Tag Archives: Campaign

Baby Loss Awareness Week

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Being a mum can be hard sometimes. Really hard. But not being a mum, when you really want to be. That’s a whole different ball game.

Tomorrow is the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week. If you asked me 6 years ago whether I’d heard there of such a week, my answer would have been no. If you asked me whether I would be sat up on a Saturday night writing about losing a baby, I would have thought you were mad.

But here I am. A bereaved mother. Unfortunately not alone, but one of many.

It is estimated that one in four women experience pregnancy loss. A quarter. 25%. Before our own loss, I knew of very few people who have been affected. In the few days following Ewan’s death, the number doubled if not tripled. People shared their own experiences or those of friends or relatives. Some were recent, others dated back 40 years. All too quickly, baby loss became far more common that I ever realised. Just less than 3 weeks after losing Ewan, one of my best friends received devastating news about her own pregnancy. The only slither of a silver lining being that I felt I was able to help her because of my own experience.

Talking about the loss of a baby is often taboo. I’ve often thought about why that is. I think generally as a society we don’t like to talk about death. We find it uncomfortable. People don’t know what to say to one another. Most likely for fear of saying the wrong thing. For some reason that is heightened when it is the death of a baby. Whether it is an early miscarriage or a full term pregnancy.

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Ewan at 12 weeks

As part of Baby Loss Awareness Week I am here to talk about it. Break the Silence. That has always been an aim of my blog, I just unfortunately don’t have the time to write often. But I’ll be honest, I do sometimes worry that people don’t want to read what I have to say about our experiences. I think I should write about jollier things. Silly really. If you don’t want to read, no-one is stopping you.

So unashamedly throughout this week I’ve decided to either write a new blog or share an old one every day. To commemorate but also to embrace. I’ll apologise in advance if they are upsetting (there is always a get out clause – you don’t have to read them). Hopefully for those of you who have ready my posts before, you will know that I try to look for the positives. You know that I consider us to be so incredibly blessed to have two amazing, beautiful, energetic and fun-loving boys, who have helped us to heal in so many ways. But know that we will never ever fully heal. Any bereaved parent will tell you the same.

Please take some time out of your busy lives to find out more about Baby Loss Awareness Week.  About the 24 amazing charities who are involved, who tirelessly raise awareness throughout the year and campaign for change.

http://babyloss-awareness.org/

If you know someone who has lost a baby, take time this week to acknowledge their loss. Whether it was last month, last year or 40 years ago. I am sure they will appreciate a hug or a few words so that they know you have been thinking of them.

Finally, if you can, join the Global Wave of Light on October 15th at 7pm. October 15th is International Pregancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Families all over the world will be remembering their babies who were taken too soon. Light a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least an hour. Post your photo to Facebook or Twitter to join the digital Wave of Light using #waveoflight

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Enchanting Stars

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I discovered after starting my own blog, that there are thousands of blogs out in cyber space. Probably tens to hundreds of thousands. Far too many to read and keep up with. There are however, a small number of blogs that I do subscribe to. These are the ones that, in particular, I love to read. Either the content or style of writing, or both.

There is one I really want to share with you – ‘Same Person, Different Me’. You may already be aware of the author/blogger, Joanne Thompson. She is the co-founder (along with her husband Dan) of the charity Millie’s Trust. Joanne and Dan set up the charity after the tragic death of their baby daughter Millie in a choking incident in 2012. The charity offers first aid training at extremely low costs (and in some cases free) as they believe everyone should have access to gaining life-saving skills, regardless of circumstances. In addition they are petitioning for all staff in nurseries to be Paediatric First Aid trained.

Our children are similar ages. Dylan and Millie were both born in January 2012. Jude and their second baby, Leo were both born in February 2015. I wonder if that is one of the many reasons why I am drawn to reading Joanne’s blog. We have also both experienced losing a child, although admittedly in very different circumstances.

It is clear that the family went through an incredibly heart-breaking and devastating experience. And still are. And whilst some people would be completely broken (not to say that they weren’t), they channelled their energies to create something positive and worthwhile. A lasting memory of their baby girl, Millie’s charity. They are the epitome of an inspirational couple.

