Baby Loss Awareness Week (#babyloss), takes place annually from 9 to 15 October.
Pregnancy and baby loss affects thousands of families each year across the UK. The death of a baby is a tragedy that can happen to anyone, at any time. It can be devastating, not only for parents, but also their families and their friends and can have long-term lasting effects. The week is an opportunity for them to acknowledge and remember their precious babies and for people to talk openly about the subject of and raise awareness of pregnancy, baby and infant loss.
Twenty-four charities have joined together to mark the week, which culminates with the international Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on Saturday 15 October. Across the world, people are invited to take part in the global 'Wave of Light' (#waveoflight) at 7pm local time to remember all the babies that have died during pregnancy, at, during or after birth by lighting a candle and leaving it burning for an hour. Images of the burning candles are shared on social media using the hashtag #waveoflight.
Among other activities, throughout the week bereaved parents and their families will be sharing examples of something that someone said or did that helped them after their loss. It is hoped that this will inspire others and bring the issue out into the open. People are invited to wear a Baby Loss pin, available from the Baby Loss Awareness Week website: www.babyloss-awareness.org.
As one bereaved mother explained: “We lost our beautiful son Richard on 26th August 2015. He lived for a precious eleven hours. Our bereavement midwife was amazing. She organised photos, took prints and actually spoke to Richard whilst doing all these wonderful things. My consultant and midwives who cared for me through my pregnancy came to see Richard and said some comforting words. The compassion and care for Richard and all of us as a family will never be forgotten.”
Dr Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands, said: “Now in its fifteenth year we hope that this week will help families feel less isolated and alone by giving them the opportunity to join with others and remember their babies, whether it be in public or private, across the world.
“Since Baby Loss Awareness Week started, more and more charities have come together that are committed to raising awareness of the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss, and working for change to reduce the number of families affected each year in the UK.”
For the first time, the charities supporting Baby Loss Awareness week will be working with the newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss to highlight in Parliament the impact of losing a baby. Events in Parliament include a reception hosted by the Speaker, the Rt Hon John Bercow, a remembrance service in the Chapel, St Mary’s Undercroft on Wednesday 12 October, and a backbench debate on baby loss on Thursday 13 October.
Baby Loss Awareness Week is co-ordinated by Sands on behalf of a number of baby loss and children’s charities united in their support for families who experience pregnancy loss or the death of a baby. The 24 charities are: Sands, Aching Arms, Action on Pre-eclampsia, ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices), Bliss, Child Bereavement UK, CMV Action, The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, Group B Strep Support, ICP Support, Kicks Count, Life After Loss, The Lullaby Trust, Making Miracles, the Miscarriage Association, The Multiple Births Foundation, Petals, SANDS Lothians, The Scottish Cot Death Trust, SiMBA, Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association), Teddy’s Wish, Together for Short Lives and Tommy’s.
For further information or for details on how you can support the campaign and the week please visit www.babyloss-awareness.org.
Notes to editors:
Baby Loss Awareness Week pin badges and tea lights are available to buy from participating charities via the Baby Loss website.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day is Saturday 15 October 2016.
The Global Wave of Light takes place on Saturday 15 October at 7pm.