13 Oct Books and baby loss
This week (9-15 October) is Baby Loss Awareness Week. It’s a week where bereaved parents, relatives and friends remember the all-too-brief lives of their babies. Babies who touched their lives for just a little while but will live in their hearts forever.
Over 4000 babies are stillborn in the UK every year, and many of the deaths remain unexplained. And one in four babies are lost to miscarriage. For some women, myself included, sadly the chances are even higher.
There are many fabulous charities involved in this field. Some are dedicated to researching the reasons why these babies are lost. Others focus on supporting families through this awful experience. Some charities are condition-specific and provide information, research and support for families suffering from a medical condition which could result in the loss of their child. In some cases, to prevent the possibility of a baby being lost, the baby has to be delivered early. This happened with all five of our babies.
So, what has this got to do with books?
For me, the two have become inextricably linked. When my last two pregnancies ended early due to complications, our babies ended up in intensive care. When I wasn’t watching over them, their little bodies attached to tubes and monitors, I was back in my hospital bed resting. To pass the time and ease the sadness of being separated, I began writing a book for them – a picture book which was not only a story, but part of their story. And during another particularly sad time, when one of our babies did not survive, in the awful, empty hours of waiting in hospital, I turned to the story I was writing at the time and lost myself in that for comfort.
I knew early on in my writing career that I wanted my books to somehow make a difference. So I decided to give a percentage of royalties from my books to various charities which had helped us along the way. I love the idea that when someone buys one of my books, it gives a little something back. At the moment, I’m delighted to be supporting Bliss, Tommy’s and ICP Support. (ICP, or intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy is a condition I had with all my five babies, characterised by itching in pregnancy and linked to premature birth, fetal distress and stillbirth if not managed actively).
As well as raising funds for these charities through the books, I endeavour to raise awareness of these charities and the wonderful work they do. And I hope, in turn, this means that fewer families have to experience the devastation caused when a baby dies.
Wishing all the best to everyone involved in Baby Loss Awareness Week and a big thank you to all the charities who do so much.
For more info:
Which books support which charities? Please look at my Charities page.