Posted by Abigail Ringer, Associate
Baby Loss Awareness Week – why our team will be supporting it, and how you can too
This week marks the 16th Baby Loss Awareness Week, which aims to break the silence about baby loss and provides an opportunity to commemorate and remember babies who have died, either during pregnancy or in their first weeks and months of life.
I have often considered that, as a society, we do not talk easily about death and this is never more true that when it comes to the death of a baby. I have dear friends who have had to endure painful miscarriages, and even still births, in silence. We shy away from telling our friends that we are pregnant in case we lose the baby.
However, I feel that grief is something that should be shared. We gain strength from the support we receive from both our loved ones and from trained individuals and I wholeheartedly support Baby Loss Awareness Week’s aim to break the silence. I thought I would delve a little deeper to see how I could get involved:
Breaking the silence
Firstly we are encouraged to talk to our friends, family and colleagues about Baby Loss Awareness Week and join the social media conversation using #BLAW2018. The Baby Loss Awareness website shares the stories of countless people who have experienced pregnancy loss or baby death in the UK and have taken the brave decision to talk about it.
One particularly moving account is that of Emma Unsworth who writes about her son, Daniel, who died when he was three months old. She shares how Daniel was born at 28 weeks and endured the roller coaster ride of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for eleven weeks before being allowed home.
Emma, Daniel and her husband were getting used to their new life when at 6am one morning, Emma woke up and sat bolt upright. She checked on Daniel in his Moses basket to see that he had vomit around his mouth. She picked him up immediately but his little body was already floppy and lifeless.
Emma describes the numbness that prevailed over the weeks and months that followed. About four to six weeks after Daniel died, she called The Lullaby Trust. She was put in touch with a befriender; another mum who had gone through a similar experience; and was referred by her GP to a specialist bereavement counsellor. Four years later, Emma has become a trained befriender with The Lullaby Trust herself.
Reading the stories of the families who have experienced the loss of a baby, I am blown away by the sheer bravery of these men and women.
I witness this bravery again and again in my work in medical negligence, where I have the privilege of working with families affected by the loss of the baby. One family who springs to mind lost their baby boy when he was just a couple of days old as a result of infection by Group B Strep. Devastatingly, the fact that the baby was struggling before he was born was missed and there was a subsequent delay in delivering him by emergency caesarean section. In due course the family will receive damages but nothing will compensate them for the loss of their little boy.
Wave of Light
Baby Loss Awareness Week concludes with a global ‘Wave of Light’ on Monday 15th October which coincides with International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We are all invited to light a candle at 7pm local time and be quiet to remember the young lives that have died. We can take a photo of our candles and post them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #WaveofLight.
Wear the Pin
We are also encouraged to wear a Baby Loss Awareness Pin to raise awareness throughout the week. The pins are on sale through a number of charities involved in supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week including Group B Strep Support where you can buy the pin for £2.00. All the money raised through the sale of pins will go to the charity we purchase it from.
I look forward to wearing my pin with pride, remembering these precious short lives and celebrating the courage of families who have broken the silence.
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