By Michael Turner, a serious injury paralegal at Irwin Mitchell
Whist miscarriage, stillbirth and neo-natal death are not issues that I deal with in my day to day role as a paralegal in the Serious Injury Team, baby loss is a subject close to my heart.
In 2014, my nephew, Benjamin, was stillborn following complications during pregnancy. Then in 2015, Benjamin’s little brother Harry passed away shortly after being born very prematurely. As someone who has experienced first-hand the difficulties and heartache associated with loss of a baby, I find myself well placed to comment on the need to talk.
Speaking about baby loss doesn't need to be awkward
As a collective society we can often feel that baby loss is something of an awkward subject but that really does not have to be the case. Personally I am always happy to talk about my two nephews.
Whilst we were never able to meet and will never have the chance to watch them grow up, they are both still a huge part of my family. We have photos of them proudly displayed in the family home. My sister too, is always keen to talk about her two little boys.
Baby Loss Awareness Week
With Baby Loss Awareness Week taking place from 9 October, there is no better time to once again raise the need to talk. It is important for other not to shy away from the subject but embrace it, ask questions about the baby, their name, weight etc. as you normally would.
The majority of the time, doing so will be of benefit to bereaved parent or family member. It is vitally important that a lost baby is not forgotten and a big part of that is keeping their memory alive by talking about them.
What is more, by keeping the discussion going, more emphasis will be placed on what key causes of baby loss are, and, importantly, what can be done to reduce baby loss.
Support is available
Of real benefit to my sister and our family were two charities. SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths) is a national charity with local branches around the country. The local Chesterfield branch helped our family by providing a memory box containing important keepsakes.
It also provided ink pads to allow hand and foot prints to be taken. SANDS is arrange local ‘Wave of Light’ ceremonies each year which coincide with Baby Loss Awareness week. Having attended these on a number of occasions it is clear what a vital support network the local community, particularly who have experienced heartache, can be.
There are also regular monthly meeting and access to advice and guidance with regard to things such as a return to work following the loss of a baby, or funeral arrangements.
Another charity, 4Louis, provided a similar memory box for Benjamin. It too provide important advice and guidance to bereaved families.
Many landmarks will light up in pink and blue to acknowledge Baby Loss awareness week later this month. I will be wearing my pink and blue ribbon badge with pride from 9 October. There is no better timely reminder that it’s good to talk.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting families affected by baby loss at our dedicated birth injuries section.
As a collective society we can often feel that baby loss is something of an awkward subject but that really does not have to be the case