Rather short, as far as words go and deceptively innocent. Four letters in this one word, that convey a world of pain and devastation for any woman who’s lost a baby. A loss that’s usually accompanied by silence, guilt, shame and self-judgment, making it extremely difficult to bear.
It’s said that one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss. In Africa alone, it’s estimated that 4.2 million miscarriages occur every year. This gives a sign of the scale of the problem.
Miscarriage refers to a baby who dies in utero before 28 weeks of pregnancy. A loss after 28 weeks of pregnancy is termed stillbirth. Due to complications or illness, infants can be lost shortly after birth.
Stories Of Loss
Three courageous women have come together to form Cradle of Hope After Loss. Each one after experiencing baby loss in a different way.
For Asmita, it was an early loss at 8 weeks. A miscarriage in the first trimester is the most common kind of loss and many women aren’t even aware when it happens to them.
However, for Asmita it was an extremely painful experience. The fact that it was her first pregnancy made the loss harder. As it had taken a while to fall pregnant.
Brigette’s son was born extremely premature, with her having experienced cramping in the early hours of the morning of her wedding reception.
Brigette delivered Logan naturally and her beautiful baby boy lived for 2 days in the neonatal ICU before succumbing to the complications of being born before the 26-week mark.
Margo welcomed the news of her twin pregnancy with joy but had fairly difficult pregnancy, confined to bed rest for much of the time. Despite this, she carried her twin boys to almost 7 months.
Sadly her identical twins Ziggy and Zion were stillborn at just under 7 months. It’s probably little known that 1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. 10 times more common than losing a child to SIDS.
Support After Miscarriage, Stillbirth And Infant Loss In Botswana
Baby loss is unique in that it doesn’t just involve the physical loss of a child. But also any hopes and dreams that the mother, and indeed the family, had woven around the life that child would have. The intricacies that come with it can only truly be appreciated by someone who has been through it.
In many cultures, a mother isn’t allowed to cry or mourn the loss of a baby in utero. A situation, therefore, arises whereby a mother has had this loss and is grieving but is not allowed to do so openly without inviting disapproval and judgement from others.
Peer support from others who have had the same experience is crucial with this kind of loss. It is important for the loss to be acknowledged and for a woman to be allowed to speak and be heard without judgement. It was in this spirit that the Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss Support group was created, with the help and support of Caroline Gartland from Sensobaby.
Although the corona virus pandemic has made meeting face to face near impossible, the women keep in touch via a whatsapp group for now, with plans for virtual and eventually face to face meetings in the pipeline.
A Meeting Of Minds
The support group was a huge release for everyone who was there and who spoke of their loss. And at this meeting an idea was born – to create something to help other mothers and families who had also experienced loss. At this stage, there was no obvious direction until Margo made contact with a company in South Africa called Mama Nurture.
Cradle Of Hope After Loss Bereavement Facilitators
Asmita, Brigette and Margo are currently training to become Bereavement Facilitators. With the intention of offering these services to mums, couples and families going through this loss. The following explanation from Mama Nurture provides an explanation:
“… A Bereavement Facilitator provides emotional, physical and informational support to a family in the loss of their baby prior to, during and after birth. They can provide options and support in situations of a chemical pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, fatal diagnosis, carrying to term, infant loss and NICU care.
They can help facilitate legacy and memory making for families. Families do not have to navigate their loss journey alone. Families are offered compassionate and continual support throughout their loss journey, no matter where it begins.
No amount of support can take away the pain and devastation experienced through miscarriage and stillbirth, but it is well documented that people who have continuous support are more emotionally resilient…”Kriedemann, S et al, Mama Nurture © 2018-2019
Pregnancy And Baby Loss Awareness Month
October is Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness Month. Cradle of Hope After Loss is commemorating this month in the following ways:
1 in 4 pregnancies ends in a loss. The #iam1in4 campaign aims to break the silence, stigma and taboo around this topic.
By showing their faces and sharing their stories, bereaved mothers are rising up. Showing the world that it’s acceptable to talk about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. And to acknowledge the lives of their babies, because their lives mattered.
A Wave Of Light, Love & Hope
Every year on the 15th of October, candles are lit all over the world. To remember the life of each baby lost. These candles burn for an hour from 7 pm – 8 pm in each time zone. A wave of light throughout the globe.
2020 will be the first year Botswana will join the rest of the world in commemorating the lives of babies gone too soon. You can take part by lighting a candle, for your baby or any baby lost. From 7pm – 8pm on Thursday 15th October 2020.
It would be lovely if you could take pictures of your candles, and send them to Cradle of Hope After Loss to post on their Facebook page.
Cradle of Hope After Loss looks forward to serving the public as Bereavement Facilitators. Helping bereaved mothers and families to navigate their loss, assisting the bereaved to heal from their grief and providing hope for the future.
For more information, please contact these courageous women at [email protected] or on the numbers below:
We wish for the message of hope after loss to find its way to as many women as possible. Join this campaign of hope and support. First, by sharing this with women who’ve experienced loss. Second, by following Cradle of Hope After Loss on Facebook. Lastly, by taking part in the Wave of Light, Love and Hope candle lighting event on Thursday.
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