The loss of a baby – during pregnancy or after – has long been a death that the world has struggled to think about, talk about and allow memories for. The brilliant, growing, important Baby Loss Awareness Week every October, that has recently wrapped up, reminds us again about the importance of research, priority setting in the NHS, and the need for many of us to understand how devastating a death it can be for a bereaved family. We’ve moved on from the dark days when hospital care would deny couples any space to grieve – or even allow them access to their baby’s body – but we still have a way to go before loved and lost babies can be talked about with ease.
This is why exhibitions like Remembering Baby are so important. Not only does this bring home the nuanced, complex, and devastating loss of a pregnancy or baby’s life cut far too short – but it also talks about the supportive role of science, and post-mortems. None of us like to think of the dead bodies of our loved ones being meddled with, but the brute truth is that we still have much to learn about the loss of a baby in or after a pregnancy, and post-mortems assist research pursuits. Having to think about, and choose for your baby to have a post-mortem is horrific: but parents have to do this all too often, far too often in fact.
This show also talks about pioneering work around MRI post-mortems, which offers an easier route to finding out answers parents often want. We also learn a little about professionals involved in this practice, and how deeply they care about the bodies in their care. This is a taboo topic, nestled within another taboo topic. So plenty of reason to be going to see it.