Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017

babyloss awareness week

Baby Loss Awareness Week is the collaborative effort of over 40 different charities and groups, and aims to promote awareness of baby loss and the issues which affect bereaved families and their loved ones. We asked our Mumsnet bloggers to share their experiences of baby loss, here are their stories.

When we lost Joseph there was such an out pouring of grief, that any joy at meeting him was completely overshadowed by the sadness that he wasn’t ours to keep. September is a time for new beginnings: the new shoes are shining, the lunches are packed and the uniforms are ironed – even if they only stay that way for an hour. But for Laura, creator of Five Little Doves, those first few weeks of the autumn term this year were also a time of sadness.

In 2006 Laura's world changed forever when she heard the worst thing a parent can hear: “I'm sorry, your baby has died”. Now, 11 years later, he would have been starting secondary school. “It's hard to imagine how I would have straightened his collar, kissed his cheek, told him to have a wonderful day and watched him walk away with his big brother,” she said.

Despite there being more than 3,600 stillbirths every year in the UK, not even half of NHS Trusts and Health Boards have mandatory bereavement care training. This is just one of the things Baby Loss Awareness Week is trying to change.

Like Laura, Julz and her family are haunted by what could have been different. Her daughter Melody was born with complications, but they were told her odds of survival were good. At 5 weeks old Melody was getting stronger and more lively, developing her personality and getting to know her family. The day before she died her family were hopeful, "We left the hospital that day on a high, with plans for the next day for have a girlie day. My eldest daughter was going to get her first cuddle. " But it wasn't to be. Here Julz tells the story of how Melody died and with her blog, Melody and Me she hopes to raise awareness that babies can be lost even if they survive those crucial few weeks after birth.

Despite being an issue which affects many parents, the dialogue around baby loss is far from open. Miscarriage especially still carries something of a taboo – even though, of women who know they are pregnant, one in six pregnancies will result in miscarriage. As Laura, creator of The Butterfly Mother, writes: “It’s something we find ourselves whispering about, hiding or feeling unable to share since it happened before anyone knew we were pregnant.”

Recurrent miscarriages, where three or more consecutive pregnancies result in miscarriage, are less common. Only one in 100 women will experience recurrent miscarriages, but as journalist and creator of The Uterus Monologues Jennie Agg knows, the statistics doesn't make the reality of having a miscarriage any easier.

Miscarriage’s veil of invisibility makes it easy not to think about as long as it’s not happening to you.

Jessica also suffered multiple miscarriages, four in total. But because they were not concurrent the NHS would not offer tests to determine why. When she came across Tommy’s, a charity who fund research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, Jessica thought she might finally be able to get some answers. But as you can read in her recent guest post for Mumsnet here, she was denied access to the tests just because she lived in Wales.

Baby loss has a profound effect on bereaved families and their loved ones, Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity to tell these stories, raise awareness, and to push for better standards of care. If you have a story about baby loss you’d like to share, tweet us @MumsnetTowers with #babyloss or for more information you can visit the Baby Loss Awareness Week website here.

For anyone affected by baby loss before, during or after birth, Baby Loss Awareness Week has a list of charities who provide support here.