Baby Loss Awareness Week
Every day in the UK around 13 babies die before, during or soon after birth. That’s a truly frightening statistic. It’s a club that nobody ever wants to join but gets a new member roughly every two hours.
When a baby dies it’s not like any other bereavement, it’s partly the loss of who they’d have become, but also the loss of everything you thought that You were going to be too.
At Answer, we’re no different to anywhere else, many of us have been directly affected by baby loss and that’s why this week, we’d like to share some of our own stories.
“Our daughter died from a viral infection at seven days old. Your mind goes back to really mundane moments where you just felt completely content. It changes the way we view things with our other child - the slightest cold or sniffle can make us really panic”
“At 12 weeks pregnant, I was devastated to find out I had miscarried 3 weeks prior. My story became complicated as 24 hours later I found out I might have lymphoma and began tests and then treatment. All hopes for what mine and my family’s future would be were lost, and I couldn’t bear the thought of possibly going through that again. I think about it daily, but it has taken nearly 2 years to start properly processing that side of my story, and I still struggle to look forward to the future.”
“My daughter was stillborn at 41 weeks. Even though my daughter wasn’t here for long she lit a fire in me that started my journey to where I am today, and her memory always helps me find comfort and perspective”
It’s so important to us to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week in 2023. In our own words, here are some of our reasons why:
“Baby Loss Awareness week matters so much - you never forget what happened, and you’d never want this to happen to anyone, but it’s reassuring to feel like you’re not alone, and that my daughter is remembered, because she was here, she was a real person.”
“This is our first Baby Loss Awareness Week - it’s about having those conversations and letting the world know that Ava existed. It’s a very lonely experience, and it’s nice to be able to talk to people who’ve been through a similar experience. People don’t know how to speak to you and almost completely ignore you, and I’d like them to know that it’s better to say something than to say nothing.”
“Everyone’s story is unique to them, and while I am happy to share, others may prefer not to and that is OK. This is why Baby Loss Awareness is so important. There are small things you can do to support others without needing to know exactly what they have been through.”
We’d also like to share some advice we’ve picked up on our journeys of people who continue to work through their loss:
- Remember that you are not alone, and it is not your fault
- Grief comes in waves, and it is okay to have bad days. You can also be excited for someone else, and sad for yourself at the same time. Don’t beat yourself up for natural emotions.
- Your journey is unique, and how you process it is your choice. Don’t feel pressured to keep it quiet, or talk about it – just do whatever you feel comfortable with.
Finally, some advice if you know someone whose baby has died:
- If you are going to ask questions about when/if someone is going to have children, consider if it is appropriate given your relationship, make sure you are being sensitive, and be prepared for a potentially uncomfortable response.
- If you know someone who has experienced loss, allow them plenty of time to recover from the emotional and physical ordeal they’ve been through.
- Let the person lead how much they want to talk about it. They may want to process in great detail, they may need comfort and company, or they may need distraction. It might also vary day by day, but ultimately allow them to process their grief on their terms.
- Finally, sharing your own pregnancy or baby news. It is so exciting to announce that you are expecting, but recognise that it can bring up difficult emotions for many people.
Baby Loss Awareness Week culminates in a global Wave of Light at 7pm worldwide on Friday 13th October. To take part, all you need to do is set a candle in your window at 7pm, and if you wish to, post your candle on Social Media using the hashtag #BLAW2023
You can find out more about the ongoing research into reducing baby loss and providingby visiting SANDS (Stillbirth And NeoNatal Death Society), and make a donation that provides invaluable support to bereaved parents if you’re able to.
For Sophie, Ava, and all the babies who aren’t here.