Every year I take part in the Wave of Light and spend that final hour from 7pm-8pm on the 15th of October just sitting quietly with my little angel’s memory box out, remembering my memories, having a little cry, smiling as I look at his photo’s and see someone so tiny but so perfect, the most beautiful thing I have ever created. It makes me happy yet sad during baby loss awareness week – happy that we try so hard worldwide to break the silence about early miscarriages, late miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. So many people still see it as some sort of taboo and that NEEDS to change.
In the UK alone there are 17 babies a day who die from late miscarriage/stillbirth or shortly after birth. The charity Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) launched a campaign back in March 2009 called ‘Why 17?’ As taken from the Why 17 website:
17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day in the UK, over 6,500 babies dying every year.
Each year thousands of devastated parents, grandparents, families and friends are left asking the same question, why?
In response to this, Sands launched the Why17? campaign. Through the campaign Sands hopes to raise awareness of these unnaceptable levels of baby loss, create a national strategy to reduce the number of babies dying and generate vital funds for research.
Taking Why17? to government
A key part of our camapaign has been to take the campaign to government to create a national strategy for reducing baby deaths.
We formally launched our campaign on 4 March 2009 at Westminster. 64 MPs attended the event, as well as over 180 Sands parents, researchers, key supporters and the media. Central to the event was the launch of Sands’ Saving Babies’ Lives Report, 2009.
I know a lot of people who follow my blog don’t live in the UK. The worldwide figures for baby loss are huge. So that is why the awareness week is important to me, I try to encourage all of my friends and family to take part in it but it is hard. People don’t want to talk about it…. that is…. until it has happened to them. But you never think it will happen to you….
I would be really touched if as many of you as possible could light a candle for the wave of light on the 15th of October at 7pm (your local time) and leave it burning for an hour. I will remind you again no doubt nearer the time!
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a very touching poem which really resonated with me:-
An Ugly Pair of Shoes
I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others’ eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realise that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have walked in these shoes so long that days will go by before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet because of the shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.