Baby Loss Awareness Week is a time for bereaved parents, family members and friends to commemorate the lives of the babies they’ve lost, in unison with thousands of other families around the world who’ve experienced a similar all-too-soon loss of a loved little one.
Around 250,000 families a year lose a baby in the UK. We’ve put together a range of resources to help you find comfort and support, as well as a helpful list of how to get involved in the many beautiful initiatives happening across Baby Loss Awareness Week that will support research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives and improve bereavement care for those affected.
Any person affected by the loss of a baby, from early pregnancy on, knows that grief exists where love lived first.
In the UK, miscarriage affects about one in four pregnancies, and one in every 200 births is a stillbirth. The loss of a baby remains somewhat a taboo subject, despite the fact that – just as with all circumstances that can take a toll on a person’s mental health – it’s crucial that a grieving parent’s emotions are not dismissed.
We, as a society, might be afraid to talk about pregnancy and infant loss, or unsure of how to talk about it. But, for the sake of the thousands of parents a year for whom it becomes a devastating reality, it’s important that we do, and that we know how to help in meaningful ways.
That’s one of the main reasons behind Baby Loss Awareness Week, which takes place this week. Running from October 9-15, it’s an opportunity to learn useful ways to help and support loved ones, and help the many charities working to better care for bereaved parents and families.
This year’s Baby Loss Awareness Week focuses on the importance of achieving better bereavement care for people affected by pregnancy and baby loss.
While there is still not enough support available to grieving parents (for example, an audit carried out by Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, last year, found that one in three Trusts and Health Boards did not house a dedicated bereavement room in every maternity unit they cover), there are many incredible charities and organisations available that can offer advice, support and information.
Whether you’ve lost a baby early in pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, or you’re a friend, family member or health professional looking to do the best you can in supporting those going through it, there’s a host of great organisations that can offer comforting support and lots of useful tools and resources. Here is a list of just some of the organisations you might find helpful:
Sands is a stillbirth and neonatal death charity that provides support for anyone affected by the death of a baby, and is working on improved bereavement care for parents and furthering research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives. Go to the Sands website for an entire range of support including a helpline, support groups, a forum, to order a support pack or memory box (now free for bereaved parents and healthcare professionals), read and share personal stories, and much more. Helpline: 0808 164 3332.
- The Miscarriage Association
The Miscarriage Association provides support and information, a helpline, forum, leaflets, Facebook community, support groups and more for anyone affected by miscarriage.
The Miscarriage Association also recently launched their #SimplySay campaign, to help people find the right words when someone they love experiences pregnancy loss. Visit their site here to learn more about the campaign and all their services. Helpline: 01924 200799
- Anam Cara
A charity supporting parents after bereavement, based in Ireland.
- The Lullaby Trust
Providing support for bereaved families and raising awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Dedicated line for bereaved families: 0808 802 6868
- Aching Arms
A charity that helps comfort parents and families after the loss of a baby by providing teddy bears to hospitals across England and Wales.
- Action on Pre-Eclampsia
Helpline 020 8427 4217
- Baby Lifeline
A charity supporting the care of pregnant women and newborn babies.
- Child Bereavement UK
Helpline 0800 02 888 40
- Kicks Count
The UK’s leading fetal movement awareness campaign.
The UK’s largest charity funding research to help save babies’ lives.
October 15. Get involved. Raise Funds. Join the Conversation.
Here are some ways you can show your support during Baby Loss Awareness Week.
- Buy & wear a pin
The Baby Loss Awareness pin will be available throughout the week from Sands and other charities for £1.
- Break The Silence
Help soften the taboo around talking about baby loss by sharing personal stories, telling a friend about Baby Loss Awareness Week, and adding to the conversation across social media using the hashtag #babyloss
- Join the Wave of Light
October 15 is recognised around the world as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Lighting begins in the first time zone for an hour, before being passed onto the next zone, resulting in a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24-hour period. To take part, you can join the global Wave of Light by simply lighting a candle at 7pm and leaving it to burn bright for at least one hour to unite with others across the world in remembering babies lost during pregnancy, birth or early infancy. You can also purchase an official Wave of Light charity candle for £4 from Sands.
For more options and ideas to help raise funds for research and improved bereavement care, during Baby Loss Awareness Week or any other time, visit the Baby Loss Awareness website.
A bit about Moment Health…
Moment Health is a technology company that aims to prioritise Maternal Mental Health and provide new parents with the tools and knowledge they need to sustain good mental wellbeing – from pregnancy through to parenthood.
The Moment Health app has been developed with clinicians and healthcare professionals. It screens for perinatal, postnatal and associated anxieties, and includes additional features such as a helpful guide to practical and accessible coping strategies.
At Moment Health, our mission is to make maternal mental health mainstream #MakeItMainstream.
Download our App today