About – Baby Loss Awareness Week

About Baby Loss Awareness Week

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity:

  • For bereaved parents, and their families and friends, to unite with others across the world to commemorate their babies’ lives.
  • To raise awareness about pregnancy and baby loss in the UK.
  • To drive for improvements in both care and support for those affected and in the prevention of pregnancy and baby loss.

The Baby Loss Awareness Week Alliance are committed to raising awareness of pregnancy and baby loss, providing support to anyone affected by pregnancy loss and the death of a baby, working with health professionals and services to improve bereavement care, and reducing preventable deaths.

The aims of Baby Loss Awareness Week

1. Remembrance

2. Raising Awareness

3. Driving Change

Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020

This year we are highlighting the isolation many people experience after pregnancy and baby loss – women, partners, other family members and friends.

 

The effect of social distancing from Covid-19 has had a major impact on access to care and support and has complicated grief and responses to pregnancy and baby loss.

 

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, feelings of isolation have become more widespread around the world and many people have begun to talk more openly about loneliness.

 

Now more than ever, we can all come together to let those affected by pregnancy and baby loss know they are not alone and that we are all here to support them.

 

So, this year, we invite everyone to come together, share their experiences and show their support for those who have experienced the loss of a baby – whether or not they have been directly affected themselves.

 

Each day during #BLAW2020 we will explore a different topic, sharing the Alliance’s wide range of excellent support and information and coping techniques too – engaging with people from all backgrounds and experiences of loss.

 

Friday 9th October

Introduction to the week, mental wellbeing, a day for those directly affected

 

Saturday 10th

Partners

 

Sunday 11th

Wider family (including children) and friends – support for them and how they can support someone they know

 

Monday 12th

Workplace – how to support employees, advice for employers/managers, HR departments, and colleagues

 

Tuesday 13th

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities – including issues around access to care and to information/support, higher risk pregnancies, assumptions regarding family support systems or culture or religious beliefs and language barriers

 

Wednesday 14th

LGBTQ+ – including trans parents, male couples, those using surrogates and non-biological parents/parents-to-be

 

Thursday 15th

Remembering your baby – different ways you can do this, cultures, traditions and Wave of Light

 

Want to share your story? Find out more here. 

How it all started

A brief history of Baby Loss Awareness Week

October 15 2002 was the inaugural Baby Loss Awareness Day in the UK and was initiated by a group of parents inspired by Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. Through the sale of handmade blue and pink ribbon pins they raised several thousand pounds for UK organisations supporting bereaved parents.

The 2003 campaign saw the day expanded to a week with events across the UK. The very first official ‘Wave of Light’ service in the UK was held at the American Church in London and was attended by representatives and members of each participating organisation. There were also services held across the UK from Scotland to Surrey. Once again, the ribbon pins were made and sold by bereaved parents.

The 2004 campaign was a more formal collaboration between the five organisations involved which included Sands, the Miscarriage Association, the Ectopic Pregnancy TrustARC and Babyloss.com. The ribbon pins were commercially manufactured and balloon releases were held in several locations. The group organised a secular service at the Royal Statistical Society in London and there were over twenty other events around the UK.

In 2006 the distinctive two colour ribbon was introduced and the ribbon pins were once again made by bereaved parents with the help of their family and friends.

Since 2010 Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, has played a pivotal role within the organisation of the week and since 2014 has taken a lead role to promote the week as part of its work raising awareness of the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK.

We don’t just work on bereavement.  Many charities involved in Baby Loss Awareness Week work every day to prevent baby and infant deaths, pregnancy loss and maternal deaths. But this Baby Loss Awareness Week we want to talk about what could be done right now to better support families affected by the death of a baby.

What we called for during Baby Loss Awareness Week 2019

Thousands of parents experience pregnancy or baby loss every year, many will go on to experience psychiatric illness that requires specialist support, triggered by intense grief and the trauma of their experience.

Our research shows that too often this support is unavailable, inaccessible or inappropriate. Bereaved parents are falling through the gaps between policy and funding, regularly overlooked altogether.

For 2019, we called on Governments across the UK to take action to ensure that all parents who experience pregnancy or baby loss and need specialist psychological support can access it, at a time and place that is right for them, free of charge, wherever they live.

What we called for during Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018

Every year, thousands of people experience the loss of a baby in pregnancy, at or soon after birth, and in infancy.

The care that bereaved families receive from health and other professionals, following pregnancy loss or the death of their baby, can have long-lasting effects. Good care cannot remove parents’ pain and grief, but it can help them through this devastating time. In contrast, poor care can significantly add to their distress.

However, the standard of care in the UK varies between regions, and even within settings depending on at what stage a loss occurs – from early pregnancy through to infancy.

As a result many parents do not receive the good quality bereavement support they so desperately need after pregnancy or baby loss.