Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020 - Kayleigh's story
Taking place 9-15 October every year, Baby Loss Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about pregnancy and baby loss in the UK.
Throughout the week, bereaved parents, and their families and friends, to unite with others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy.
Led by Sands, the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance is a collaboration of more than 70 charities working together to break the taboo and to drive tangible improvements in policy, bereavement care and support for anyone affected by the death of a baby.
I am 1 in 4
My story of baby loss and journey to awareness
Possibly the hardest blog I have had to write but I like so many other mothers have my story to tell. I am 1 in 4.
1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, 1 in 4. The chances are you know someone who has had a miscarriage whether they have chosen to disclose that to you or not.
My story begins in 2016 when just after my eldest 3rd birthday we decided to try for another baby. Miraculously just like the first time we fell pregnant the first month, I was healthy, we were delighted and miscarriage didn’t cross my mind. Miscarriage was something that happened to other people not me right?
But unfortunately just a few short weeks later I would start to bleed and a scan confirmed our baby had not made it. One minute I was pregnant and the next I was not.
People have a tendency to say the wrong thing when someone miscarries personally I had “it just wasn’t meant to be” “think of it as a heavy period” “ at least you lost it early” “at least you already have one” “did they say why it happened?” “at least it wasn’t a proper baby”. Now it’s very important to mention that none of these people meant ill by their comments, they were trying to make me feel better, they didn’t. I had only known about my second pregnancy for 3 weeks, but during those three weeks I had imagined life with a family of 4, I imagined what an amazing big brother my eldest would be , I pictured me pushing a pram again, I’m my heart I was already a mum of 2. Very quickly I realised that this brush it under the carpet and carry on attitude was not going to work for me. I was grieving, my husband was grieving and we needed to recognise our grief.
We decided to give a baby a name, an identity and we planted flowers in our garden in a special pot to remember our should of been baby.
Every time we go somewhere special, a nice family walk, to the beach etc we bring her something back, a pebble, a pinecone, a shell and place it in that pot, a token gesture to show that she should have been with us and that we remember her always.
1 in 4 people have a miscarriage, I remember thinking to myself that that was a huge number of people and wondering why we weren’t talking about it then and so I started to tell my story. It wasn’t something I broadcast on social media it was far too sensitive a subject for that but slowly but surely I reached out. I told friends, I slowly told family and though many of them did not know what to say I assured them that was fine. Miraculously the more I spoke about it the more women confided in me that they had also had a loss, it amazed me that some of these women I had seen regularly and been completely oblivious to their grief.
After our miscarriage we struggled to conceive , because we had conceived both times before straight away I took it as a sign that I wouldn’t have another baby and I became more and more depressed, each negative pregnancy test ebbed away at my spirit.
So much so in fact that I was 2 weeks late and already suffering from morning sickness before I plucked up the courage to take a pregnancy test. I was pregnant again, finally, our little Rainbow baby. Announcing our pregnancy (we waited until we were 4 months gone this time) people were thrilled for us and I remember a well-meaning family member saying “I’m so glad you get your happy ending after all”. But the truth is for many, a rainbow pregnancy isn’t the end of the story, I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy and baby and Oliver is now nearly 3 years old. However I suffered from a huge amount of anxiety throughout my pregnancy and never fully allowed myself to expect to have a baby at the end of it.
I then developed huge post natal anxiety, which I still battle with to this day.
My miscarriage has had long lasting repercussions and sadly of my female friends and colleagues more of them have suffered some form of baby loss than haven’t and that is truly shocking and so the reason I am telling my story is to raise awareness because I believe that the current situation is not healthy and women are not receiving the level of support they need or deserve. Women need to be able to grieve how they want to grieve and that grief should be recognised and never diminished. I am the 1 in 4 and this is my story.
If you are stuggling and would like to reach out to those that can offer support you may find the following link useful.