It’s nearly that time of year again when bereaved families, charities, healthcare professionals and politicians (yes, even politicians) work together to raise awareness of the issue around baby loss.
I’ve written before about the awful generalness of the term awareness before. The danger of these weeks is that they blur into one, each dedicated to a niche area most people never expect to be exposed to and the only lasting impression left is “oh, how sad” without translating into any deeper change of attitude, perception or behaviour. Despite these fears there’s much to cheer.
Last year was a huge moment for baby loss awareness. There was a great deal of activity on the healthcare side, there were widely publicised political debates receiving national coverage and more of our stories were given attention and charities received healthy donations to support them support others and research ways to prevent this from happening to more families.
Charities like Sands have launched bereavement care pathway pilots to try and address the huge regional variations in bereavement care and healthcare professionals continue to strive to get better, learn from parents and share experiences. All of this against a constant backdrop of fundraising, cake, treks and running endless miles.
There is a lot going on. There is more to come.
Ahead of Baby Loss Awareness Week the International Stillbirth Alliance is holding a conference this weekend. You can follow the updates using #ISACork2017 or by following @ISAcork2017 on Twitter. The conference abstracts are available here.
The network of charities in Baby Loss Awareness Week are looking for stories to illustrate what good care looks like to parents who have experienced the death of a baby. You can submit your 150 words here.
I’ve written before about not needing a badge but an awareness week isn’t an awareness week without one. You can find them here and wear them to show support for the cause or to start conversations about our lost children and the many, many issues that come with it. Naturally you can share pictures of your pin using the #babyloss to help raise awareness one ribbon at a time.
There will be a Parliamentary debate on baby loss on 10 October which will help raise the political profile of this issue and help maintain momentum to make the changes needed to improve prevention, bereavement care and the aftermath. If you can I would urge you to contact your MP to encourage them to attend to either show their support or to raise an issue that matters to you. This is an area of cross party support so the worst aspects of politicking can hopefully be kept to a minimum.
The week ends with the Wave of Light at 7pm on October 15 where we light candles in our babies’ memories and leave them burning for an hour. We can share these pictures using the #WaveofLight.
All this will take place amongst remembrance services and memory walks. You can find details of these (and share your own) public events on the Babyloss Awareness Week Facebook page.
There is a lot of good going on to address baby loss and even an awards ceremony to honour that work. The Butterfly Awards will be held on 14 October 2017 and you can vote for the award winners to recognise and thank them here.