Having a baby is now safer than 10 years ago, but although there has been a reduction in stillbirths and neonatal deaths, nothing can reduce the grief caused by the loss of a baby. In recent months, my Parliamentary colleagues Will Quince and Antoinette Sandbach have spoken in the House of Commons about how their lives have been affected in this way.
Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place this week, with charities including SANDS and the Miscarriage Association raising awareness of the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK. The focus of this year's Baby Loss Awareness Week is ensuring that all parents who experience pregnancy and baby loss and need specialist psychological support can access it. The NHS Long Term Plan will increase mental health support funding by £2.3bn per year by 2023/24 and as part of this I know care provided by specialist perinatal mental health services will be available from pre-conception to 24 months after birth.
Here in Brentwood and Ongar, Bennetts Funeral Directors - who have supported Baby Loss Awareness week for the last two years - will again this year create a window display for Baby Loss Awareness week. You can join in too by illuminating your building or your home for the whole week or just between 7pm and 8pm on October 15th, to join in the global Wave of Light.
Bennetts will also be holding their annual baby loss service takes place on Sunday 13th October 2019 at St Peter’s Church in Hutton, from 3pm until 5pm.
For those who have lost a baby, the Brentwood-based charity, Aching Arms, headed up by Leanne Turner, provides teddy bears to hospitals and hospices for midwives and nurses to offer to bereaved parents in their care. I met Leanne recently to discuss the work Aching Arms does to support those who have lost a baby. She says the bears are there to let parents know they are not alone, and to give newly bereaved parents something to hold when they come home without a baby.
If you, or anyone you know, feel Aching Arms and their bears can be of help, you can find out more here: https://achingarms.co.uk/