CiaoLapo is an italian non-profit organization involved in research, advocacy, support in the field of prenatal and perinatal loss.
“We would like to extend our welcome to you, who maybe are sharing and reading this for the first time.
If you are a bereaved parent and you're dealing with the immense grief of losing your child during pregnancy, miscarriage, for therapeutic interruption of pregnancy, stillbirth or perinatal death, you come to our embrace, as a sign of respect and sharing.
If you are a professional involved in the field of maternal and child healthcare and you are interested in these issues and training, you are really welcome: we hope that the reading of our work, of our training projects and dissemination can be of help in your daily activities, to improve significant assistance to couples and families in mourning.”
CiaoLapo Onlus is composed of parents affected by death of their babies during pregnancy or after childbirth, and professionals (doctors, psychologists, midwives) who are involved in research on perinatal death and in psychological support to families.
CiaoLapo was founded by Claudia and Alfredo: first physicians, then beaming new parents, then bereaved parents after the stillbith of their second child.
The main purpose of CiaoLapo is to provide grieving parents a built-in help (medical, psychological and practical), and a structured and qualified psychological support. We firmly believe in the importance of support that begins with the “bad news” and continues after returning home with empty arms, during this time, through all the subsequent pregnancy.
We care about the health and well-being of mothers, fathers and children, and we believe parents hearts are wide enough to remember all the children, giving each its own place.
How can CiaoLapo help you
Sometimes love is for a moment
sometimes love is for a lifetime,
sometimes a moment is a lifetime
CiaoLapo is a place where bereaved parents, relatives and "friends" can meet, virtually on the website and in person if they wish, to share their experiences of prenatal and perinatal loss.
Reading other stories, sharing the pain and all about perinatal bereavement, the task of composing is lighter and more are the strengths to regain a reasonable level of serenity and confidence in the future.
Joining CiaoLapo, respecting your time, and your ways of reacting, can help you to "see" in perspective "over" the mourning, and although at first it may seem impossible, it might provide some small tool to deal with heavy grief losses and rebuild your life again.
CiaoLapo was born in 2006 and quickly became a real "community" attended by hundreds of parents and professionals. We have few but strong and important rules: honesty and transparency with other people, the confidentiality of what is said during our meeting in our parents group, the respect for all the loss experiences and the variety of grieving pathways and non-judgmental listening of others and of ourselves.
In our website you will find:
- scientific and popular articles and editorials.
After a stillbirth, a miscarriage or perinatal loss grieving parents often need to learn many details about what has happened to them and what will happen in the future. You will find many articles written by our professionals on perinatal health issues, assistance in perinatal bereavement, psychology of pain and loss in future pregnancies.
- self-help forum.
Our forum is freely accessible for reading, but only registered users can post messages. On the forum you can talk about your experiences and read others' experiences, by sharing your story, your thoughts and emotions and with people who had similar experiences in the past you can take the first step in the pain process. There are sections where specialist volunteers are trained to answer parents' questions. It 's very important to take the time to read the posts in different sections, because in many cases numerous topics have already been discussed and new parents can find a great benefit to simply read the paths of other parents.
- support space.
The self-help groups (AMA) are the resource that according to international scientific research has proven most effective in the management of perinatal bereavement. CiaoLapo organizes AMA groups, both vis a vis and online in our facebook pages according to the guidelines of the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society English (SANDS-UK). These are not therapy groups but help and self-help peer groups. This means that although the group also "operators" take part in it, the activity takes place through the exchange of experiences among participants, with a conductor (which may also be a more experienced user) who is coordinating the group, but does not intervene in a directive way.
CiaoLapo's birth - The history of our loss
Lapo, our second son, was expected on March 25th 2006. The pregnancy was considered perfectly healthy, controls indicated a big boy with chubby cheeks ("this child is beautiful as an angel, look at his cheeks and legs" were the words that accompanied the last sonogram control, made three days before his death).
"I'm sorry there is no heartbeat."
Our beautiful and lively child has ceased to live two weeks before the due date, and was born perfect, on March 13th 2006. When we lost Lapo we were thrown into a sort of parallel dimension.
They told us, as only consolation that "very few women lose their children at the end of pregnancy," that "these things are rare", "there is no reason" and that, however, "they do not happen twice". We were told, finally, to go home, forget about it, and as soon as possible, try another pregnancy.
Returning home with empty arms and hearts full of sorrow and disbelief was really hard: we felt alone, and we could not find anyone who could help us deal with this tragedy in any way.
Appalled by this loneliness and lack of resources (books, articles, specialists etc ...) we thought that the death of a child during pregnancy or after childbirth was so rare that didn’t need care and support.
