Three things I learnt from Baby Loss Awareness Week
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
This year was my second year experiencing Baby Loss Awareness Week as a loss parent. The aim of the week, which takes place annually from 9th-15th October, is to break the silence around this devestating experience and help those who have gone through it feel less alone.
One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage before 12 weeks. Losses after this time are rare but do still happen for a variety of reasons. I lost our first son at 19 weeks in October 2018. You can read more about my experience shared here.
Excited for the future at 15 weeks pregnant.
For this blog post, though, I want to talk about what I learned from engaging for the first time with Baby Loss Awareness Week.
1. The conversation is opening up
We are slowly seeing more awareness surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. Although there is still a stigma attached and it is seen as taboo to discuss, an increasing amount of celebrities are opening up about their own experiences, something which is definitely encouraging. Chrissy Teigen so bravely shared intimate details of her loss this year, which led to an outpouring of support and the issue being highglighted to an audience who may not have interacted with such a cause otherwise. The Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Tommy’s, the national centre for miscarriage research, also made the headlines, while buildings all over the country were lit up in blue and pink to show their support during the week. All of this work is fantastic to bring the conversation to the surface and, although we still have a long way to go in removing the stigma attached, it’s progress.
2. It’s ok to not engage
Sharing my own personal story was something I felt was really important this year. I lost my first son just after baby loss awareness week in 2018, and then for 2019 I had my one-month old rainbow baby keeping me preoccupied amidst the pain which inevitably occurs for me around this time of year. For 2020, I was compelled to break my silence on the subject and share details of what happened to me publicly for the first time. The response I received was overwhelming, being sent countless messages of kindness and support, something I am extremely grateful for. However, sharing something so incredibly personal and painful, although vital for education and expressing solidarity with that community, totally wiped me out emotionally and I needed a few days off social media to decompress. So, I have learnt that if you are not ready to share your experience, if it feels too much to be involved, then it is totally fine not to engage with the cause. Loss parents don’t need a week to remind them of what they have been through, and if it is better for your mental health to stay off social media and avoid the topic completely then that is absolutely ok. I believe that Baby Loss Awareness Week exists not only to help parents feel less alone, but to shine a spotlight on the issue for the wider public, and quite frankly, if you’ve lost a baby, you’re living the experience and there is no need to get involved further if you don’t wish to.
3. It is far more common than you realise
When you start talking about losing your baby, it is highly likely the person you’re conversing with will know a friend/cousin/sister it has happened to, too. I was somehow comforted and equally saddened to read of those who I know sharing their own experiences on my Instagram post. And this just highlighted to me, more than anything else, how important it is to talk about it, to stop all those living it feeling so alone. I also think that it is even more necessary to share to illustrate that pregnancy loss doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are fit, young, a yoga teacher, outdoorsy, vegetarian, non-smoker; it can, and does, happen to anyone.
So those are my three personal take-aways from engaging for the first time with Baby Loss Awareness Week. For those who have lived this nightmare, it is the saddest club to be a part of, but I hope you feel a little less alone in hearing my story.
If you need more support, you can reach out to these fantastic charities:
Sending love to all x
Smiling through the pain during three days in hopsital, October 2018.