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Baby Loss: It's time to talk

by Sanna Mazhar, medical negligence solicitor

Miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal deaths; why in society can we sometimes feel shame or guilt or fear in sharing our experiences about these life changing events? Everyone deals with grief and loss in different ways. 

However, raising awareness on this issue is universally beneficial to all individuals who have suffered the loss of a baby. Well-known individuals such as Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen have shared their experiences and sparked the question: why do babies die?

The impact of losing a child is deeply complex and distressing and it is clear that support and communication in a safe environment is imperative. Petals, a UK charity, in particular specialise in supporting parents who experience mental health issues (which is often the case) as a result of bereavement, trauma or loss related to pregnancy including miscarriage, stillbirth, termination for medical reasons and neonatal loss.

A Member of Parliament Cherilyn Mackrory gave a heart-breaking speech about her own experience of losing her baby. She explained how this is such a dark situation for many people and understands first-hand how important it is to understand this and explains how the best way to describe this grief is ‘primal’. 

Cherilyn acknowledged how widespread baby loss is in the UK and how so many people are bearing this grief often silently. She explains that this grief is so raw that it dominates your entire being and it is important that we talk about it and I feel as though her speech perfectly explains why this issue is so important.

Cherilyn has also spoken as part of a parliamentary debate dealing with the ambition to reduce baby loss and makes clear recommendations for change: we need a minimum of 500 more obstetricians and 2000 more midwives; we need sustainable access to training; we need to ensure appropriate and compassionate support to parents; we need clinicians to feel confident in reporting without worry; and for example, with Group B strep screening 50 babies a year could be saved and a further 70 from life-changing disabilities.

Communication is imperative to understanding; key to ensuring change occurs and helps to support those who have lost a baby. 

Many feel uncomfortable talking about baby loss as it is often considered a taboo subject, however acknowledging the loss first and foremost is crucial so that those affected do not suffer in silence and so that change can occur and lives can be saved. 

Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care at our dedicated medical negligence section

The impact of losing a child is deeply complex and distressing and it is clear that support and communication in a safe environment is imperative”