So today, October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness day. It’s highly possible this day has been going for years and I’ve only just become aware of it, but this is the first year that I have noticed it, probably because now I have a baby of my own it hits home so much more.
When I was pregnant I was reliably informed that up to 50% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage, a figure I was totally shocked by. Although most of these happen so early on in pregnancy that the mother isn’t even aware, stillbirth is actually more common than cot death, affecting 1 in every 200 births in the UK. When you add the figures for stillbirth, cot death and SIDS together that becomes a terrifying statistic for every pregnant woman and for some, can turn what should be the most joyous occasion into a very fearful and anxious time.
I felt the need to write this post, not to scare expectant mums or shock anyone with numbers but because since I had my baby and met so many new mums who’ve struggled with conception, miscarriage or infant loss, I’ve come to realise how lucky I am. I fell pregnant without trying, had a symptom free pregnancy and a text book natural birth, producing one healthy, strong bouncing baby boy. The point of all this is that during the pregnancy I never thought I would experience anything but that! It never crossed my mind that anything could go wrong. But it does, all the time, for women who’ve done nothing wrong and who don’t deserve it. To carry or deliver a baby into this world but never get to watch them grow seems to me to be the cruelest fate for any mother.
So there are really two things I want to say here. Firstly I just want to express how thankful and lucky I am to have my beautiful baby, here with me, healthy and strong and growing every day. I’m not even sure I believe in a God but if he exists I’m so grateful that he looked down on me and brought my baby to me safely. Secondly, I want to give my upmost respect and love to any mother who has lost a child at any stage. There are more of you out there than I ever realised and I think you must be some of the bravest and strongest women on the planet.
I truly hope that with all the social media posts and blog posts just like this one, that women and families who’ve been through this will feel more able to talk about their grief and their loss and maybe find friends who’ve been through the same thing.