Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, the second one for me since Ellis was stillborn. I haven’t shared too many up close photos of him because I know it’s tender, heartbreaking, and honestly scary to think about perfectly healthy babies dying, but it’s a subject I believe we shouldn’t turn away from. We are often shielded from death and grief and therefore find ourselves ill-equipped to face it when it happens.
The UK has reached record low stillbirth rates through campaigns and awareness about preventable stillbirths, such as by encouraging moms to track their baby’s movements. I believe that instead of worrying we might scare mothers, we should focus on empowering them to be knowledgeable advocates for themselves and their unborn children.
Tommy’s.org says that “When a baby is unwell, they may conserve energy by slowing down their movements. This can be the first sign of a problem. 55% of women who had a stillbirth noticed their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped but hadn’t reported it.”
I noticed Ellis had stopped moving but waited hours before going to the hospital because, as a first time mom, I assumed it was “normal.” I’ll probably never know the cause of Ellis’ stillbirth or if it could have been prevented, but I do wish one of my medical professionals would have talked with me about tracking his movement.
I hope that when you look at Ellis’ picture now, you won’t see him as just a sad story, but rather as Ellis the Rainbow Maker who brings light and hope into the world. And perhaps his story will help prevent another baby’s stillbirth and also help others better understand how to support bereaved parents.
Last point—as a mama, sometimes I just want to share cute pictures of my babe. Look at those sweet cheeks and curly locks. 😍