Written by Madeleine Speed, the Pelvic Partnership, October 2016
Baby Loss Awareness Week falls in October and our team of volunteers at the Pelvic Partnership want to spread the word about this important initiative. The charities leading Baby Loss Awareness Week provide support to anyone affected by pregnancy loss and the death of a baby, and work with health professionals and services to improve care.
Sally has taken this week off to remember James; the little boy she brought into the world nine years ago but who was born prematurely, struggled to thrive and died after just 22 hours. Sally is in her 30s with six-year old twins at school and a busy job as a pharmacist in the Midlands. Since she lost James, she has taken the week off each year to remember him, to celebrate his short life and to meet with other parents who have had a still birth or lost a new baby in the first days or weeks of their birth.
Sally says she finds this period of reflection important to her and she knows that being with other parents who have similar experiences is both supportive and freeing for her. She feels she can speak out about her loss and sadness openly and she also finds it eases the pain to be able to support and befriend other parents who are just starting to cope with loss.
“Having this focus on pregnancy and baby loss gives parents, family and friends the opportunity to openly discuss their grief knowing that others will be doing the same,” Sally explains. “It makes it much easier to know you are not alone, that you can discuss your feelings and that other people understand something of what you have experienced.”
Spreading the word
Being able to spread the word about this campaign is particularly important to us at the Pelvic Partnership because we share a similar target audience to that of the charities leading Baby Loss Awareness Week: predominantly women of childbearing age. Women who experience pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) may also have been affected by the loss of a pregnancy or baby because it affects up to one in five families within the UK. So it’s important to us to extend awareness of the initiative in the hope that anyone who has lost a pregnancy or experienced the death of a baby can find support and understanding at such a painful and difficult time.
Further information and support
There are a number of charities that have come together to support Baby Loss Awareness Week. The full list can be found on the website www.babyloss-awareness.org.
Below we have given three of the charities involved together with links to their websites all of which offer further information and support to families who are coping with pregnancy or baby loss:
- Sands – Still birth and neonatal death charity Sands supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. This charity offers emotional support and information for parents, grandparents, siblings, children, families and friends, health professionals and others. www.uk-sands.org.
- The Lullaby Trust – This charity offers confidential support to anyone affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or young toddler. This is available immediately or at any later time in your lives. This support is for families, friends, carers and professionals. www.lullabytrust.org.uk.
- Aching Arms Aching Arms – a baby loss charity run by a group of bereaved mothers who have experienced the pain and emptiness of leaving hospital without their much wanted baby. The aim of the charity is to raise awareness of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss and to bring some comfort to bereaved parents and families after the loss of a baby. www.achingarms.co.uk.