We have spent a few days (and many sleepless nights ...) to understand that nothing was true.
It is not true that we are a few: in Italy, every year 2000 parents lose their children by the 20th week of pregnancy onwards, and about 1 women in 6 has a miscarriage, a stillbirth or a perinatal loss.
It is not true that our children died for no reason: a good prenatal diagnosis and a good evaluation autopsy (according to existing protocols and underutilized) of the placenta, of the cord and infant could explain up to 70% of deaths. Simply they most apply the correct protocols available and follow each pregnancy as it was unique and special, and not as a routine event.
Every mom is different and every pregnancy is different, and deserves exclusivity attention.
It is also not true that "these things do not happen twice": after an intrauterine death it is necessary to conduct examinations and checks in specialized centers, in order to identify possible risk factors and to prevent other deaths in the future.
It is certainly not true that we don’t need support and that "another pregnancy" resolves everything: in all the world, even developing countries, face daily the problem of perinatal bereavement, and it is supported by a dense network of volunteers, doctors, parents and operatores who are on the parents side and allow parents to deal with the grief as best as they can.
... we found ourselves in the first month after Lapo’s death, in complete solitude, knowing that we were not alone, that other parents at the same time were suffering without being able to have network or help.
We therefore thought that we could no longer accept this silence.
We began to feel deeply the need to try at least to change things for ourselves and for all the other parents treated each day as alien by structures and society.
We knew, since that sunny Monday, of March 13th where Lapo was born dead, he would have forever been a part of our life and that never, in any case, we wanted to forget him. Nine months of life spent together, in our opinion, deserve respect and honor, even if at the eyes of many 9 months were to little to be meaningful.
We always thought that the health of an individual depends on the health of its social and cultural context, and we believe that sharing a problem TOGETHER improves people's lives.
So, we rebelled against the cultural taboo that simply erases the death of a young child because "too painful" to be sustained.
Even today, with firmness and dedication, we strive to remember ALL of our children, and consider the memory of a time of growth and understanding.
We know that grief is a necessary way for which there are no shortcuts, and we know that learning to manage pain allows us to learn again to live and be happy (even though at first this seems impossible).
We think that the non-judgmental and empathetic listening worths often thousand words.
No name for our loss. No name for our babies. No name for us as parents.
Till we found some name, and we started to use these words to describe our condition.
Little Princes and “special parents”
We like to think that their little life are precious and poetic, like the wake of the meteor that illuminated the night forever.
We like to remember, despite the pain and emptiness that our children leave, the love that has accompanied them, the love for which they have touched our lives.
We would like to live in the best way, without forgetting these little messengers of light.
We like, as parents of small children that the world did not know, to share our path, convinced that together it could be easier.
CiaoLapo a non-profit organization was the first Italian association created to fill a large and important gap: the assistance to women, couples and families affected by high-risk pregnancy, fetal pathology and perinatal death.
Born on April 11th, 2006, CiaoLapo is both a scientific and charitable association, composed by physicians, psychologists, midwives and parents who have dealt with the experience of illness and loss during pregnancy or after birth, this association offers its support and professionalism to disseminate the most advanced expertise and offer a real psychological and psychosocial support to parents and family in mourning.
CiaoLapo therefore deals with parents and families who are experiencing or have experienced high-risk pregnancies, diagnosis of foetal pathology of their children, and loss of a child during pregnancy and after birth, but also continuing education of nursing staff .
From 2007 CiaoLapo has organized 13 national conferences, two international workshops, and over 130 training courses. In four years CiaoLapo trained nearly 4000 operators a bit all over Italy, but much remains to be done to improve things in Italy.
CiaoLapo designed and collaborated in numerous scientific research, both psychological and medical on the loss of pregnancy or after childbirth, care of the communication (Project report), on future pregnancies to perinatal sorrow.
CiaoLapo works closely with leading international associations concerned with perinatal health and is a member of: International Stillbirth Alliance (USA), Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (UK), Hygeia Foundation (USA).
www.ciaolapo.it website is the historic heart of our work. This web space, which has grown over the years is an important point of reference for parents and caregivers looking for updated news, shared at the international level and as much as possible based on evidence of effectiveness in the field of perinatal bereavement. Just reading articles posted to the blog, or section documents, you can provide important information, medical, psychological or practical.
Many are the resources of CiaoLapo on-line, these are focused primarily on the concept of help and self-help.
