Aware (adjective): Having or showing realisation, perception, or knowledge
Baby Loss Awareness Week (9th – 15 October) rolls around again, it starts tomorrow. And unlike last year, it’s not something I’m planning to make a push for, because it feels too heavy this year. Because every day of my life, I’m baby loss aware now. I wish I wasn’t aware of the dedicated week in October. I wish I was ignorant to it all, instead of BLAW being a meaningful (and dreaded, painful) part of my life now. I’m aware that my three babies died.
I’m bizarrely one of the fortunate ones: I blog regularly on this website and I have a dedicated baby loss Instagram account @AnjuliesMumoirs as an outlet, so it’s not me or my followers that need to be aware. It’s the uninitiated, or the unaffected. It’s the old me, the ignorant me, the one untouched by this. It’s not the “new me” that needs to care, it’s the carefree.
If you want to raise awareness, last year’s blogs still stand. Click here for one that has lots of baby loss awareness statistics, structured as a quiz. Or click here, to see some images that sum up what it’s like. One year later, it all still stands. That’s why it all feels heavy.
Every day I raise baby loss awareness, remembering my losses, my privacy on the line here. So this year, I’m passing the baton. Not to anyone in particular, but in the hope, that people who have been reading, have been changed by this. That they are now having the difficult conversations, that they are now acknowledging the babies dying, that they are now saying the names out loud:
Aari, Aarna, Aarush, Adalyn, Adrian, Alex, Amelia, Arran, Arlo, Aryan, Asher, Aveer, Beckett, Carmen, Charley, Charlie, Chloe, Coral, Courtney, Dylan, Elijah, Eliot, Elliot, Elsie, Emma, Esme, February, Felix, Hannah, Hattie, Hera, Isabela, Isabelle, Izzy, Jack, Jackson, Jasper, Jay, Jaya, Jennifer, Jessie, Joseph, Josephine, Juliette, Juniper, Lex, Liam, Lochlann, Luca, Lucas, Luke, Madelyn, Margot, Markos, Matt, Mera, Mikaeel, Murph, Naya, Noah, Nora, Nova, Oscar, Pearl, Poppy, Rainer, Renee, Riaan, Rian, Robin, Romana, Rose, Ruby, Rufus, Sawyer, Silas, Shiloh, Summer, Teddy, Thais, Venba, Viaan, Violet, Will, William, Zachary.
Names for almost every letter of the alphabet. Don’t glance over them, read them. Sit with them. These are just some of the babies I have come to know. Just some of the named babies, who all too easily pop into my head. I could honestly tell you something about all of the babies I’ve just named. But this list doesn’t even cover the hundreds of unnamed miscarried babies (like my two: “BoC” – pronounced Bock – and “My Baby”) who I have also learnt about since starting this blog.
It’s not me, that needs to be aware.
I am very aware. I am acutely aware that I’m still in the same position this year. That for three consecutive years now, I’ve hoped to be pregnant or to have a baby for Baby Loss Awareness Week. So many other people who were here with me last year, are pregnant or mothers now, but I now know better than to daydream “maybe next year”. So rather sheepishly, my plan is to largely try to avoid Baby Loss Awareness Week. I won’t be doing a set of focused blogs again, or posting anything on my personal Facebook account. I’m just planning to attend a few Zoom sessions to support friends and to take part in the Wave of Light at the end of the week (7pm on the 15th October), by lighting a candle, or three.
One baby loss baton, I’m proud to say, has been passed to my brother. He works for a UK company that is a well known, household name. This year, he asked head office if he could do all their social media content, for Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021. Seeing as they weren’t planning to post anything, they said yes. He personally has never had to endure any form of baby loss, but he is aware of what I have been through, what I continue to go through. He is picking up the baton, in a race, he previously didn’t know people were running: he saw me struggling and he joined in (what a teammate). To me, THIS is what Baby Loss Awareness is about: people doing things differently, people feeling compelled to spread the message, people who are proud to talk about this sensitive, but hugely important topic. If you’re one of them – thank you. Really, thank you.
So while my brother is running – completely outside of his comfort zone – with the baby loss baton this week, tonight, I’m doing something that’s strange, even by my standards. I am going to the theatre with a bunch of strangers. Genuine strangers. People I’ve never had a single conversation with, but people who have something in common: baby loss awareness.
A stranger put a post on Instagram that said “does anyone near London want to see this play (about a couple that has a stillbirth) with me?” and I said yes.
I don’t even know WHY I want to go and see it, it’s obviously going to be traumatic and triggering. And as I’ve said, I’m not someone that needs to be aware of this stuff. I know about it, I’m living some of it. Maybe it’s because I just want to feel something, or to sit with a bunch of people who really care or who want to think about these things too. I’m in that place now, where I know if I ask my husband or my friends to come along, they will. But it will be for me, not them. So I guess I don’t want to be a charity case all the time. It’s a bit of a brave thing to do, but crying in public amongst strangers is nothing new. And at the very least, it’s a fitting intro to Baby Loss Awareness Week, so wish me luck.
N.B. If you want some Mumoirs blogs to share, to raise awareness this week etc, here are a few suggestions. I hope you have a gentle week. My inbox is open, but otherwise, I’ll see you on the other side.
- My first ever social media post about baby loss: Ignorance is Indeed, Bliss
- Why it’s important to acknowledge any babies that have died: What Not to Say
- What it’s like to have a miscarriage: My Baby – The Unfiltered View
- Why pregnancy announcements might be difficult for those who have lost a baby: Pregnancy Announcements
- Why we need to be better at talking about baby loss: Labels
- Finally, something that might be helpful for medical professionals: Medical Insensitivity
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