9th October 2020
A Voices blog by Philippa Bishop, Training Programme Manager at the Institute of Health Visiting, to mark the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020 (#BLAW2020).
It is hard to believe that we have reached the annual Baby Loss Awareness Week already. Held 9-15 October each year, the aim of the UK awareness week is to promote awareness and break the taboo and silence that still surrounds this heart-breaking loss.
The Baby Loss Awareness Alliance is led by SANDS and is a collaboration of many charities (many of whom we partner across our work). The aim is to drive change with improvements in policy, and enhance bereavement care and support for all parents and families affected by the death of their baby. Each year an associated policy report is published, however due to COVID-19 and the unprecedented demand on services, there will be no report this year. However, the all-party parliamentary group has requested a debate in the House of Commons, Westminster during this week. The Alliance charities have worked harder than ever this year to continue to provide much-needed support and guidance to families throughout the pandemic.
Last year’s #BLAW2019 report, Out of Sight Out of Mind, called on all UK Governments to ensure that all parents experiencing loss and needing specialist psychological support get access at a place and time that is right for them, free of charge, wherever they live. Many bereaved parents go on to experience psychiatric illness that needs specialist support due to the complex grief and trauma of the loss they have experienced. Research in last year’s report showed that parents often fall through gaps between policy and funding. This is particularly significant reading for all health visitors, but also for our PIMH Champions – access it here: https://babyloss-awareness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/BLAW-Out-of-Sight-Out-of-Mind-Report-2019.pdf
Back to this year – throughout this #BLAW2020 week, bereaved families will unite to commemorate the lives of their babies lost in pregnancy, at birth or in infancy.
- You might consider simply reaching out this week and sending a card to any parents who have lost babies to tell them you are thinking of them and their baby in #BLAW2020. The recognition of babies’ lives lost is very significant to parents, as is the use of their name.
- Look out for buildings in your towns and cities floodlit in pink and blue to commemorate babies’ lives.
- Join the global WAVE OF LIGHT – 15th October 2020 at 7pm. Light a candle and leave it burning for at least an hour in remembrance of all babies lost too soon
For more information on other specific activities happening each day from 9th – 15th October check out the BLAW website: https://babyloss-awareness.org/