I think for me when I had saw the second reading of the Miscarriage Paid Leave being postponed my heart sunk. Not again, and to make it worse November has been the suggested date Baby Loss Month. Perfect timing, NOT!!! So, I welcomed this yesterday when I saw it being shared across social media. Change coming for babies born under 24 weeks, yes finally babies and not products of pregnancy.
My brain telling me to look at each section, my heart saying they have acknowledged the pain, heartache, suffering and lack of services available that so many women have endured. I took a deep breathe, and every part of me felt the relief, the beginning of educating the country, the world, it is even more in detail than I expected, the impact of losing a pregnancy, baby, child no matter what age their hearts stopped beating is traumatic. And in line with the Lancet Report the recommendations, evidence have been green lighted. Because while some who find themselves on this journey may cope better than others'. Trauma is still a proven fact within the baby and child loss community. I think it would be safe to say that at some time on this path we all face it! For those who previous to the report lost a baby, validating their experience, baby, and being able to do this in our way through choice, and compassion was so needed! Now, it cannot change the past with acknowledgment for me personally, but I know for thousands this will bring so much needed love and care, regardless of the amount of time that has passed. Not only is this natural, but for some it may bring closure, for others it could play such a important part in the grieving process of saying goodbye. We know from experience, and working with Health Professionals that parents are often heartbroken and shocked to find out that they could not register their baby if they did not breath air in the UK. Writing this gives me goosebumps remembering Harry's face, the pain and lack of understanding why his son could not be registered.
Acknowledgement, it is so important and for the last four years we have been supplying 'Certificate of Life' certificates for bereaved parents who endure the loss of a baby under 24 weeks and over in our graphic's at Angel Parents UK & Worldwide. We also currently supply Oldham Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit with a special design, 'Certificate of Life' and these are printed on highly quality card by our volunteers for parents and health care professionals to complete together. An important part of engagement between the a health professional and bereaved parent helping to break the silence, not only between themselves but publicly saying this is real and it has happened, answer any questions, and know that your baby mattered as a mother. Hearing your baby's name, being offered a choice to see them in a tiny crib or outfit. Learning how to make precious memories and say goodbye. Holding your baby, regardless of their size the love they bring when they are placed in your hands fills your body for eternity. When it is time to leave maybe a check in checklist should be completed there and then. #mentalhealthawareness #womenmorelikelytoattemptsuicdeafterearlyloss #PTSD #trauma
Because, lets face it, it's us the bereaved parents who are amazing at hiding what is going on inside our heart, let alone our heads.. Anger, pain, confusion all rolled into one, and for those who have been affected by PTSD , frightened having to relieve this over and over explaining, especially when it can send you to a place deeper than darkness. So, to validate this verbally and then confirm with something official, tangible their baby existed. One of the most important pieces of paper you will ever have with their details on .Furthermore, there really is no words to describe what this will mean too so many, as well as those who are yet to walk this path.
I believe it is these are the most important moment before women and their partners leave, check in on the check list. Ask how do you think you will cope when you get home? Be real and speak about the dangers of hurting your body through drugs and alcohol. Don't say on a scale of 1-10 sweet mother and Mary, that drove me nuts. I was numb, emotionless, and in shock when I look back. But, what I lacked was the opportunity to share that I am struggling, I was scared to be alone, or go home. I think asking that brutal question, do you want to harm yourself can make people feel judged. And for many they will not give the answer you need truthfully, just verbally. For me I do not know any bereaved parent that has not said that they want to be with their babies, or children.
We then normally' go on to list the reasons why we have to stay, and that includes those who lost a baby over 50 years ago, the fear we have when we leave the hospital is I believe what everyone bereaved parent feels, 'Empty, Numb, Lost, Scared, Broken, goosebumps like someone walked over your grave? The list is endless for women who torture themselves as we are raised to be the provider of life. Every negative comment we can think about ourselves, which is why there never will be a one sizer fits all with any type of loss. We have to adapt to suit the person grieving, and to educate those who work within this field. Hence, the reason we sponsored a Bereavement lead Nurse to complete Domestic Violence Accredited training to support our mum's and dad's. We all know there needs to be more training, empathy, mirror imaging of the language the patient is using, the list goes on. I have had the honour the last 2 years working with the whole team and wonderful Bereavement Lead Nurse Laura Howarth at Oldham Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit. Feeding back what parents are talking about across the UK, looking at ways to improve policies, and the woman's experience, and at Oldham we have also been implemented Baby Loss boxes, and packs for bereaved dad's. This allows both parents to feel involved in the acknowledgement process, and how to make choices together.
Over the next few days and weeks, please sign up to Saying Goodbye platforms, and Tommy's charity for more information on the report in full detail. Which will give you the opportunity to ask questions, contact those who were involved in the process, and policy making. There are so many ways we can all get involved, and for us at Angel Parents UK and Handmade with Love & Making Memories CIC we are so proud to be working within NHS hospitals supporting our #dressedwithdignitycampaign offering choice to parents and health professionals. Proving burial wear and forever beds for babies born under 16 weeks, ensuring parents are offered choice on saying goodbye through peer support groups, 121 advice and guidance, personalised making memory boxes, and workshops to support them on their journey. Attached are articles from Zoe Clark-Coates Facebook media account.