Many of you won’t know that this week is Baby Loss Awareness Week. In fact, every year from 9 – 15 October it is Baby Loss Awareness Week. I didn’t know before this year, because baby loss was something that had only affected me indirectly. I know friends who have had miscarriages and I have felt their pain deeply. But it was only when my brother and sister-in-law lost their beautiful daughter, Pip, that I truly understood that pain myself. My lovely little niece was stillborn on 12 July this year, only three months ago. She was perfect in every way and already past 40 weeks’ gestation, but for some unknown reason her heart stopped beating the day before she was born.
I know that this is a tough blog post to read. It is a tough one to write. Losing Pip was one of the worst things that has ever happened to me and my family. The grief is immeasurable and something I’ve not talked about outside of my family and friends before now. But when I saw my sister-in-law write a post on Facebook about what she is going through, I knew I had to add my voice to the others that are helping to raise awareness of baby loss.
Taken from this BBC News article.
- In 2013, one in every 216 babies delivered in the UK was stillborn
- Contrary to common perception, major birth defects account for fewer than 10% of stillbirths
- In 2013, one in every 370 babies born in the UK died in the first four weeks of life
- In around a third of stillbirths the exact reason for the baby’s death is unclear and the death is described as “unexplained”
- A third of stillborn babies – around 1,200 babies every year – die after a full-term pregnancy
Baby Loss Awareness Week
Baby loss, and stillbirth in particular, is too high in the UK when compared with our peers. One of the fundamental problems we face is that people do not talk about it enough. Stillbirth is an awkward, unpleasant subject. Nobody wants to think about it, but then it happens to you, or someone you know and love, and you have no choice.
Baby Loss Awareness Week is here to wake more people up to the terrible grief and tragedy that affects so many people in the UK. If you want to show your support and help raise awareness, then there are a few easy things you can do. There is more information on the Baby Loss Awareness Week website.
Wave of Light
I have bought pins for me and my family from Sands (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Charity) and tonight I will be joining in the Wave of Light – lighting a candle from 7pm tonight for one hour to remember all the babies that have died too soon. The Wave of Light marks the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week and 15 October is also International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
I also wrote this blog post. Because I think it is so important to talk about what you are going through. You never know who you might help by talking about your experience. You never know who else might be going through the same thing.
Please help to break the taboo of baby loss.
In memory of my gorgeous blessing of a niece, Pip Westmoreland, who I shall forever hold in my heart.