October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and for the first time ever last week, this subject was emotionally debated in the UK House of Commons. It was exceptionally moving and for once the MP's behaved like human beings and regardless of their political party, they were united in grief as they debated how best to support the estimated 200,000 UK mothers who go through this life changing and heartbreaking experience every year.
This is big subject to tackle, as there are so many factors to consider in what can go wrong from implantation of an embryo right through to delivery, and in looking at those factors what measures can be taken to avoid more people going through this each year?
I was driving when the UK commons debate aired on the radio, and had to pull over as I couldn't see through the tears that were streaming down my face. The incredibly brave Vicky Foxcroft, Labour MP for Lewisham, delivered the hardest speech of her life when she described losing her baby daughter Veronica at only 5 days old. It was real, it was genuine and it was so very hard to hear the pain in her voice as she relived the experience to convey the importance of the debate.
If you didn't hear it, then you can watch it again here.
Other MP's followed describing their own personal experience of both pregnancy loss and infant loss, this subject was not just a female problem as the male MP's also had stories to share, which were heartbreaking.
The MP debate probably caught the most media attention, but I have been moved and surprised by how many of my personal friends are also sharing their stories on social media this month. For some they have never told anyone about their loss before, and only now as it is very much in the public eye do they feel comfortable enough to share the names of these loved and lost little angels along with cherished photo's. Something else that really struck a chord with me was the there is currently a 6 month waiting list for bereavement counselling, surely this should and must happen straight away.
I've also seen some really good blogs on the subject, as these brave women share the biggest heartache they will ever endure. Something I hear about all too often is miscarriage and most importantly recurrent miscarriage. For my friends in the UK, the support after this heartache is non existent. Despite going through this trauma it would seem that no investigations are carried out to find out why they are not carrying a baby to term, and the period that they are able to carry for gets shorter each time, until eventually they are not conceiving at all. They then have to go down the painful road of IVF, and again if they are successful in achieving a pregnancy they again suffer a miscarriage.
I think this blog best sums up not only pregnancy loss but having hope for the future. This lady left the UK and went to Barbados Fertility Centre for Reproductive Immunology to check the level of her antibodies, which were too high, this caused her body to reject the embryo. After successful treatment she is now weeks away from having her baby. Sadly for Vicky Foxcroft MP, she could not risk the heartache of losing another child and never had anymore children.
This is such a painful subject and I hope that as we continue to raise awareness we can start to improve care of women when they are pregnant, so that they may go on to deliver healthy babies. If you have suffered pregnancy or infant loss then help is available here.