“Stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds” – the initial strength that pulsed through me when our son, Krishan passed away in my arms and my world fell apart. Hugely supported and running through the motions of the autopsy, the funeral, the 13 days of prayers which followed – the early days passed like a dream. I was strong. Everything happens for a reason. It was going to be ok.
But then, as the weeks and months passed, and indeed the years, the grief has changed. From sadness to isolation to fear that my angel will be forgotten and a huge guilt – that I see manifesting in so many ways. On those unique days – Krishan’s birthday, his death anniversary, Mothers’ day- the painful memories of helplessly watching him pass away, the vision of my tall husband carrying his angel in a tiny coffin up the aisle of the crematorium, the sound of the gasp my Uncle let out as he caught sight of his body at home – are allowed out and then firmly put back in their vault.
Certainly, I’ve changed fundamentally – some good and some less good. Trying to channel this into positive work for others experiencing baby loss and more broadly all parents to keep their little ones safe has been a greater healer.
Keeping your memory alive – a place to remember
Celebrating Krishan’s birthday with his siblings and cousins, as we would have done if he had been alive, acknowledging him as our son and part of our family is hugely important. Just like I do for my other children, we always have waffles for breakfast on this birthday, bake and cut a cake, and have a small party. Recently, my two children helped bake 27 cakes over two days as part of Bake it for Babies – exhausting but healing.
Power of Peers
When I was asked if I’d like to be a Befriender to provide peer-to-peer support for other families, I didn’t appreciate what an incredible learning it would be for me personally. Far beyond being able to provide some value to another family experiencing the life altering tragedy that losing a child is, it has supported my own self-esteem and confidence that I am helping another –I am learning to really listen, to delve behind the ‘emotion’ word, to understand. So powerful in my own life.
Truly a unique support. A friend who recently lost her 8 year old to asthma had no easy peer support. I am hugely grateful to the Lullaby Trust and hope this leveraged model can be replicated for other organisations.
Baby Loss Awareness – Now what?
So it’s Baby Loss Awareness Week. On the surface, the macro story is hugely positive. Annual UK SIDS deaths have plummeted from around 2,000 per year to 240 – following huge campaigns such as Back to Sleep pioneered by the Lullaby Trust’s research focus. However, UK rates still remain amongst the worst in Western Europe and last year started to rise. On a micro level, the baby loss charities have come together as a sector for baby loss awareness to amplify their voice which is so powerful.
However, there are still so many risks to babies out there which need to be addressed and like many other sectors these charities face huge funding challenges. Young parents from specific demographics are most at risk – how are they being supported? Award winning schemes like Little Lullaby have developed a scalable, effective technology-built model yet, in the current funding environment are at serious risk. Across demographics, I see great confusion out there amongst parents. Which products are safe? What should I put my baby in? Isn’t a sling OK as it keeps my baby close? What type of firm, flat, waterproof mattress? We will continue to raise awareness of these issues and educate other families in our angel’s name.
As we close Baby Loss Awareness Week, light a virtual candle for a special soul you may be remembering or to support safety of all babies and their families.