October 13, 2020

What you need to know about Baby Loss Awareness Week in 2020

Social distancing has had a major impact on access to care and support. All charities involved in the week, covered below, are working to ensure they continue to support as many people as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Advice and resources are also still available to keep providing the much needed support for families across the UK. But it must not be forgotten that a number of these charities will be struggling themselves, having faced a major drop in income due to the pandemic, with many fundraising events cancelled. Support for these charities is therefore needed now more than ever.

Each day during #BLAW2020 a different topic, around this theme, will be explored with the aim of utilising the participating charities’ wide range of excellent support, information and coping techniques. There will be a focus on engaging with people from all backgrounds with varying experiences of loss.

The topics covered will include:

  1. mental wellbeing - of not only those directly affected but also partners and the wider family including children, and friends;
  2. support for this wider group of people and information on how they, in turn, can support someone they know;
  3. support in the workplace - how to support employees, advice for employers/managers, HR departments, and colleagues;
  4. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities – including issues around access to care and to information/support, higher risk pregnancies, assumptions regarding family support systems or culture or religious beliefs and language barriers;
  5. LGBTQ+ – including trans parents, male couples, those using surrogates and non-biological parents/parents-to-be.

Child Bereavement UK – how one charity is helping families during the COVID-19 pandemic

This year we specifically wanted to highlight the fantastic work carried out by the charity Child Bereavement UK - a member and supporter of Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Child Bereavement UK helps children and young people (up to age 25), parents, and families, to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or when a child dies. The charity also provides training to professionals in health and social care, education, and the voluntary and corporate sectors, equipping them to provide the best possible care to bereaved families.

Ann Chalmers is Chief Executive of this amazing charity and has kindly shared some of her thoughts with us.

“Families we support at Child Bereavement UK tell us how devastating the death of a baby is, whatever the cause. The intensity of love parents feel for their baby is not measured by how long the baby lived, but in the emotional investment they have in their child. For parents expecting to welcome a new life, but instead facing the reality that their baby has died, it can be immensely difficult. Finding answers as to why this has happened can be very important - questions left unanswered can add to parents’ distress and to the complexity of their grief.

“The death of a longed-for baby can have a huge impact on parents and their wider family, and it can also have an impact on the professionals who support them. At Child Bereavement UK we know from our 26 years’ experience that the quality of support a family receives around the time of a death can make a big difference to their long-term wellbeing, and it is vitally important for professionals to be able to understand and meet the needs of grieving families. To date, we have trained more than 135,000 professionals including doctors, nurses and midwives, helping them to provide the best possible care to bereaved children and parents at what is undoubtedly one of the most difficult times in their lives.”

Child Bereavement UK recognise the huge impact that coronavirus is having on everyone, including individuals and families facing bereavement, professionals who work with families, and their supporters. They have created a page on their website that brings together guidance and information to help support families at this difficult time. The webpage includes videos and information dealing with issues such as holding a funeral or ceremony when you cannot meet, supporting children through difficult times and what to do when you can't visit someone who is ill.

Child Bereavement UK – Covid-19 resources 

Despite the pandemic their Helpline is operating as normal, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm (except Bank Holidays).

Helpline: 0800 02 888 40, Live Chat via the website, and email: [email protected] 

Other charities involved in #BLAW2020

There are around 60 amazing and invaluable charities, groups and organisations other than Child Bereavement UK involved in Baby Loss Awareness Week, on both a local and national level including Abbie’s fund, Abigail’s Footsteps, Aching Arms, Bliss, Petals, 4Louis, Upon Butterfly Wings, Sands, Teddy’s Wish, Stillbirth Alliance, GBS Support and The Legacy of Leo, The Lullaby Trust and Tommy’s to name but a few.

Links to these charities and organisations can be found on the Baby Loss Awareness week website babyloss-awareness.org/organisations

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