This week we have been marking Baby Loss Awareness Week, our annual opportunity to reflect, remember and raise the profile of an issue which is very important to me following the death of my son in 2000.
When I was first elected in 2015, I joined colleagues from across the House who had experienced their own loss in setting up the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Baby Loss. The APPG has gone from strength to strength since then, improving how we talk about losing a baby and how both Government and society support grieving families. The introduction of statutory parental bereavement leave and the National Bereavement Care Pathway are just two of the Group’s achievements so far.
This year’s theme of ‘Stepping Stones’ reminds everyone affected by baby loss that while their bereavement journey is unique to them, they never have to navigate it alone. Being able to talk about our experience in the days, weeks, months and years afterwards is so important – for parents, their families and the healthcare workers who can be so affected by the death of a baby in their care.
We are very lucky to have so many fantastic charities, including Sands, Aching Arms and Bliss, who offer practical and emotional support to those who need it, when they need it. It is because of them that we are now marking the 20th anniversary of Baby Loss Awareness Week.
While great progress has been made, there is always more we can do. The Department of Health and Social Care remains committed to halving maternal deaths by 2025, as well as the rate of stillbirth, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after labour. We must be ambitious in thinking about what we want to achieve to make a real difference.
As Baby Loss Awareness Week comes to an end today, I hope my constituents will join me by lighting a candle at 7pm. The Global Wave of Light provides an opportunity for all those navigating a pregnancy loss or death of a baby that they are not alone in their bereavement journey.
You can find out more here.