As a charity we are always looking at different ways we can support the families who come to us following the death of a baby or child whether that loss is through a miscarriage, stillbirth, soon after birth, compassionate induction or neonatal.
Recently we have been getting many more telephone and email calls from families following a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages.
This seems to be an area that is not always given the attention it needs. Often women will say to us how they feel that others almost dismiss their loss saying things such as "At least it was an early loss", "your lucky as you haven't had the time to get to know your baby" or "you can try again". Whilst many of the people saying these things probably meant it as a comforting thing, ask any family experiencing this and they will tell you a very different story. There is also the common misconception that the earlier the loss the less there is to grieve.
Another area that is so difficult for families to talk about is the issue of compassionate induction, this is also called medical termination.
There is still a negative connotation around the word 'termination' and many see this as the couple not wanting the baby and making the decision to get rid of it.
This is so far from the actual truth.
The couples who have had to come to the agonising decision to end their baby's suffering, through illness or congenital abnormalities, have done so through many hours of talking with professionals and family. They have made the decision out of love for their baby.
Many families tell us that they will often tell people that they have had a miscarriage as they are afraid of people judging them. They are then not only having to deal with the loss of their baby but they are also having to lie about what happened which can be very traumatic for them.
There needs to be so much more education and discussions about compassionate induction so that families are not left feeling alone and isolated in their grief.
From the moment the lady takes the pregnancy test and sees the positive result she has become a mummy.
Her and her partner will start to see their future and make plans for where their child fits in to it all. Their life has changed forever and they will have already started to get excited about telling their family and friends their news.
Each week that passes is another week of getting to understand your body and your baby inside.
The first scan comes and this is yet another chance for the parents to meet their baby, no matter how small they are. Seeing that little heart beat on the screen is a very emotional feeling and makes everything feel more real.
To then have this all taken away from you is so cruel, unfair and totally devastating.
The father is also affected by the loss of their baby, a lot of people will often feel that the dad doesn't feel it as deeply as the mum. This is not true.
Dad's grieve just as deeply as the mum. However they are often made to feel like they have to be the strong one and support the lady. Whilst the lady really does need support so does the man.
I once read a saying that I think is true, 'The family that grieve together heal together.'
It doesn't matter how early a loss may occur or under what circumstances, it is still the families baby. They have had a part of their future taken away and the plans they had began to make are all now just a dream.
To then have people belittle or undervalue your loss or underestimate the impact it will have on your life can make your grief feel even harder.
We have spoken with many families that have said how they have felt under pressure to be 'normal' again or have had friends/family react in a way that makes them feel like they should 'be over it' by now. This can put so much pressure on them and make them feel that they are wrong to grieve.
No one should ever feel that they cannot grieve and no one should ever tell a family how long they can grieve.
Grief is a personal experience and is different in every person. There should never be a time limit on grief as this can then make the family feel pressured or even feel like they are wrong to be still grieving.
There have been many improvements made to the provision of support for grieving people over the years but the families that have lost a baby seem to be lagging behind in the support network.
We have recently been in touch with a nurse who works on a gynaecology ward in Leeds who works with many families on a day to day basis who are going through a miscarriage. The staff want to make changes to the care they can give/offer the people they look after. They are already providing a vital service but they know that the support these families need does not disappear once they leave the hospital.
We are hoping that we will be able to collaborate in the near future to make an impact on the support these families need. Our aim is to have care and support in place for families upon leaving hospital until whenever they are ready for us to withdraw.
As this service develops and becomes available we will keep you informed. We see this as such an important service that so many families could access.
The national statistics say that 1 in 5 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, so surely it makes sense to have a support network in place to help these families through their loss.