CiaoLapo website provides for its users:
-a self-help forum
-a forum with free advice of professionals (psychologists, gynecologists, pathologists and midwives)
-a self-help chat for its members
-a social network for its members
-an online self-help group reserved for only members, moderated by staff specifically trained for perinatal grief
-an area reserved for operators with a rich scientific and popular literature on the medical and psychological help for perinatal bereavement
-a section of documents, where you can download free material produced by the association (self-help leaflets, handbooks for parents, books for professionals)
Scientific research on stillbirth, perinatal death, and the psychology of grieving process, mourning journey and subsequent pregnancy is a booming business, both in the medical field and budget, and in relation to the psychology of perinatal loss.
Little space is given to studies on the support of parents and validated studies on guidelines for operators.
CiaoLapo non-profit organization promotes and conducts scientific and research projects in this sector, in collaboration with associations, institutions and national and international universities. The results of the research conducted so far have been presented at conferences and published in national and international magazines.
Our Field of Research
Perinatal loss and psychopatology
- Demeter Study: a specific research to assess the psychopathological aspects of perinatal loss in a sample of Italian parents.
- Fathers and Perinatal loss
- CLOSE: Couples and Perinatal loss
- Memory Box Interview: exploring the perception of care after the diagnosis of prenatal loss
- Evaluation of the adequacy of health care to perinatal death in Italian hospitals in connection with international guidelines.
- Memory Box Preemies Interview: exploring the perception of care after the diagnosis of perinatal loss of a preterm infant.
- Love-Them Still: human rights in chilbirth and pregnancy, also for bereaved mothers.
Perinatal loss and health professionals.
- Lucina Study (Lucina, Ravaldi, Minniti, Vannacci) is being distributed in a number of Italian hospitals. So far we have collected more than 700 answers: professionals asked to be properly trained, declared the objective difficulty of coping with the death of the baby, and requested some support and guidance after the loss.
- BATMAN Study evaluated the impact of perinatal loss on professionals and explored burnout symptoms.
- Subsequent pregnancies and prenatal attachment
- Subsequent pregnancies and perception of care
- Subsequent pregnancies and professionals
Publication and dissemination activities
The results of researches of CiaoLapo non-profit organization were presented as posters, oral presentations or reports on invitation in national and international conferences. Among them:
- National and international conferences promoted in Italy by CiaoLapo Onlus (2007-2018)
- International Conference of the International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA - 2008 Birmingham UK, 2009 Oslo NW, Sydney 2010, Cork, 2017, Glasgow 2018)
- International Conference on Women's Health (2008 Melbourne, Australia)
- FlorEntis (International Network of the European Teratology - Florence 2009)
CiaoLapo Onlus is involved since 2007 in training and research: scientific projects in collaboration with universities and other institutions for conducting thesis, specializations, and master's on topics of perinatal loss, stillbirth, subsequent pregnancies and the impact of perinatal loss on professionals.
CiaoLapo also stipulates specific conventions for conducting training internships in psychology and counseling in perinatal grief support.
Thanks to CiaoLapo, 50 among midwives, medical doctors and psychologists graduated in the last 10 years in the field of perinatal loss.
Collaborations and conventions
CiaoLapo Onlus has entered into several agreements with medical facilities, associations and individual practitioners to provide its members with business assistance or legal protection, free or in a very affordable manner. The professionals selected by CiaoLapo have particular expertise in the national perinatal loss and bereavement.
It’s possible to consult the online list of professionals and facilities actually affiliated with us.
CiaoLapo has a very amazing project: we have the aim to disseminate and make accessible the knowledge and all the scientific information on pregnancy health, perinatal loss, bereavement and perinatal psychology, as like as the promotion of healthy lifestyle in order to prevent perinatal death.
Since 2006 CiaoLapo regularly publishes articles in scientific journals, popular articles in magazines and newspapers and also 11 books.
Each text is the result of years of work, research, and comparison with thousands of parents and Italian and foreign operators; publications are designed to help parents and familiars who suffer the loss of a baby during pregnancy or after childbirth, the siblings, who need to be partakers of the event, and are also dedicated to all professionals who are called to support bereaved parents.
Books and papers are entirely projected, written, or edited by Claudia Ravaldi, medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and mother of Lapo, who wrote in the past numerous scientific articles and publications in the field of eating disorders, depression, anxiety and healthy lifestyle promotion for families.
Claudia has written and published over the years some works that for their particular structure should ideally fill a cultural void in the Italian panorama.
Our main publications:
Claudia Ravaldi - Piccoli Principi. Perdere un bambino in gravidanza o dopo il parto - download the pdf version in the documents section.
