Baby Loss Awareness Week, now in its 19th year, is an opportunity for bereaved parents, families and their friends to commemorate babies’ lives, raise awareness of pregnancy and baby loss, and to drive for improvements in both care and support for those affected and to save babies’ lives in the future.
This year Baby Loss Awareness Week will be exploring the theme of wellbeing and encouraging those affected by pregnancy and baby loss to share what helped them to recover and build a life after loss.
Buildings across the country will be lit up during the week to help start more conversations about pregnancy and baby loss, and by doing so help bereaved parents and families feel more able to talk about their babies and find ways to look after themselves and others.
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals will be lighting up their buildings in the Baby Loss Awareness Week colours, pink and blue, throughout the week, along with some other buildings in the local area including Retford Town Hall, Doncaster Train Station, and Doncaster Council.
Councillor Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “Town centre locations and Conisbrough Castle will be lit up during the week to show our support to bereaved parents and families who have gone through pregnancy loss or the death of a baby and to remember all the babies who have died too soon.
“We hope that Baby Loss Awareness Week will help to start more conversations about pregnancy and baby loss so that people feel more connected, less alone and more aware of the support that’s available to them across the borough.”
The Trust will also be supporting a ‘wave of light’ evening at All Saints Church in Harworth. Those who have been affected by baby loss are invited to go along and light a candle in memory of their little ones who were taken too soon and stay for a memorial service.
Rev’d Nicky Skipworth, Vicar of the Parish of Harworth and Bircotes, Styrrup and Hesley said: “While All Saints’ has hosted the local Wave of Light for the last two years we are so glad, this year, to be working in partnership with our new friends from the Hospital Trust bereavement care team. Together, we warmly and openly invite anyone experiencing the loss of a baby or child on Friday 15 October. Other children of all ages are also welcome to come along. If you would prefer to take part via a live-stream, please visit us on Facebook at ‘All Saints’ Church, Harworth and Bircotes’.
Chaplains from the Trust will be at the church handing out butterflies on which special messages can be written. These will then be displayed at both Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospitals’ chapels and form a central part of the hospital’s own Baby Loss memorial service, more information on which can be found here: https://www.dbth.nhs.uk/baby-loss-awareness-service-2021/
The special events planned for the week have been organised by the Trust’s bereavement midwives, Matt Proctor and Rhian Morris. They said: “We hope that some of the events planned for Baby Loss Awareness Week will enable open conversations around pregnancy loss, therefore helping others feel comfortable sharing their experiences.”
Matt and Rhian recently took on a challenge to climb the three highest peaks in the UK to raise funds for the hospital’s bereavement service.
In a joint statement, they said: “We recognise that everyone grieves in their own ways so the midwifery bereavement service provides a person-centred, holistic approach ensuring the needs of the family are met in a range of ways. The bereavement service is available to families at any point in time, some find they are ready to come to terms with their loss years later, there is no set timeline when it comes to grief.”
In the past, fundraising such as Matt and Rhian’s has supported memorial services and a butterfly garden which provides a picturesque and peaceful place for people to go and have a quiet moment of reflection or to remember their babies.
If you would like to help support the midwifery bereavement service, you can do so through the hospital’s official charity, DBTH charity at www.dbth.nhs.uk/charity.