Last week it was Baby Loss Awareness Week which ran from the 9th – 15th of October. It finished last night with the ‘Wave of Light’ at 7pm where people lit a candle in memory of all the babies lost too soon. I had mixed feelings looking at photos of all of the candles, the wave of light. I was really pleased to see people sharing the message, sharing their loss, raising awareness and opening up the conversation to baby loss. On the other hand I was really saddened to see that so many other people have been through the same horrendous experience as us.
We lost our beloved son Cai Ioan on the 31st of January 2015 when I was 22 weeks pregnant. It was our first pregnancy, our first child. My heart was broken into a million pieces, I didn’t know such pain existed. To think that so many other mums and dads have been through or are going through this pain as well. I might someday write about our story, but this is about Baby Loss Awareness Week.
It is a week that can be difficult, for parents like us, who are in this ‘Club’. The club that no one ever wants to be a part of. But then again every week is difficult for us. We never forget that one of our children isn’t with us, that we won’t see their smile in the morning, that we’ll never see them go to school. We don’t forget these things. So an Awareness Week doesn’t remind us of these things but it might remind others.
One of my dear friends sent me a message yesterday saying that she was thinking of us and Cai and ‘I just wanted to thank you for being so open and honest about your incredibly tough journey. I think you speaking about it really helps others. I am now much more aware of the day to day struggle for lots of mums and dads out there.’ So is the whole purpose of an Awareness Week? Although we have been open about our loss from the beginning but it might give an opportunity for others to open up and talk about their experiences in a safe environment.
Every photo of a candle on social media sites last night, was an opportunity for those parents to talk about their baby and to show others, that unfortunately, so many of us have been through this experience. Also, it is an opportunity for us to show that we aren’t afraid to talk about our baby and if a friend says their name it doesn’t ‘open up the wounds’. The wounds will never close and so avoiding the subject won’t help us heal, in a way it makes the pain worse. It makes us feel like our child has been forgotten about, that our grief has been forgotten. But we are living every day learning how to live with this pain and grief and at the same time learning how to be happy again.
We have been lucky to have another child, our rainbow baby (known as the baby after a loss) and we are now expecting our third child. Being pregnant following a loss is a world full of worry and anxiety and it can be very dark at times, but I won’t go into that now. I am also acutely aware that many of my ‘Club’ friends are still waiting for their rainbow baby. It is a difficult, hard, life-long journey and maybe the least we can all do is acknowledge each loss, doesn’t matter how early in the pregnancy, and just say that we are sorry for the loss.
Therefore, my hope after Baby Loss Awareness Week is that people remember our children, remember that many parents are trying to live with the grief, say their names and show that you also remember.
By Heledd Tomos
Mam Cymru would like to thank Heledd for making us all aware of the importance of this special week, and for her willingness to share her own story.
If you have been affected by this story or if you need further information or advice please visit www.uk-sands.org or call the Sands UK helpline on 0808 164 3332.