I want to be able to write some hugely profound piece to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, that conveys everything that I want the world to know about Baby Loss… but the words have failed me so much that I’ve barely heard the urge to start writing something just to delete it again.
What do I want the world to know about baby loss? About stillbirth, about miscarriage, about grief, about it all? This is just such an enormous topic, I don’t think I’ll ever do it justice. But I’ll try.
I want people to know that this happens so much more than you think. So much more. Today, ten babies will be stillborn in the UK. Ten babies will never get the opportunity to fill up memory books, or first year flipagrams. Ten babies whose parents will never hear cry, or be able to hold without blood seaping from their noses and their mouths. Ten families will begin the arduous task of post mortems, of funerals, or going back home and leaving their babies behind. Some of these families will have answers, some may have expected it and been forewarned, some will have started labour with anticipation and excitement, their babies still alive, some will have had such devastating news just hours before. You see, stillbirth isn’t just one thing, it is a wide range of things. So many difference experiences. Still the same depth of devastation.
I want the world to know that these families have not just lost a pregnancy, this outcome was not Gods way, or the way it was just meant to be. For some, it could have been avoided, different decisions could have been made, tests could have been performed. For others, it happened, they don’t know why, but they’ll forever ask those questions.
I want people to understand that this isnt something that only happens to unhealthy people, with unhealthy babies. There is zero discrimination in Baby Loss. It can happen to anyone. It did happen to us. Twice.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in a loss. These aren’t statistics, these are real people with real life’s. It isn’t something that can be moved on from, it isn’t something to get over. Everyone experiences and understands it differently when it happens to them, but believe me – holding your dead baby doesn’t leave you.
I want the world to understand that the guilt you have after your baby dies is suffocating. You question everything. I want the world to recognise that our naivety and innocence has been robbed, our perspectives shifted, our anxieties to anything and everything multiplied. Our personalities altered, forever reflecting our love and our loss.
I want the world to know that this doesn’t just affect the person who carried that baby. I want them to know that the entire family feels it – these babies are grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins. I want the world to know that there are ‘honorary aunties and uncles’ out there too. The reach is so far and so wide.
I want the world to know how deafening the silence can be. Not just the silence of your newborn, but the silence of your friends, of people who you thought would support you. How oppressive that can make your every day movements. How angry that can make you, how you question it all. Do they care too much, or not at all?
I want the world to understand that grief is limitless, it creeps up on your unannounced, without reason. The answer to “are you okay” will always be, no no I’m really not okay, you see my baby is still dead, regardless of what we say out loud. The bereaved are good actors, you see. We fear the world doesn’t want to see our pain, so some of us will abide by its wishes, and hide and scream inside instead.
I want the world to know that there is beauty in the eyes of another bereaved parent, in the ones who understand without an explanation, who can translate your woes and your fears, and who can still make you laugh, cry or smile with ease.
I want the world to know that it is okay that we are not okay. It is okay that we miss our babies still, it is okay that we are in pain, that we have changed, that we long for them and fail to accept or understand why we have this life. We are at some level of peace that this is the gift our child has given us, even though just having them here was all we asked for.
I want the world to know that it is okay that we fight, that we engage in all things stillbirth. It is not unhealthy to be surrounded by it, if it was – we are all dammed, because we cannot separate the concept of stillbirth from our lives. We would do anything to help the others joining our club, or to just stop them joining in the first place. That is what we fight for. Why we speak. Why we share. Why we beat the stillbirth drum.
This week is an important week. So much is happening for Baby Loss. But our life’s are more than a week. Every day is Baby Loss Awareness day. We life this. We know this. We are aware.
Please if you do not live this, if you are not aware – engage, get aware. This isn’t just some smal issue, this is huge. The numbers are far too great and we can do so much better. We need to talk about it to prevent it. Talking about it doesn’t make it spread, it isn’t catching. We cant prevent something by sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring it.
Join us for the Wave of Light on the 15th October, 7pm worldwide and remember the babies gone too soon. But vow to talk about it. Engage. Be a good friend. Get informed. Challenge people. Most of all, remember them and say their names.