Today is Baby Loss Awareness Day, and over the course of the last week, here at Capsule we’ve been sharing stories and information about this incredibly important topic, which, unfortunately, is very rarely spoken about.
In NZ we don’t collect data on the number of miscarriages, but it’s estimated that between 13,000 to 15,000 women experience a miscarriage in NZ per year. That means for every four pregnancies, one ends in miscarriage.
Then, there are the babies who are stillborn – who die during pregnancy or in utero after the 20th week of pregnancy. Each year about one in every 200 pregnancies ends in stillbirth.
Yet, it’s a topic we rarely talk about.
For something that happens so frequently, to so many families, it can seem entirely bizarre that it is such a taboo, hushed topic – which means that when families do go through a loss, it can feel incredibly isolating, as though no one else has ever had to go through that pain before. Yet, in reality, our country is scattered with families who know only too well the pain and suffering of miscarriage and baby loss.
In the week leading up to today, we’ve talked to several experts and Kiwis who have experienced loss first-hand. If you’d like to read back through these stories, a synopsis of each is below. Or, if you’d like to share your own story, Capsule is a safe place and we welcome your thoughts, experiences and stories – please email [email protected].
The one message that has come up time and time again this week, is that if one thing could come out of Baby Loss Awareness Week, it would be that we talk more. That we don’t let this topic be the elephant in the room. That we open up conversations around miscarriage and baby loss, to support those families going through grief and pain, often in isolation and silence. Let’s start talking.
The Silent Pain of Miscarriage – Why is it Still A Taboo Topic in 2020
Instagram would lead us to believe that pregnancies are all fluffiness, cuteness and perfectly curated baby-showers and gender reveals, that we can be tricked into thinking everyone else has a perfect, stressless, wonderful time. Why is miscarriage and baby loss the last taboo?
Don’t Let it Be the Elephant in the Room – How to Support a Friend or Family Member Who Has Lost a Baby
Vicki Culling, PhD, is the director and principal trainer of her own company which runs workshops and training programs for medical professionals dealing with perinatal deaths. She’s worked with Sands for more than 15 years, running support groups in Wellington. Vicki is also a bereaved parent herself, having lost her first daughter who was stillborn at 10 days overdue, whilst Vicki was doing her PhD in Women’s Health Research. Vicki talks us through what we can do to support a friend or family member who has suffered a loss.
Broken Hearts: 27 Mums Who Lost Their Babies Share the Things People Did That Made a Difference
We heard from 27 mums who each – very kindly – shared the things that friends, family and work colleagues did that meant the most after their loss.
‘Sometimes, There Is No Happy Ending’ One Woman’s Story of Heartbreak and Repeated Miscarriages
On the rare occasions that baby loss and miscarriage are addressed in the media, often its families who have experienced a loss, but have gone on to have another baby – a ‘rainbow baby’ who are featured. We love to end a story with hope, or a bit of good news. But what about the families who don’t get that rainbow baby? Where does their grief go? Steph Whitehouse bravely shares her story of loss.
“I Wanted to Tattoo ‘I Am a Mum’ On My Forehead” – The Aftermath of Baby Loss, Plus Expert Tips on Creating Memories to Begin the Healing Process
Judith Moorhead – Chairperson of Sands Taranaki – shares the story of the loss of her daughter, Georgia, 14 years ago. Judith also runs us through why creating memories in the days after the death can help the healing process. Judith shares her tips for remembering your baby, as well as advice for supporting a close friend or family member who has experienced a loss.
You can support the wonderful folks at Sands, who do an extraordinary job supporting Kiwi families by visiting www.sands.org.nz