What Baby Loss Awareness Week Means to a Young Bereaved Parent

T/W: This article features a story about baby loss which some users may find triggering.

"Although I am bereaved parent. I am still a parent and to me I cannot describe how important it is that this is remembered. It's just that the way I am a parent is different.

I became a mummy at 17 in 2016 and a twin mummy earlier this year and of all the words that describe me, 'mummy' is my favourite. Although I will never hear the people that made me a mummy call me it. For my darling Airley, Freddy and Thomas all died during pregnancy.

Now, I carry my parenthood in my heart and parent my babies through ensuring their names are spoken, writing them letters, making donations in their memory, sharing our story to help others and raising awareness that baby loss affects young people too.

Teenage pregnancy is still not often discussed and young parenthood is often associated with stigma and stereotypes. Imagine what it is like when you become a young parent without a baby and suddenly the word bereaved becomes part of your identity.

Peers, teachers, youth workers, families and university staff all struggle to know what to say or do. I found that I didn’t know what to say either, how to help others understand or tell them how they could help me. I found it isolating to be a young bereaved parent and that, as most people meeting me never expect be to be a parent, chances for me to talk about my children are limited, which makes weeks like Baby Loss Awareness Week even more important.

"I became a mummy at 17 in 2016 and a twin mummy earlier this year and of all the words that describe me, 'mummy' is my favourite."

Most people never think about pregnancies ending in tragedy, but now I do. Nor do people consider the double tragedy of a young person becoming bereaved through miscarriage, still birth or their baby dying shortly after birth.

For me this week is a chance to highlight this, look beyond the statistics and talk about my motherhood. It is not just during this week, I, like every bereaved parent, remember my babies. Bereaved parents think of their babies and miss them every day, they are forever our missing piece.

To raise awareness like this, is what Baby Loss Awareness Week means to me.

However, for me, this week is also an opportunity to educate others, in the reality of how difficult it can be, to become a parent.

Statistically, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, 1 in 100 face recurrent miscarriage, 1 in 6 couples face infertility and 15 babies are stillborn every day in the UK.*

I hope that in this week, others are able to spare a second to remember all of these babies missing from this world, but remember this remembrance is a daily reality for bereaved parents. Remember that young people can be bereaved parents too, and that if you are bereaved parent - there is so much support out there. You are not alone."

Written by Airley, Freddy and Thomas’s Mummy.

Further Support & Information

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this post, you can find more information and support in the links below:

*Source: Tommy's.