AAVV (by the facilitators of the Florence GAMA) - Attraversare il lutto, October 2011, downloadable in documents section
Ravaldi Claudia (ed.) - La tua culla è il mio cuore. (Officina Grafica Editoriale, May 2011)
Caring - Words: children stories for healing
Claudia Ravaldi - Sulla scia di una stella cadente. Iperedizioni 2010 (In the light of a falling star,
the English version will be available from August 2018 on Amazon).
Claudia Ravaldi - La regina cuoridighiaccio Iperedizioni 2012
Claudia Ravaldi – Flavia Zuncheddu Goccia di Terra, Goccia di Mare, Officina Grafica Editoriale, 2015
Claudia Ravaldi - La morte in-attesa - Officina Grafica Edition 2011
Claudia Ravaldi – Il sogno infranto - Officina Grafica Edition 2016
Claudia Ravaldi - Assistere la morte perinatale: il ruolo del personale ospedaliero nel sostegno ai genitori e ai familiari in lutto - Amazon 2018
Training Courses, Congresses and conferences
CiaoLapo provides training on bereavement care and perinatal loss, national and international scientific conferences and participates in teaching activities in non-university and university courses.
Teaching activities are coordinated by Dr. Claudia Ravaldi, psychiatrist and psychotherapist.
- National Conference "The intrauterine death: clinical and psychopathological aspects" - Florence 2007
- National Conference "The fetal pathology: from diagnosis to family support" - Florence 2007
- National Conference "The perinatal death between research and care" - Monza 2008
- National Conference "The perinatal death between research and care" - Modena 2008
- National Conference "Focus on intrauterine death: an integrated approach" - Pisa 2008
- International Conference "Psychological support in perinatal death" - Florence 2009
- National Conference-"Care after perinatal loss: the medical and psychological intervention" Naples 2010
- International Conference "The intrauterine death in Italy: research, care, prevention", Pesaro 2011
See our website for the 200 congresses, seminars, and conferences we made since 2007!
Courses and seminars abroad
The CiaoLapo non-profit organization works in Italy and abroad for the organization of seminars and training courses.
Dr. Ravaldi and CiaoLapo professionals are available for lectures and courses that promote the guidelines supported by CiaoLapo and major international organizations that deal with death in pregnancy or postpartum.
CiaoLapo Onlus organizes self and self help groups for bereaved parents in the city of Torino, Genova, Modena, Bergamo, Como, Milano, Pordenone, Udine, Vicenza, Bologna, Prato, Firenze, Perugia, Roma, Napoli, Cosenza.
The "Piccoli Principi" groups are held usually twice a month.
These groups are composed by parents who share the experience of perinatal death, during pregnancy or after birth and it is managed by two trained facilitators.
Access to the group is free and open to all parents, mums, dads and couples with recent or remote loss
The partecipation is free.
BabyLoss Awareness - Social initiatives and awareness
In addition to our scientific, educational, psychosocial activities CiaoLapo places on time every year, in four distinct moment during the year, its awareness initiatives, dedicated to all the bereaved families and to all the volunteers.
The memory blanket: a collection of patchwork prepared by mothers in memory of their kids (on January 2017 started the collection of the new frame for our sixth blanket), usually exposed in the second Sunday of April, near to CiaoLapo birthday.
SpecialMother's Day, which is dedicated a social event about motherhood "between heaven and earth", which is celebrated the first or in the second Sunday of May in many countries of the world;
"Words of love on the sand", a photographic collection in memory of our children, from where an annual video was born, period: June to September;
"Christmas in July": exchanging small gifts among mothers of the association, in a time usually emotionally difficult as the summer holidays after a death during July;
"The awareness walk", opened to all bereaved parents and volunteer the first week of October;
"The BabyLoss Awareness Day" every 15th of October, since 2007, now organized in more than 50 Italian cities (www.babyloss.info)
"LeParoleDell'Amore" a literay competition active since 2011, has already yielded fruit from five publication (see leparoledellamore.info for all the details)
"The Christmas tree" of Little Princes and Princesses, we set up with parents on December 8th at the headquarters of the association, each decoration was created by parents to remind their child
In thanking all the people who contribute and make possible the realization of events, please note that many of these initiatives come from the experiential work of some groups of parents of CiaoLapo, while others (October 15th celebration, for example) are the result of collaboration and exchange between CiaoLapo and some international organizations, which always welcomed CiaoLapo with kindness and that periodically give us their experiential input, based on more than 30 years of activity. In turn, we act as "guide" for some associations in South America and in Spain, in Ucrain, which adopted some of our ideas for their activities.
For more details aboout our new project please look our twitter profile, @ciaolapo.
We are also on Instagram, @ciaolapo.
Thank you for reading.