Why We Need to Raise Awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss

28/10/2013 10:50 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

A truly heartbreaking experience, nothing can compare to the loss of a child. Whether through miscarriage, stillbirth or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), infant loss is something that touches an astonishingly high number of families, yet many of us are still unaware of the facts.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month was established by President Ronald Reagan in October 1988 to try and increase understanding of infant death, an issue that a lot of us avoid talking about predominantly through fear and discomfort.

While the subject often goes unspoken, the statistics speak for themselves. In the UK alone it is thought that one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, while one in every 200 births ends in stillbirth and one in every 300 babies dies within the first four weeks of life.

That equates to an alarming number of parents and their families left devastated by the death of a child each year, a loss that no one can quite understand unless they experience it themselves.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month serves as a timely and poignant reminder to remember the thousands of people each year who experience this indescribable loss. While there are no words that can possibly make the pain any easier to bear, it is important to offer support and let grieving families know that they're not alone.

Charities like Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) and Tommy's play an important role in supporting those who are affected by infant loss. They offer vital resources to parents through anything from information packs to counselling, but could always benefit from extra public funding to make an even bigger difference.

We may be nearing the end of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, but please remember to spare a thought for those affected beyond the month of October. For them the memory lasts so much longer than 31 days, it will stay with them a lifetime.