Health · Maternity Matters

we need to talk about baby loss

Baby loss image 2There are many sensitive subjects that are considered ‘taboo’; personal circumstances that we just aren’t supposed to talk about in polite society in case other people are offended. Heaven forbid we should make someone feel uncomfortable with our unpalatable problems. In some cases you can appreciate this being the way of things, but a lot of the time there are benefits to talking about these taboo subjects in a constructive manner, and I want to talk about one of them now.

Baby loss is, thankfully, an alien experience for the majority of people, but it is still the case that thousands of families are affected by it every year and it is more common than you might think. Over 5700 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth each year in the UK, with each one being a hugely traumatic experience for parents, siblings, and extended family. This is not to mention the quarter of a million miscarriages which happen each year, normally before three months of pregnancy but no less devastating for parents losing a much-wanted baby, however early on.

Baby loss image 49th-15th October is Baby Loss Awareness Week, and if you spend any time on social media, the chances are you will see at least one of your friends mention it. In fact, it may surprise you to learn how many of your friends, acquaintances and work colleagues have been directly or indirectly affected by baby loss but have never spoken of it. Of course it is upsetting to hear about, but imagine how difficult it must be to live with the life-changing grief and the memory of it day in day out. It can be extremely cathartic for those who have suffered a loss to be able to talk about their baby, to use their name, to acknowledge their albeit terribly short life and not feel bad for doing it.

One of the greatest advantages to not sweeping baby loss under the carpet is to advance research into stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth, and to raise awareness among pregnant women as to what they can do personally to increase their chances of a successful pregnancy. My good friend Heidi Eldridge set up the charity MAMA Academy to do just this after her first son Aidan was stillborn in 2009. Good can come from such a tragedy – but only if we’re willing to keep baby loss in the public eye.

Baby loss image 6

Visit the MAMA Academy website for pregnancy education and more on our mission to reduce baby loss.

5 thoughts on “we need to talk about baby loss

  1. You make a lot of great points. Thanks for helping to bring awareness. It’s needed. The medical profession is even really forced to address it because many people just do not talk about it.

    1. Thanks Christine. I agree there is much more that can be done by the maternity profession to aid both prevention of loss and bereavement care. Quality of care can vary quite a bit unfortunately, especially in the latter area.

  2. Thank you for writing this. I’ve shared my own experience in a bid to break the silence around baby loss and had an overwhelming response so far. Do you have any more information on the charity your friend set up please? I think what she’s doing is amazing. X

    1. Thanks for your comment – I’m so sorry for your loss. If you’d like to learn more about the work of MAMA Academy, please follow the link at the bottom of the post and check out the website. I volunteer for the charity as General Manager and I’m also one of the trustees. We can always do with new support! Thank you πŸ™‚

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