I feel really passionate about the patients that I see suffering with the loss of their baby through miscarriage and particularly those suffering from recurrent miscarriage. It is documented that 1-in-4 women has had at least one miscarriage, which equates to around a quarter of a million women in the UK each year.
Today's post follows an interesting interview I had on the radio. The interviewer, through no fault of his own, clearly had no understanding of baby loss. He sadly resorted to many clichéd lines, which are regularly handed out to those who are unfortunate enough to know first-hand the sad reality of losing a much wanted child.
The case of the Australian couple who have taken the twin, but not the Downs syndrome sibling from the surrogate Thai mother, which has been in the news this week raises some interesting ethical issues. I don't mean to comment directly on that case here because the facts of that particular case are far from clear. The only thing that is clear is that it is very sad that it has happened. But what were the alternatives?
As a recurrent miscarrier, it can be hard to be around pregnant women and babies. Emotions swing between jealousy, self-hatred (I never used to be so nasty) and sadness for what I've lost. Self-preservation has a lot to do with it. That and the abject humiliation of having to leave a 2 year old's birthday party because you can't stop crying (got the t-shirt).
Since appearing on GMB, people have asked me "If there's a training programme which saves babies, why isn't it made mandatory? I didn't think stillbirth was preventable". I didn't think stillbirth was preventable either but I also didn't realise how common it was or how the UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates in the developed world. Until it happened to me.
Every twinge and cramp caused me to panic, and I tortured myself with endless Google searches. One moment I could be wildly optimistic having read of a woman whose measurements had been the same as mine and yet went on to have a healthy baby, seconds later I would be in floods of tears imagining myself going through the next seven months of pregnancy...
Many of us will be unaware that it's Baby Loss Awareness Week. For the vast majority of families and parents in the UK, this will be a week like many others - rushing between work commitments, picking up the kids and dealing with a multitude of other tasks. But this week, do spare a thought for the families that have lost a baby.
The 5th of May is International Day of the Midwife and the UK should be supporting midwives and other maternity professionals more so now than ever before. Why? Because there is currently a baby boom, a shortage of 5,000 midwives and the UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world according to the 2011 Lancet report.
Anyone in the world can pledge any amount they would like (min £1) towards the funding of the film and in return can select from a variety of rewards, ranging from a simple social media 'shout out', a copy of the new ebook '24weekers: The Story', through to a non-speaking role in the film and dinner with the director and some of the cast!