Reflections on Babyloss Awareness Week

Last week was special.  The days between 9 and 15 October marked Babyloss Awareness Week, an annual opportunity to join with others to mark the brief lives of babies lost in pregnancy, at or shortly after birth or in infancy.

And people did.  There were remembrance services and memorial walks, events at Westminster and a three hour debate in the House of Commons.  Pregnancy and baby loss featured on radio and television, in the printed press and online.

The culmination of the week was on Saturday 15 October, International Babyloss Day.  At 7 p.m. their local time, people across the globe lit candles in memory of their babies’ brief lives as part of a Wave of Light.

ma_waveoflight_candle

By Sunday evening, 16 October, the image above was shared over 17,000 times, reaching 2.1 million people.  And hundreds of people have shared photographs of their candles with us.  We are saving them all on our Days That Matter website and later this month we plan to turn them into a video which we’ll share with you here and on YouTube.

Sadly, pregnancy losses happen every single day of the year, not just in October.  The statistics tell us that it is a sadly common experience – and yet people can feel very isolated and alone when it happens to them.

Babyloss Awareness Week reminds us all that while each loss of each baby is unique and individual, the thoughts and feelings for a tiny life lost are shared by many people.  There are people who understand, people who can offer understanding and a listening ear.

You don’t have to go through this alone.

 

 

Posted in news and events |

International Babyloss Awareness Day 2016

Today, Saturday 15 October, marks International Babyloss Awareness Day, the culmination of a week of activities and events that offer a special opportunity to mark the brief lives of babies lost in pregnancy, at or shortly after birth or in infancy.

The Miscarriage Association began the week by launching a new animation, telling the story of one couple’s experience of a missed miscarriage and highlighting our #heretolisten message.

There have been more public discussions of pregnancy and baby loss than ever before, thanks to the hard work and dedication of all the charities involved – and especially to MPs Will Quince and Antionette Sandbach, co-chairs of  the All Party Parliamentary Group on Babyloss, who:

  • hosted a Twitter discussion on babyloss
  • encouraged MPs to wear babyloss pin badges during Prime Minister’s Questions
  • arranged a special reception for bereaved parents, civil servants and politicians across all parties
  • organised a moving remembrance service in Westminster and
  • led a very powerful backbench debate in the House of Commons on Thursday, with excerpts widely shown on television and across social media.

M.A. ambassador Julia Hartley-Brewer broadcast interviews with Director Ruth Bender Atik and with Sports Minister Tracey Crouch; and journalist Amy Swales published her own reflections on miscarriage and fertility here and here.

But of course, Babyloss Awareness Week is primarily about and for women and men affected by babyloss.  They – and you – have been wearing pinbadges and Twibbons, organising and attending events, talking on social media, opening up to family and friends sometimes for the first time and raising awareness about the impact of pregnancy loss.

Tonight sees the culmination of the week.  At 7 p.m. local time, people from across the globe will light a candle or candles in memory of babies lost in pregnancy, at or soon after birth or in infancy, creating a Wave of Light in memory of babies who have died too soon. If you are taking part and would like to add your candle photo to our 2016 gallery and video, either upload it to our Facebook page with a message saying ‘for the gallery’ or email it to awareness@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.

Thanks to everyone for your support.

wave-of-light

Posted in news and events |

#heretolisten

The Babyloss Awareness Week animation that we launched yesterday ends with the message:

“It was such a hard time and we’ll never forget our baby, but having people listen – really listen – has helped us through.”

Here at the Miscarriage Association, we’ve supported thousands of people who have been affected by pregnancy loss, and one thing we’ve heard again and again is that it can often help to talk.

However we also know that talking can be difficult. People who want to support their friends tell us that they’re worried they’ll say the wrong thing and that they sometimes say nothing in case they make things worse.

Last year, we asked our supporters to share the helpful things that others had said to them after a pregnancy loss. There were hundreds of different answers. Everyone’s experience of loss is different, of course. However, a common message that emerged is that sometimes it’s not so much what we say, as what we do: being there for a friend, really listening to what they have to say, can make all the difference in helping them through.

That’s why, this Babyloss Awareness Week, we’re asking you to use the #heretolisten hashtag as you share one of the graphics below with your friends and family, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram and across social media, to say – if you want to talk about pregnancy loss, I’m here to listen. Click on the thumbnails below for full-size images.

here-to-listen-friends here-to-listen-phone here-to-listen-scan here-to-listen-window

Illustrations by Emma Plunkett of planXdesign.

