Baby Loss Awareness Week 2019 saw the community I’m in break the silence around baby loss and come together. Organising an event was something I’d never thought I would do, let alone to the scale it was at. To have spoken to so many women and men who had been affected by miscarriage, stillbirth & neonatal death, was heart-breaking especially hearing about the lack of the support they’d received after it. This event saw people leave messages on The Tree in Borehamwood for their angel baby, had many people from the community attend the Wave of Light, and getting the publicity it deserved, confirmed that the event was truly needed and appreciated by many people.
Support isn’t always in the form of counselling or from professionals; support starts from the home, from the family, the partner, and friends. This year I had heard stories of loss from many who had lost a baby and it’s fair to say it left me choked up. Baby loss can cause so much pain from the loss itself, but the aftermath is something that is not publicised or often seen. Sadly this Baby Loss Awareness Week, I’d spoken to couples who had divorced after baby loss, to mum’s who are still so isolated and grieving, to a mum who’s medically advised termination was used as objectifying evidence in a UK court in a heartless way to determine a visa status. I feel like I’ve heard so many baby loss stories in a short space of time, all of which are so heart-breaking. However, I’m glad I’ve heard them, as for a few of them who had lost a baby, this was the first time they had spoken about their loss. This is a pivotal step for them to have taken, to help them move forward in their grieving journey. I’m a firm believer in transferring emotions; through talking or through journaling. When an emotion is acknowledged and written down or said out loud, it confirms it’s there to work through and it also helps to eject some of the mental weight it bears. This is the reason I’m so passionate about breaking the silence surrounding baby loss. The more we speak about baby loss, the more we can come to terms with what has happened and eventually, can move forward in life.
Support plays a huge part; a supportive friend or family member could be all someone needs to be able to emotionally accept the loss and feel like they can face the next day. When someone loses a baby, most people around them don’t know what to say to them or avoid them altogether. This can make the parents feel even more isolated, fearing that nobody cares enough or that everyone is avoiding them.
Supporting someone could be as simple as sending a message saying, “sorry for your loss, I’m here for you”, perhaps offering to cook dinner one evening or helping with a chore or two whilst recovery takes place. It’s not about the grand gestures or being medically qualified to become their counsellor, it’s just being there for them. I had come to find that a lot of people avoided someone who’d lost a baby for a while, for the only reason being that they didn’t know what to say or how that person felt. If you know or come to know of someone who loses a baby, reach out to them. For the people who have felt the loss, everyone who reaches out to them will help them feel a lot less isolated, it will help them move forward, feel supported and most importantly know that you care.
This Baby Loss Awareness Week, the conversations surrounding baby loss grew and if this continues, this taboo of ‘keeping it quiet’ will soon become a thing of the past. Baby loss affects 1 in 4 of us, a sad statistic that means too many people are continuing to live their lives without receiving or asking for support. We are stronger together in everything we do, and education around the aftermath of baby loss is required now more than ever. We can’t change the past, but we can shape the future and by educating those who once taught us to ‘brush it under the carpet’ we can break the silence quicker.
If you have lost a baby, please know it wasn’t your fault and you are not alone. The Baby Loss Awareness website has more information on where you can get support if you have suffered a loss. Through product sales and charity events, Wrap it By Tina, supports Tommy’s the Baby Charity who also offer telephone support from qualified midwives. In line with our Rainbow Baby Campaign, we will continue to talk about baby loss for as long as it takes to raise awareness.
The news of this Baby Loss Awareness Week event grew through the power of social media, speaking on the BBC 3 Counties Radio (from 1:40:16), publicising awareness in the local newspaper, meeting Oliver Dowden our local MP and speaking with local Councillors. As well as these avenues, I also left event posters with many businesses and venues within the Borehamwood area. This is just the beginning of something bigger that is to come.
For Bubba Nandha – I know you’re shining down on me.