At Hand on Heart, we want to do everything we can to support Baby Loss Awareness Week. The annual event takes place from 9th to 15th of October this year. It’s a really important campaign because it’s a time for everyone in the baby loss community and beyond to come together, remember much-loved and missed babies, and raise awareness of pregnancy and baby loss.
A key part of this is sparking conversations around baby loss to stop the silence and break the stigma. After pregnancy loss, life can take a path that was never expected. This year’s theme is ‘Stepping Stones’ and it will focus on the steps of that journey and how they are unique to everyone.
The week also aims to share how the pregnancy and baby loss community is there for help and support every step of the way (both during and after loss), and to spread the word that you don’t have to navigate pregnancy and baby loss alone.
It might be surprising to learn that in the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth.
The latest UK statistics from Tommy’s tell us that during each day in 2020:
- 2,000 babies were born alive
- 500 babies were miscarried
- 150 babies were born preterm
- 7 babies were stillborn
It is understandable that it can be hard to know what to do or what to say to somebody who has experienced baby loss. Tommy’s charity has offered suggestions based on what people who have experienced loss have said they found helpful. However, it’s important to remember that grief is unique to every individual and what is right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.
Listening and being there for them
Your instinct might be to give them space and privacy until they are ready to talk, but if everyone does that then they may feel they have nobody to talk to. Even if they don’t feel ready or able to talk about their experience, reassure them that you’re there to listen when they are.
Some people will put on a brave face. They might look well and seem like they’re coping but this doesn’t mean they are – being there for them is one of the best things you can do. When they’re ready to talk, if you don’t know what to say then simply saying ‘I’m sorry’, or even explaining that ‘You can’t find the words’ is much better than avoiding it completely.
Offering practical help
Grief is exhausting and overwhelming. Practical help like cooking meals for the freezer, or going to the shops, or helping out with childcare if there are other children can often be the best way to support and help while they navigate those early days of grief.
Following the Parents lead
If you are unsure what they want, don’t be afraid to ask them what they are comfortable with. Just remember to be sensitive and respectful of their reactions and decisions. For example, there will be some parents who don’t name their child, or who don’t want to share their baby’s name with colleagues or friends. They may only want to share those details with close family.
Acknowledging the baby, if the Parents do
Some parents want people to acknowledge their baby’s existence and the fact that they had a baby, but others don’t. Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief. If they do want to acknowledge their baby, then don’t ignore what has happened. Try to talk about the baby as a person, using their name if the parents gave them one. If you feel it’s appropriate and that it might help them to talk about it, you could ask questions about the baby.
Choosing your words carefully
Many parents find certain sentiments and sayings unhelpful – however well-meaning the motivation might be by those saying it. Phrases such as, ‘You’re young, you’ll have another one,’ can undermine their grief and belittle their sadness. They might not be ready, now or ever. And if they are, another baby will never be seen as a replacement for the child they have lost.
Things to avoid saying
Parents have said they found the following particularly upsetting:
- Referring to the baby as ‘it’.
- Avoiding them or pretending it didn’t happen (unless they specifically tell you they would rather not talk about it).
- Talking about faith and religion if they are not religious – such as “They are with the angels now” or “It is God’s will”.
- Referring to other children they might have, suggesting it eases the pain – such as “At least you have….”
(Tommy’s is committed to funding medical research and providing information to help more people to have a healthy pregnancy and birth – for more information about Tommy’s please visit the website for useful resources).
At Hand on Heart, baby loss is a topic very close to our hearts. We’re honoured and humbled that our customers have shared their stories of loss with us, and we take the responsibility of creating a tribute to a loss very seriously and sympathetically. We understand how difficult an experience it is to endure, and our staff are completely understanding and sensitive to any requests for memorial keepsakes around baby loss.
Our aim is always to provide a sensitive service for a beautiful memorial keepsake that will offer comfort in the dark days of grief. We’d love to share some of the kind words of our customers with you ahead of Baby Loss Awareness Week (shared with their permission).
“I so wish I could give you more than five stars. I cannot recommend you enough! Every single step of our contact with you has been incredible. We really felt you respected the ashes of our baby and because of this you made what was a very difficult situation, not only bearable but actually comfortable. Now I have the most beautiful piece of jewellery with me every day which brings me great comfort. Thank you so much, especially to Donna who dealt with our ring personally. I couldn’t have asked for more!”
“When you lose a child, your world is immediately turned upside down. My beautiful angel baby was born sleeping and at 17+ weeks, it wasn’t the easiest trying to get her hand and foot prints. One of my friends recommended I use HoH. When I first contacted the team at HoH I wasn’t sure they could capture the prints as best for me, but I was so wrong. The team are incredible. As soon as I sent an enquiry with my prints attached just to check whether they could be used, Ellie quickly got back to me and confirmed they could and that I don’t even need to go back to the website to upload the prints as they could use what I’ve sent via email. This was so helpful to me as it meant I didn’t have to do any more work concerning my order. My designer, Suzie, captured my baby’s prints perfectly and the final product looks amazing, I couldn’t be happier. I have something to cherish for a very long time thanks to the Team at HoH. Highly recommended.”
We are truly honoured by these beautiful words from our customers who have bought memorial jewellery for themselves or for somebody close to them who has experienced baby loss. A treasured keepsake that can offer a glimmer of light and hope during an extremely difficult time is exactly why we do what we do, and it’s why we started our memorial jewellery collection.
Featured products for beautiful and sensitive memorial keepsakes…
Keep them close forever with this beautiful Angel Wing Heart Necklace. The stunning sterling silver heart is engraved with ‘Always in my Heart’ next to an angel wing, and the reverse can be engraved with a special message of your choice.
Hair jewellery is created using a lock of your loved one’s hair and is a beautiful keepsake. The sterling silver pendant of this large heart necklace is carefully layered with resin containing the hair.
This engraved necklace is a beautiful memorial tribute and combines a stunning personalised sterling silver disc with an angel wing charm. The disc is engraved with a hand or footprint and can have a special message, name, or date on the reverse.
Made to love and treasure forever, this sterling silver Necklace features the unique heartbeat of your precious baby with an angel wing charm. The round charm is engraved with the image of the heartbeat soundwave, which you can supply from a sound-clip or video. The reverse of the charm can be engraved with a short message or date.
Our treasured memorial keepsake jewellery collections include Baby Heartbeat and Ultrasounds, Angel Wing Jewellery, Handprint Jewellery, Fingerprint Jewellery, Hair Keepsake Jewellery, and Cremation Ashes Jewellery. If you have any questions at all about any of our products or collections, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team who are more than happy to help with any queries about memorial jewellery, no matter how big or small.
If you or somebody you know needs help or support for baby loss, please visit https://babyloss-awareness.org/ for information, resources and the support to know that you’re not alone.
The Baby Loss Awareness Week’s global ‘Wave of Light’ takes place on 15th October. The globally recognised event will see people across the world lighting a candle at 7pm local time and leaving it burning for at least one hour to remember all babies that have died too soon.