Two other people who will be here to listen later today are the chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Babyloss.

From 2 to 3 p.m. today, the two group chairs, Will Quince MP and Antoinette Sandbach MP, will be on Twitter, asking questions to inform a special House of Commons debate about  pregnancy and baby loss this Wednesday. The Miscarriage Association will be participating in this event via our twitter account (@MiscarriageA). If you would also like to get involved, please follow the hashtag #babylossdebate.

For more information about the events in Westminster this week, see our Babyloss Awareness Week events page.

Posted in news and events |

Miscarriage Association launches new animation for Babyloss Awareness Week

Today is the start of Babyloss Awareness Week 2016, a special annual event to remember the brief lives of babies lost during pregnancy,  during or shortly after birth, or in infancy. Over the next seven days, women and men affected by babyloss, across the UK and around the world, will be wearing pinbadges and Twibbons, lighting candles, attending events and raising awareness about the impact of pregnancy loss.

To mark this special event, the Miscarriage Association is proud to launch a new animation, which tells the story of one couple’s experience of a missed miscarriage. The animation has three key messages: that for many, miscarriage isn’t just a physical loss, but the loss of hopes and dreams for the future; that talking about the loss can help; and that the Miscarriage Association is here to listen if you need us.

The animation was illustrated by Emma Plunkett from planXdesign and voiced by Amy Swales, both of whom have personal experience of miscarriage. The video was developed by The Service, with animation by Dom Faraway.

We have uploaded the video to both YouTube and Facebook. Please feel free to share it with your family and friends, and help raise awareness about pregnancy loss, both during Babyloss Awareness Week and beyond.

For more information about other activities and events this week, see the Babyloss Awareness Week page on our website.

Posted in news and events |

Online shop

Our sincere apologies to those of you trying to order a Babyloss pin badge, Christmas cards or other M.A. merchandise online.  Unfortunately, we’ve had to suspend the online shop, so until we have a new one in its place, please contact us directly to make your purchase.

You can:

  • call us on 01924 200799, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and pay by debit or credit card
  • email us at info@miscarriageassociation.org.uk and we’ll provide details of goods and costs – but we advise against putting card details on an email
  • order by post at 17 Wentworth Terrace, Wakefield  WF1 3QW and pay either by cheque or by providing card details.

In all cases, we’ll fulfil your order just as fast as we can, although we will prioritise Babyloss pin badges.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Posted in news and events |

Job vacancy at the M.A.

Could you be part of our helpline team, supporting people who have lost a baby in pregnancy?

The Miscarriage Association (M.A.) works to ensure that everyone affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy receives the care, support and information that they need.

We are seeking an additional Helpline Support Worker to add to our small team in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. We are looking for someone who can provide a sensitive and informed response to calls, emails and online requests for support and information.

The successful applicant will have excellent verbal and written communication skills, be able to communicate clearly, accurately and sensitively to a range of people on the phone, in writing and online.  S/he will have excellent listening skills, warmth and empathy and be able to cope on a daily basis with people who are distressed.

 

Salary: £20,137 + depending on experience

Hours: 37.5 hours/week.

Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Applications, to be sent by e-mail, must reach us by 12 noon on Wednesday 5 October.  Short-listed applicants will be contacted in the week beginning 7 October and interviews will be held on Thursday 20 October. 

 

You’ll find all the job and application details at www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/about-us/the-charity/job-vacancy-helpline-support-worker/

 

Posted in news and events |

Job vacancy at the M.A.

Could you be part of our helpline team, supporting people who have lost a baby in pregnancy?

The Miscarriage Association (M.A.) works to ensure that everyone affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy receives the care, support and information that they need.

We are seeking an additional Helpline Support Worker to add to our small team in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. We are looking for someone who can provide a sensitive and informed response to calls, emails and online requests for support and information.

The successful applicant will have excellent verbal and written communication skills, be able to communicate clearly, accurately and sensitively to a range of people on the phone, in writing and online.  S/he will have excellent listening skills, warmth and empathy and be able to cope on a daily basis with people who are distressed.

Salary: £20,137 + depending on experience

Hours: 37.5 hours/week.

Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Applications, to be sent by e-mail, must reach us by 12 noon on Wednesday 5 October.  Short-listed applicants will be contacted in the week beginning 7 October and interviews will be held on Thursday 20 October. 

