TRIGGER WARNING: This article discusses the topic of baby loss. Contact details for the support available can be found at the bottom of this page.

This week we are talking about baby loss with our staff, sharing experiences of loss and remembering those babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.

Mum of twins Mia and Clara, Kate has shared her heart-breaking story in the hope that others will feel able to talk about the babies they have lost and come together in their memory.

My lived experience of baby loss, by Kate

Baby loss affects 1 in 4 pregnancies in the UK – a statistic both sobering, and personally conflicting. To know I was not alone in my experience of losing my babies gave me some comfort, yet it didn’t value the debilitating, pervasive and long-term effects that the loss of a baby has on an individual and on a family. I hope through sharing my story in remembrance of Mia and Clara, and for all the babies lost, that the stigma of baby loss can start to be addressed.

Mia and Clara were identical twins, something from the start that we knew had higher risks, and therefore had more regular scans. Unfortunately, they detected an accelerated type of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome and we were rushed to a specialist centre for in-vitro surgery. We knew the risks of such a surgery, we were fully informed, but that didn’t take the heartbreak away from losing them. After the surgery, all seemed well until I developed a uterine infection, which quickly developed into sepsis.

At 19 weeks they were too young to survive. We were fortunate that the maternity staff were trained and helped us to make memories with our daughters. They took inkless footprints, dressed them in knitted clothes, and gave us a certificate of remembrance. I can’t tell you how these acts of remembrance have been of comfort in some of the darker days of grief.

I was struck by the debilitating nature of grief, something considered ‘a natural, normal process’ had turned me inside out, and the person I recognised had completely changed. As the old saying goes ‘time heals all wounds’ and to a certain extent this is true, yet even though life became fuller over time the loss still remained. How was I meant to ‘get over this loss’ and then where does it go? If my love for my daughters is endless, then so maybe is the pain of losing them… I was fortunate to be offered bereavement counselling and this really helped me to process the experience and accept the long term effects of grief. I learnt that we move forward with grief, there are times when it is easier, and times when it is consuming. This I have learnt to accept as part of myself, part of my limits and part of my journey.

Returning to work after losing them was a big challenge, however I took some reassurance in working with my manager to explain my strengths and limitations at that point in time, and progressively rebuilt my confidence and resilience. I struggled to accept that despite my clinical experience and skills that I was not emotionally ready for the work I had done previously. However, having the structure and purpose of a job again really helped me to feel like a functioning human again.

Although the experience of grief doesn’t define me, it is an unavoidable part of me, part of my story, just as Mia and Clara are very much part of our family, even if they don’t exist in their physical form. This has been difficult for friends and family to understand this at times, resulting in secondary losses in relationships and a sense of isolation. Reaching out to bereavement support groups online provided a huge comfort, and a community who really understood my experience. Over time I came to realise that we all experience the condition of human suffering in some form, just in different ways. This has helped me to reconnect with others and have the strength to share my experience. The light and shade of life binds us all together.

So, I ask you to light a candle for Wave of Light in remembrance of those babies lost. They existed, they touched the world and our hearts, they mattered. Let’s light up the world with millions of candles to let those in the depth of their grief to see that they are not alone and in remembrance of those babies taken too soon. Wave of light takes place on Friday 15 October, at 7pm.

Events

There are events happening across Somerset for the Wave of light including:

  • A Wave of Light Vigil Service at St James Church, Preston Road, Yeovil, BA20 2EZ at 7pm on Friday 15 October, no need to book.
  • Wave of light baby loss memorial service at St Mary’s Church, Bridgwater at 6.30pm. Free tickets available via Eventbrite or simply turn up on the night.

Wave of light

On Friday 15 October, we are inviting you to join us for a global “Wave of Light”, where families across the world will be lighting a candle at 7pm local time and leaving it burning for at least one hour to remember all babies that have died too soon but who lit up our lives for such a short time.

To join our virtual Wave of Light, take a photo of your candle and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #WaveOfLight at 7pm local time.

Supporting families

The SANDS Snowdrop group The Snowdrop Group – Yeovil SANDS – Home | Facebook
Pregnancy and Baby loss support charity based in Yeovil. They offer group peer support monthly now taking place in person and also a befriender service for individual support.

Towards Tomorrow Together Towards Tomorrow Together – Home | Facebook
Pregnancy and Baby loss support charity based in Bridgwater. Offer a range of services to families, including birth planning, memory boxes, doula support, group support and holistic therapies for families both experiencing a loss or in subsequent pregnancies.

Little Daffodils Little Daffodils – Home | Facebook
A pregnancy and baby loss support charity based in Chard. Run support groups and donate lovely sibling support boxes to our hospital.

Rosie Crane Trust Welcome to the Rosie Crane Trust – Supporting bereaved parents
Support parents who have suffered the bereavement of a child at any age. Offer monthly drop ins, 24 hour listening ear helpline and counselling support.  

Counselling4Yeovil Counselling4Yeovil
Provides free counselling for couples who have suffered a loss in Yeovil or surrounding areas and self-refer.

Pregnancy Crisis Support Mendip Pregnancy Crisis Support – Mendip (g-pccc.org.uk)
Provides free counselling for couples who have suffered a loss in Glastonbury, Wells, Street, Bridgwater, Frome, Shepton Mallet, Weston-Super-Mare, Bath, Wincanton and Castle Cary.

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