"There is no sadness strikes as deep or lasts as long as the death of an unborn child in a womb that has waited to bring forth life. Unfortunately, around 4,000 babies are stillborn in the UK each year. Stillbirth refers to the death of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy, but before birth.
So often have I heard or encountered women who lost the child in their womb who received less support than they deserved. Because it had died before delivery, others considered its loss to have been less than say a child who died in infancy or in their early childhood. Nothing could be farther from the truth! When a child is conceived, it is conceived in both the mind and body of a woman and the two cannot be separated by any change of circumstances that transpires thereafter. From the moment of its conception, hopes are formed, plans are laid and dreams are dreamt. Henceforth, whatever the circumstances that transpire, no hurt felt is lessened.
I once worked with a woman who had given birth to three healthy children. She and her husband had been happily married for thirteen years and they loved their children dearly. During their first attempt to have a child as newly weds, there were complications and the child died in the womb. Although she could have had a caesarean, she decided to deliver the infant stillborn and lived out the four remaining months in a process of constant grieving.
In later years, when others eventually learned of her earlier experiences and sought to reassure her with unthinking reference to her three healthy children, she told them that the grief she and her husband experienced for their unborn child was no more or less than if one of her other children were tragically taken from her today. I cannot recall her precise words and to paraphrase them would seem improper, but I remember her expressing the sentiments that she and her husband buried much more than a child that day; they also buried a part of themselves that could never be replaced however many healthy children she gave birth to thereafter.
For those of you who would like to support the parents of the stillborn, I would ask you to think about 'The Lily Mae Foundation.' This foundation is determined to change public perception of Stillbirth and Neonatal Death and to stop it becoming a taboo subject. Official statistics show that Stillbirth in the UK is ten times more common than cot death. There has also historically been a woeful lack of funding for research into Stillbirth and Neonatal Death.
The death of a baby is like a stone cast into the stillness of a quiet pool; the concentric ripples of despair sweep out in all directions, affecting many, many people for many years thereafter. Sweet little flower of heavenly birth, you were too fair to bloom on earth." William Forde: July 24th, 2015.