Over the past few months I have been reminded that not all pregnancy journeys have a happy ending. Although many pregnancies progress healthily to term, some babies are lost in the first few weeks of pregnancy as an ‘early miscarriage’, a few sadly die mid trimester and tragically there are a small number of babies who are ‘born sleeping’ after 28 weeks.
For most people this is very difficult to talk about, often because we don’t want to create fear and anxiety for those who are currently pregnant.
And yet we must be able to acknowledge these life events, tragic and incredibly sad though they are. To do so with sensitivity, kindness and empathy allows us to stand by people, extend our support, show we care, recognising that a much hoped for and loved baby was created, lived and died.
It can be difficult to know what to say to a parent who has lost their baby – at any stage in pregnancy. I believe that a genuine, heartfelt ‘I am so sorry that you have lost your baby’ can be a place to start. And then to listen. There are things in life that sadly cannot be ‘fixed’ but reaching out to those who have experienced the loss of their baby can help them to find a way forward in the darkness.
There are also the most amazing charities out there, such as 4Louis, Group B Strep Support, Mama Academy and more – almost all of which were set up by bereaved parents and grandparents who turned their heartbreaking loss into helping others. I am truly inspired and humbled by these individuals and I know first hand that they have helped so many families, and continue to do so.