Why is Baby Loss Awareness Month and Week so important?
(photo via Pixabay)
I know everything seems to have a special day now adays....one day we are celebrating national Popcorn Day (19 January, for those who are interested), next Anti-Boredom Month (July) so maybe you are like I was and are thinking it's all gotten a little out of hand. However as a charity CEO I had to stop and evaluate the benefit to our charity fully getting behind these international events and explore the benefits to the people we support... what I discovered was this:
These days, weeks and months of awareness do make a difference. How so?
I have seen first-hand that people have more courage to share their stories during these periods, they also allow people to feel confident about sharing posts and articles.
Sadly the world is not great about supporting those who have lost and are in grief... this is further magnified when it comes to the loss of a baby. It's like it's the ultimate taboo... and maybe that's because it's most people's ultimate fear? We like to think of our friends, family and community being happy, enjoying life and let's face facts... a dead baby couldn't be more opposite to that. It's tragic, heart wrenching and soul destroying. Parents aren't meant to bury their babies, that's just not the natural order.
People constantly ask us 'What can we say to make it all better?' The answer is 'you can't make it all better, but you can be there and you can keep talking about it and let them know you will always be available to listen.'
Here are a few practical tips of what can you do as a family member or friend to someone who has lost:
1, Be there to listen. Avoid all clichés... i.e. 'time will heal your pain', 'your baby is in a better place now', 'and at least you can try again', 'just be grateful for the child you have'. Yes believe it or not phrases like these come thick and fast once you have lost a baby and they are like daggers to the heart. Here are some alternatives to say; 'I am here for you', 'I can't imagine what you are going through right now, but I know your heart was just shattered into a million pieces', 'I won't always know what to say, but I want to help you and ask you to just lead the way, when you want to talk I want to listen, if you want to sit in silence, I want be there to just hold your hand.'
(photo via Pixabay)
2. Like and share posts when your friends and family have posted them on social media... yes believe it or not this can help SO much. That simple gesture tells the person you just heard them, you see their pain, you acknowledge the baby(s) they have lost and you care. When someone shares anything like this they are opening their heart, they are being totally vulnerable and every time you see that it helps more than you could ever know.
3. Send them messages, cards, texts or call them to let them know you are thinking of them and are there if they need you.
4, Don't ever limit someone's grief period - what do I mean by that? Often we have in our heads a suitable time period for grieving... some may think a month is a suitable time, others a year. But here is a crucial fact, grief does not have a time limit, an expiry date or a best before date... grief is a personal journey and for most people it will last a life-time. That certainly does not mean they will be in the darkest of grief forever, it just means their grief will come in waves, sometimes huge or at other times gentle, so let the bereaved person lead you, rather than you leading them.
Here I share my story... of loss and hope in honour of this special month.
Every time we share our pain and our story we are breaking the silence and we are publically declaring the Mariposa Trust moto #EveryBabyMatters.
So this month show you care, be aware and stand with all bereaved parents around the globe.
Zoe Clark-Coates is one of the founders and CEO's of the Mariposa Trust. The Saying Goodbye division offers support and national remembrance services for anyone who has lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in early years.
Website: www.mariposatrust.org & sayinggoodbye.org