An opportunity to give your views on bereavement care

Maternity Review: Invitation to families who’ve been bereaved or experienced complications in their maternity care.

Friday 6 November, Manchester

Friday 20 November, London

We have mentioned before that there is currently an independent review of NHS maternity services in England to make recommendations for improvements in maternity care provision.  Some of you may have been to the consultation meetings that have been held around the country.

Thanks to the work of our sister charities SANDS and BLISS, the review team have now added two additional opportunities to focus on care after bereavement or complications in maternity care.  While the focus is generally on care after 12 weeks of pregnancy, this may be of interest to you, so we have posted the details here.

 

The NHS Maternity Review, in conjunction with the charities Sands and Bliss, would like to invite parents to come and share their views on maternity services if they have experienced the following:

  • the death of their baby before, during or soon after birth or
  • complications affecting the health of mother or baby (including neonatal admission after birth)

During these meetings we would like to talk to you about your views on maternity services. We will focus on learning from your experiences and listening to your suggestions on what can be done to improve maternity and neonatal services in the future.  Your views will be treated as confidential and all views will be respected.

The events will take place on Friday 6th November in central Manchester and in London on the 20th November.

At each event two sessions will be held for different groups of people:

Friday 6th November, Manchester

Session 1 – for parents of babies who died before, during or soon after birth

9.30 – 13.15 (Arrival from 09.00), facilitated by Sands

Session 2 – for parents who experienced complications in pregnancy, labour or birth affecting the health of mother or baby, including admission to neonatal care.

14.00 – 16.30 (Arrival from 13.30), facilitated by Bliss

Friday 20th November, London

Session 1 – for parents who experienced complications in pregnancy, labour or birth affecting the health of mother or baby, including admission to neonatal care

10.00 – 12.30 (Arrival from 09.30), facilitated by Bliss

Session 2 – for parents of babies who died before, during or soon after birth

13.00 – 16.15 (Arrival from 12.30), facilitated by Sands

 

To book your place, please email info@uk-sands.org, specifying which session you would like to attend and whether you would like to attend in Manchester or London.

For general enquiries about the Review please contact england.maternityreview@nhs.net

Please note that while your experience may relate to both sessions, you are requested to just choose one session in order to allow the maximum number of people to participate.

Travel costs can be reimbursed, and further information will be provided at the booking stage.

We recognise that it may be hard to take part in such discussions and therefore Sands and Bliss staff will be present to offer support should you need it.

 

For more information on the purpose and scope of the review, please visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/futurenhs/mat-review/

If you are unable to attend these events, very shortly you will also be able to take part in the review by completing an online survey specifically aimed at this group of parents, developed in collaboration with Sands and Bliss. An announcement will be made as soon as the survey goes live.

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An individual experience

While many people who experience pregnancy loss have feelings in common, it’s also clear that each situation is unique.  It can depend on

  • this particular woman or her partner;
  • the meaning this pregnancy had for them;
  • the loss itself; and
  • the future following that loss.

We share here four experiences, each focusing and reflecting on a different set of circumstances.

Gail discusses the particular perspective of pregnancy loss in her forties.

Jessica, still hoping to have a baby after experiencing ectopic pregnancy, observes a mother with a crying baby.

Elizabeth talks of experiencing the loss of her third child five months into her pregnancy.

Jasmin tells Asian weekly “Eastern Eye” about her experience of miscarriage and molar pregnancy.
(Our thanks to Eastern Eye for permission to link to this feature)

 

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A special day

Wave of LightEvery year, 15 October  marks International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, generally known in the UK as Babyloss Awareness Day.

Wherever you are, it offers an opportunity to join with others in marking the brief lives of babies who died in pregnancy, at or shortly after birth or in early infancy.

This year was no exception.  Some people were telling their stories, others sharing thoughts about what helped them through after their losses and some attended events or took part in some kind of activity to mark the day. Here we mention just three of these:

A ribbon

Some people wore a specially designed pin badge and/or added a virtual pin badge to their Facebook or Twitter profile or their email signature.  Many are continuing to wear their ribbons even after 15 October.

Wave of Light, 7 p.m.

A huge number of people took part in the Wave of Light, lighting a candle or candles at 7 p.m. in their local time zone. We are creating a video of candle images which we will highlight next week, but you see  our gallery of candles from 2014 here.

If you’d still like to share a photo of your candle/s, feel free to upload it to our Facebook page. If you would like your photo to be part of a video slideshow that we will create after Babyloss Awareness Day, please just add a note ‘For the video’ when you upload it.