Same Person, Different Me is a very emotional blog. Joanne writes very candidly about her memories of Millie, how she deals with different anniversaries and the mental health illnesses she was diagnosed with after Millie’s death. She also writes about Millie’s brother, their Rainbow Leo and the absolute joy he gives them. She writes about how she got through her pregnancy and how she is currently dealing with the issue of weaning. Most parents out there would see weaning as an exciting time. But understandably given the way Millie died, it has been much more difficult for Joanne. I feel as though she is so incredibly brave to share her thoughts and feelings. If you are going to read any other blog, then please head on over to take a look.

Finally (and this is what has prompted me to share my love for the blog), Joanne and Dan have entered a competition by Thomson to name a plane! They could very easily have chosen a name representing Millie or Leo. But instead they have entered ‘Enchanting Stars’ to represent all our lost loved ones, flying high through the clouds. This is her full post with its beautiful explanation. So click on the link below to vote for Enchanting Stars. If you don’t have a lost loved one, then use your vote for our angel Ewan.

http://www.nameourplane.com/name/enchanting-stars

Group B Strep Awareness Campaign

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One of my aims with this blog is to raise awareness of stillbirth, baby loss and anything connected to it. Since launching myself on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, I have learnt about a charity called Group B Strep Support and their ‘Why Guess’ campaign. July is Group Strep B awareness month which is possibly why I have heard so much about it. So whilst we are still in July (just) I wanted to pass on the information I have learnt to you all (another example of me devouring information on a website!), and hopefully engage your support.

In a nutshell, Group B Streptococcus is a normally occurring bacterium which is usually harmless and can be found in around 20-30% of people. However it can be passed from mother to baby around birth, and for those babies that develop Group B Strep infection it is potentially life-threatening.

Here come the numbers:

  1. Group B Strep is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies, causing septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis
  2. Every week in the UK, one baby dies from group B infection
  3. Every fortnight in the UK, one survivor is left with long term mental or physical disabilities

Whilst many developed countries routinely offer pregnant women testing for Group B Strep, it is not offered in the UK. According to the charity, the test would cost £11 and if Group B Strep is detected, then it can be treated with penicillin. £11? I mean that’s not expensive is it? You can buy an 8 piece KFC bargain bucket for £10.99 (not sure why I used KFC as an example, I hate it!).

So you might be thinking, hmmm, one baby dies a week, that’s actually just 52 babies a year. Compare that with the 700,000+ babies born each year. Maybe that is why the test is not justified (I don’t know .. I am just speculating!). And although the test may seem cheap to us – £11, when you multiply it for every pregnant women that comes to well over £7 million a year. Now I’m not Jeremy Hunt (and I’m extremely glad I’m not – that guy is one seriously unpopular Health Secretary dude) and I don’t have the NHS purse strings. I don’t know exactly how much everything costs …. although I am guessing that they have one seriously LARGE budget. I do have friends who work for the NHS (and work bloody hard too) and they tell me how frustrated they can get with the money and time which is wasted.

And what I do know is this. I know the pain of losing a baby. I know the pain of having your dreams shattered in a heartbeat. I know how it feels when all the excitement of a newborn comes crashing down around you. I know that if Ewan had died because of an infection which could have easily tested and easily treated ……………. Actually that I don’t know. I can only imagine. Disbelief, horror, frustration, anger. Along with all the other awful feelings that bereavement brings.

So for that reason, I signed the petition asking for the NHS to routinely provide tests to pregnant women to prevent any more avoidable deaths. If you agree with me, then please do the same.

Group B Strep Petition

At the time of writing, there are over £190,000 signatures. Wouldn’t it be amazing to help push this up to their target of 200,000?

All the Group B Strep information has come from the GBS Support website if you want to read more. You can follow them on Twitter @GBSSupport and on Facebook

I think this is a really worthy campaign. I hope you do too. If you do sign the petition, I’d be really interested to know – leave a comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter.

And just a final thought for all the angels who have been taken, and the families who have been affected. My heart goes out to you all. Much love.