9-15 October is Baby Loss Awareness Week.
Throughout the week bereaved parents, family members and friends can commemorate the all-too-brief lives of their babies, knowing that thousands of other families elsewhere in the world will be doing the same.
The week closes with the Global ‘Wave of Light’ on Wednesday 15 October, where candles are lit across the globe as part of the international Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
Viki Ferguson’s daughter Megan was stillborn at 35 weeks in March 2014.
Viki said: "I feel that Baby Loss Awareness Week is just as important for people who haven't suffered a loss than for those of us who have.
“Getting this message out, which is so much easier these days with social media, highlights issues that are taboo but it also educates people on how to treat and behave around those who have lost a baby.
“Dedicating a whole week keeps it in the public eye and allows the bereaved, not just the parents, but the wider circle of family and friends to have an outlet. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, potential godparents have all lost a baby too, but they're not always noticed.
“I find that a lot of my family and friends show support around the time of my daughter's birthday but the rest of the time, they try to avoid the subject for fear of upsetting us, but by supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week, we're showing that it's OK to speak about it and acknowledge it.
“Our little angels are in our thoughts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there's not a day goes by that I don't think about her, but having this week dedicated to highlighting risks, what to look out for, possible prevention and research is so important for those around us. And for it to culminate in the Wave of Light is a way to remember all of our angels."
Q. What is a stillbirth?
A. Stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy or more.
Q. What is a neonatal death?
A. Neonatal death is when a baby is born alive but dies under the age of 28 days.
- In 2013, 110 babies were stillborn or died neonatally every week in the UK
- In 2013, 5,712 babies were stillborn or died within the first 4 weeks of life in the UK
- In the UK, 3,628 babies were stillborn in 2013, that’s one in every 216 births
- In 2013 in the UK, one in every 137 babies was either stillborn or died in the first 4 weeks of life
Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, was established by bereaved parents in 1978.