First Heartbeat

A documentary about recurrent miscarriage, this film follows the journey of Lisa and David as they seek answers and hope after loss. Broadcast on the TLC* channel on 15 October, it will be repeated on Sat 17 and Mon 19 October at 9 p.m..

* SKY 125, VIRGIN 167, BT 323, TalkTalk 413

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Babyloss Awareness Week, 9-15 October

Pin badge

During Babyloss Awareness Week we are sharing stories, events and activities that mark the brief lives of babies lost in pregnancy, or during or shortly after birth.

The Miscarriage Association and our supporters are helping to break the taboo around pregnancy loss by:

Telling their stories/sharing their thoughts

  • Natalie shares her story here
  • LHands on keyboarducy remembers ‘Thailand baby’, the baby they never got to meet, here
  • Wendy reflects on pregnancy tests and losses, and shares a powerful poem here
  • In Babyloss Week, a year after her loss, Lilla reminds us here that fathers can suffer just as much as mothers and that it is important to care for them and the relationship too
  • Jade has collected thoughts, feelings and images from others who want to raise awareness about pregnancy loss in a YouTube video
  • Liverpool’s Bay TV hosts a thoughtful discussion on miscarriage, childlessness and faith, here
  • And at 10 p.m. on Thursday 15 October, the TLC channel will feature ‘First Heartbeat’, a documentary following Lisa and David’s story of recurrent miscarriage.

SayingThanks imageSaying thank you to those who supported us in what they said and did to help us through.  You can

Wearing a Babyloss Ribbon

 Attending an event

  • You’ll find information about events here and here.

CandleSharing the Wave of Light

  • Lighting a candle or candles at 7 p.m. local time on Thursday 15 October.  You can see our gallery of candles from 2014 here.

 

In addition to the Miscarriage Association, other charities marking Babyloss Awareness Week include SANDS, ARC, the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, BLISS, the Lullaby Trust and TAMBA.

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New guidance re miscarriage diagnosis

The diagnosis of miscarriage can be deeply distressing, especially if it also comes as a complete shock.  What it must also be, however, is absolutely accurate, and that can mean having to wait a week or more for a further scan – something many women find very hard to bear.

New research published in the British Medical Journal and commented on in their editorial and in the Guardian, confirms that scans may well need to be repeated at longer intervals than currently done in order to be absolutely certain of the diagnosis of miscarriage.

While this may increase anxiety and distress for those waiting for a repeat scan, it is better by far than making a mistake and actively ending a pregnancy which might otherwise survive.  The BMJ’s editorial comment, below, reflects on that difficult balance.

[Click on the image to enlarge it.]

 

EPSON MFP image

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A very tough mudder

Our warm wishes and sympathies to Charlotte Fowles, who broke her leg while taking part in the ‘Tough Mudder’ event on Saturday.

Charlotte FowlesFrom her hospital bed, she writes:

Was raising money for MA through the Tough Mudder yesterday and totally smashed it – including raising £1,600 so far! Sadly I also smashed my leg with 0.4 miles to go ????, falling onto it from an obstacle of about 8ft.

Currently in Southampton general awaiting an op, hopefully will be transferred back to London for it soon. The rest of the team finished the course well.

You can read about Charlotte’s reasons for taking part here.

Wishing you a full and gentle recovery, Charlotte.

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Plans for Babyloss Awareness Week 2015

Babyloss Awareness Week is held annually from October 9 to 15. Organised by a number of pregnancy and baby loss charities*, it’s a special opportunity to mark the brief lives of babies lost in pregnancy, or during or shortly after birth.

This year, during Babyloss Awareness Week, the Miscarriage Association and our supporters want to say thank you. Thank you to the thousands of people, across the UK, who supported us when we experienced pregnancy loss. Thank you to the friends and family, the nurses and doctors, for what they said to help us through.

In doing so, we want to break the taboo around talking about miscarriage – and let the community know that there are things they can say to help someone who has had a loss.

Saying Thanks - Sample campaign picture

SayingThanks#BLAW15

If you would like to get involved in this year’s campaign, we would like you to share something that someone said that helped you through. You can do this by:

  1. Taking a photo of you holding up a sign on which you’ve written: ‘Thank you for saying…’ and then your experience (eg. ‘Thank you for saying that you were sorry I’d lost my baby’). You can upload your photos to our Facebook page or email them to awareness@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.
  2. Making a quick video of yourself speaking to camera, finishing the phrase ‘Thank you for saying…’ You can upload these to your own YouTube channel and then send the link to us on awareness@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.
  3. Tweet your thank you message from your own twitter account, tagged #SayingThanksBLAW15.

