As part of baby loss awareness week from 9-15 October, UNISON’s Women’s Committee wants to make sure that members who have a stillbirth know what they are entitled to and that welfare officers signpost appropriate support.
This follows on from a motion at the Women’s Conference earlier this year.
Around one in 200 births in the UK are stillbirths. Stillbirth is one of the most devastating experiences any family can go through. Grieving for the loss of a baby is a very personal and difficult experience and it may be helpful to talk to a counsellor, especially when there is difficulty in coping.
In all too many cases when a baby is stillborn there is no obvious cause. These baby’s deaths remain unexplained, which can be hard for grieving parents who want to know why their baby died.
Families going through such a difficult time would need a lot of help and support. Trying to make decisions after your baby has died may feel almost impossible, but it is important to ask for support so that you know what the options are. When grieving, it can help to think that you were supported at the time to make important decisions.
If your baby has died or someone close to you has had a stillbirth there is support available:
Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) offers a confidential helpline for parents, families and healthcare professionals affected by stillbirth: 020 7436 5881 or 0808 164 3332. The team is available to speak to from 9.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, and 6pm to 10pm, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
You can also send an email to the helpline at email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sands also operate local support groups run by bereaved parents and family members. Click here for more information and to find the group nearest to you.
The charity Tommy’s offers a helpline run by midwives who have experience in talking about pregnancy loss and have had bereavement training. Call 0800 0147 800, 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
The Tommy’s website has information on coping with grief following a stillbirth. Click here for more information and to visit their website.
Cruse Bereavement Care
The charity Cruse Bereavement Care offers a helpline, face-to-face and group support following the death of someone close. Call their helpline on 0808 808 1677, 9.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Face-to-face and group support is delivered by trained bereavement volunteers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Click here for more information.
Other Self-help groups
There are many other self-help groups in the UK for bereaved parents and their families. You can search for bereavement support services in your area.
These groups are usually run by healthcare professionals, such as baby-loss support workers or specialist midwives, and parents who have experienced stillbirth.