From 9th-15th October, the annual Babyloss Awareness week takes place again. This isn’t an event known by many by my reckoning, despite the fact that a loss during, at or after birth is far from unusual. We have a frighteningly high rate of stillbirth in the UK, despite our medical resources. And indeed, about one in four babies don’t even make 24 weeks and are lost to miscarriage. My guess is you know of someone who has been affected by such an experience, or maybe you have yourself.
Many feel that the nature of grief experienced by those affected by the loss of a baby – at whatever gestation – is disenfranchised – it saddens me to hear stories over and again of women and couples who speak of how their feelings aren’t acknowledged by the world around them. I’ve been involved in supporting people through pregnancy loss for most of 15 years and while things have clearly improved, there’s still room for more understanding and acknowledgment and support – in the workplace, in medical settings and even at home or amongst friends.
We don’t seem to know how to ‘do’ grief very well it seems anymore, least alone when it comes to the death of a baby. The bond with an unborn child can be profound, infused with hopes and dreams and fantasies about a future potential family and its rupture can be devastating and life changing.
Both the Miscarriage Association and SANDS do brilliant work around raising awareness of the pain of these losses, along with researching into the causes of deaths in and around pregnancy. I’d recommend turning to them if you are wanting to support someone and not knowing how, or indeed are seeking support yourself.