn't some sort of life-destroying, counseling-required massive tragedy.
    How do you bear to live among such self-pitying losers? If only people would just get over stuff.

    But a few things that contradict your viewpoint:

    The Medieval Child: an Unknown Phenomenon?: High infant mortality rates do not seem to have prevented parents from being fond of their children, however likely they were to lose at least some of them to diseases or accidents. Miracle reports and other types of documents attest to the lengths to which parents were prepared to go to obtain healing, rescue or salvation for their children, as well as to their grief when their efforts proved futile

    Children in the Middle Ages:: Historians like Aries also note that strong parental feeling existed, despite abandonment and infanticide. The death of a child was always met with profound grief.

    I can supply more links if you like.
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  2. #42
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    Isn't it though that grief is easier to bear if you expect it? Not that there is no grief, but I bet it is easier to loose your parents when you are 50 than when you are 20 - everyone is 'supposed' to loose their parents as they get older.

    If it is a fact af life that infant mortality is high, it is not that the grief is less, but maybe easier to bear? - also you are not the only one.

    I'm just speculating of course, from a personal perspective I think the parent-child bond is strongly forged by biological functions and are the same as always.

    I also did some searches for history of the baby bottle - I don't have the links right here, but clay infant feeders were found in ancient Greece an Egypt. One of the next to a mummy of a 3 months old - which to me shows grief and care about the passing of an infant.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    If it is a fact af life that infant mortality is high, it is not that the grief is less, but maybe easier to bear? - also you are not the only one.
    I don't read "profound grief" as "resigned mourning" myself. I'm not sure how one would go about measuring such a thing in people long dead, however.

    Even when I was in college (actually in the Dark Ages), the idea that parents were removed from their children's deaths because of the infant mortality rate was considered a myth, albeit a particularly persistent one.
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    Isn't it though that grief is easier to bear if you expect it? Not that there is no grief, but I bet it is easier to loose your parents when you are 50 than when you are 20 - everyone is 'supposed' to loose their parents as they get older.
    I remember reading psychological studies back in the day that disproved that. There was the assumption that a death that was pending (eg. a prolonged illness) would be easier than a sudden, unexpected death (eg. tragic accident), but in fact the grief experienced was the same. The difference was there was an element of shock in addition to the grief for the latter, but the grief experienced was the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    And you know that how? Isn't that how the Dark/Middle Ages have oft been described?
    Perhaps, but it's not accurate. There was a lot more going on then than many think.

    But death in early childhood was a common thing right up until the 20th century. It was rare for there to be a family which did not lose at least one child- many lost several, or even all of them. And the world grew and developed through the renaissance, the enlightenment and the industrial revolution.

    I think that parents have always mourned the deaths of children- how could they not? I have seen some very poignant poems on gravestones mourning the deaths of children- in old churches. But parents HAD to have had a sense of fatalism perhaps, or resignation, or even expectation that they would lose a child or two. It wouldn't mean that they would mourn them less, but that it was a part of life. They would have lost a sibling or two, have known friends, neighbours and family members who had lost children. And death was not as removed then- people died at home, not in hospitals and nursing home and were prerared for burial by their families. I think that there must have been more of an attitude of "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away...".

    As a genealogist, who has a huge data base on my family going back over 400 years (in rural Finland, but I can't think it was all that different from anywhere else in rural Europe at the time) it is rare that a family saw all its children grow up. There are several families that lost more than half of their children in infancy- one lost 16 of 17 (one boy grew up). Even in the early 20th century my grandmother's first cousin lost 6 of 8 children to TB in their teens. One had to be tough back then. Life was hard.

    Nowadays we are lucky that it is unusual for parents to bury their children. But it does happen, obviously.
    Last edited by cygnus; 03-04-2012 at 05:20 AM.
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  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    I remember reading psychological studies back in the day that disproved that. There was the assumption that a death that was pending (eg. a prolonged illness) would be easier than a sudden, unexpected death (eg. tragic accident), but in fact the grief experienced was the same. The difference was there was an element of shock in addition to the grief for the latter, but the grief experienced was the same.
    Interesting. Thanks for clearing that up.

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