 

You’ll find all the job and application details at www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/about-us/the-charity/job-vacancy-helpline-support-worker/

Posted in news and events |

Reducing the loneliness

Losing a baby in pregnancy can be a deeply distressing experience – but it shouldn’t have to be a lonely one.  We are here to offer support and a listening ear, whether that’s over the phone, in one of our support groups, by email or online.

Here’s how to reach us:

 

Call our helpline Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on 01924 200795

“I felt that I couldn’t really talk to anyone after the first few weeks and I called the helpline. I just talked and cried and the lovely lady on the phone listened without judging me or getting bored. It really helped. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say before the phone was answered but it just came out.” 

 

E-mail us at info@miscarriageassociation.org.uk. We aim to reply the same or the next working day.

“Thank you SO MUCH for answering my questions honestly and openly. I haven’t been able to vocalise these worries to my midwife so your reply is just what I needed. This pregnancy is fine so far but obviously that doesn’t stop me worrying. Thank you again, for your concern and your response.” 

 

Call one of our support volunteers – someone who has been through pregnancy loss herself/himself: our helpline staff can give you details of your nearest volunteer.

“You have given me that chance to have the conversation I really needed to have. I could not find anyone else to have it with.” 

 

Go along to one of our support groups.  You’ll find a list here.

“I came along to the group in February and I just wanted to say thank you very much for organising it. While I only came once it helped me a lot. I don’t know when I’ll be back again as I’m actually pregnant again. But I really appreciated the group existing and the option to talk to others very honestly who really understood.”

 

Join our online forum: a safe, secure and friendly place where you can share your thoughts, feelings and experiences with others who have been through something similar. 

“I have spent hours on this forum in the past 18 months. It has given me somewhere to share my heartache and helped me realise that I was not alone at a point in my life where I felt so alienated from everyone around me. The forum gave me the opportunity to connect with people who knew how I felt.” 

 

Join one of our Facebook groups  – busy and active groups where people from across the UK and well beyond it come together to talk about their experiences.

“I cannot tell you how lost I was until I found this group it truly was like running into a big pair of open comfy safe arms where everybody understood how I felt and confirmation that I wasn’t nuts or weird. I realized my reactions were all normal that alone helped.” 

 

Read others’ stories here and think about sharing your own.

 

You really don’t ever have to feel alone.

 

Posted in news and events |

Telling your stories, sharing your experiences

In talks to health professionals, we often talk about pregnancy loss as an individual experience.  No matter how many women have come through the clinic with miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy, each is an individual, and so too is each pregnancy and each loss and the feelings that go along with them.

Your stories show that time and time again.  Stories of loss and disappointment, of pain and heartache, but also of hope and strength.  Each one is different but you may well find feelings that ring true for you too.

You’ll find many of them in our Personal Reflections section, where you can just read through stories at random or browse by topic to find those that might feel most relevant to you.

You’ll also find stories at Days That Matter  – and you might like to share your memories or thoughts of a special day too.

For now, though, we’d like to share four stories:

Kat remembers a time of heartbreak.

Heartbroken - Kat M June 2016

 

Sarah shares her experiences of repeated miscarriages.

Mum100 blogs about IVF and miscarriage.

And Jade talks about her experience of molar pregnancy.

 

 

Posted in news and events |

Spreading the word this Spring

We’ve already had more than 70 people getting active to help raise awareness and funds for us this year. And a different type of activity is coming up soon, which involves black tie rather than running gear. Two of our supporters, Romy and Dean Rawlings, are organising a very special ball.

You can hear a poignant interview with Romy and Dean on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire – listen here from about 2h05. They talk about going through the grieving process together after miscarriage and how talking to people who understand can be a real relief.

The ball, ‘The Next Step’, will be held in the Royal Pump Room in Leamington Spa on 11 June, you can find contact details here.

We’ve also got great news to share from our Trustee, Barbara Hepworth-Jones, who has been awarded Volunteer Superhero by her workplace Roche, for all the fantastic voluntary work she does helping to raise awareness of pregnancy loss. This is ever so well deserved and even comes with a generous donation to the Miscarriage Association.

Thank you to everyone who helps to raise awareness and funds, working with us to help make sure anyone affected by pregnancy loss doesn’t feel alone.

Posted in news and events |