We hope to bring together the submissions into a photo gallery and video playlist that we can share on International Babyloss Awareness Day (15 October 2015).

Babyloss Awareness Week pin badge

Babyloss Awareness Ribbons

We have Babyloss Awareness pin badges for sale in our online shop. Many of our supporters wear these during Babyloss Awareness Week, and have found them to be a conversation starter on the subject of pregnancy loss.

You might like to add a virtual Babyloss Awareness Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter profile picture.

Wave of Light

At 7 p.m. (local time) on October 15 (International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day), people from around the world will light a candle or candles, at 7pm creating a Wave of Light in memory of babies who have died too soon.

You can see our 2014 Wave of Light photo gallery on our Days that Matter website.

Support the Miscarriage Association

Every year, we talk to hundreds of people affected by baby loss: on our phone helpline, in our online forums and on email. You can help us continue this vital work, raising awareness and supporting those affected, by making a donation to the M.A. Text MISC11 £5 (or any other amount) to 70070 or find out other ways to donate.

Share your story

If you’re taking part in Babyloss Awareness Week this year – whether it’s by wearing a pin, taking part in a walk, or holding a sign – we’d love to publish what you’ve done and why on our Days That Matter site. Days That Matter is our project which is dedicated to recognising important dates related to baby loss. By sharing your story, you’ll help inspire others to get involved and help us raise awareness in the weeks and year ahead. To share your story and photos, email them to us on awareness@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.

Babyloss Awareness Week events

For updates on the Miscarriage Association’s activities during Babyloss Awareness Week, please like our Facebook page. Press enquiries, including requests for case studies, should be directed to our office on info@miscarriageassociation.org.uk or 01924 200795.

* Charities involved in Babyloss Awareness week include the Miscarriage Association, ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices), Bliss, the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, Group B Strep Support and SANDS.

Posted in news and events |

Job opportunity at the Miscarriage Association

The Miscarriage Association works to ensure that everyone affected by pregnancy loss receives the care, support and information they need.

To that end, we are seeking a talented and experienced Communications Manager to join our team – someone with the vision and skills to develop and deliver our communications strategy.

We are looking for an innovative and creative communications and marketing professional with strong writing skills and sound experience in the strategic use of digital, print and broadcast media.

This is a great opportunity for someone to shape the role and make it their own – and we are looking for a candidate with the vision and drive to make things happen.

You’ll find all the details of the post and the application process here.

 

 

 

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Reviewing the website

We are delighted to read the recent review of this website in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, the in-house journal of the Royal College of Obstetricians and gynaecologists (RCOG).

As you can see by clicking on the link below, the reviewers  – a consultant gynaecologist and an O&G trainee – give it a 4/5 star rating, describing it as ‘highly user-friendly with information accessible to to all users’  and ‘an excellent resource’.

Miscarriage Association

We’re not resting on our laurels, though.  The TOG review is published just as we are doing our own major review of the website, with two main aims:

  • to ensure that it provides clear, accurate and relevant information, along with helpful sources of support and
  • to make it as easy as possible for people to find what they are looking for.

We don’t need to tell you how distressing pregnancy loss can be.  We want to make sure that this website – and everything we do – helps you through the most difficult of times in the best possible way.

 

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Talking about miscarriage

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that he and his wife were expecting a daughter, he also revealed that they had had three miscarriages.

“It’s a lonely experience”, he said, but “we hope that sharing [it] …will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories as well.”

In the hours and days that followed, not only did Mark’s post receive many thousands of responses, but it also sparked public discussion and debate on television, radio, the press and online:

Why is miscarriage a taboo?  Is it the same outside the Western World?  Are men’s needs and feelings ignored?  Should we be talking more about miscarriage?  Or is it something personal and private?

Above all, we have seen the conversations spark other conversations, both in the print and broadcast media and online.  Individuals have taken the opportunity to share their own reflections.  And on social media – and perhaps in smaller, more private circles too – the discussion continues.

Facebook page screenshot

People really are talking about miscarriage, reducing the sense of taboo and, we hope, making it easier for those going through it to find the support and understanding they need.

Here are just some of the recent conversations:

BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme featured M.A. ambassadors Matthew Burton and Nigel Martyn and media volunteer Emma Benjamin.

The BBC World Service discussed whether culture plays a part (36 mins 47 secs in).

Rob Kemp in the Telegraph and Julia Hartley-Brewer in the Independent both considered men and miscarriage.

The Huffington Post published a piece actually written some days before Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement.

Matthew Burton spoke to BBC London (26 minutes in)

And we had comment too from Australia.

 

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