Trigger warning: this article mentions baby loss.
This year, Baby Loss Awareness Week is October 9th until October 15th.
This Friday (October 15th), the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) will light up in pink and blue as part of the Global Wave of Light to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week.
Baby Loss Awareness Week is held every October in remembrance of all babies who have died during pregnancy or after birth to raise awareness of pregnancy and baby loss.
According to the NMH, sadly, as many as 14,000 early pregnancies occur in Ireland every year, with an estimated 380 stillbirths and neonatal deaths reported.
“The loss of a baby during pregnancy or after birth is devastating. The National Maternity Hospital’s Bereavement Team provide specialised supportive care based on parents’ unique needs. Providing compassionate individualised care is central to the services that we provide,” Brenda Casey, Clinical Midwife Specialist in Bereavement at NMH, writes in the hospital’s newsletter.
The NMH has officially finished their work on a themed mural that can be seen outside of the Chapel of Rest at the hospital.
The Chapel of Rest is a non-denominational space where parents can choose to have a naming or blessing ceremony before transitioning from the hospital to their chosen place of rest.
The NMH and Dublin City Council commissioned the mural, which will act as a tribute to the lives of all babies who died too soon, by artist Shauna Heron of Blu Heron Design to enhance the area outside the Chapel.
Speaking on the mural’s message, Shauna explains that it depicts the mother goddess Danu, who, in legend, was believed to safely guide fairies or spirits to peace in the land of Tir na Nog.
“In the legend, Bile, the god of healing and protection appears as a mighty oak tree, helping direct them, and watching over them thereafter. In the mural I chose to depict the fairies or spirits from mythology as butterflies.”
The NMH offers a number of supports to bereaved parents and families.
NHM have a dedicated TLC Pregnancy Clinic designed specifically to support women who have attended the recurrent miscarriage clinic in hospital. Women are encouraged to contact the bereavement midwives with a positive pregnancy test. Individual clinical needs will be assessed based on recommendations from the recurrent miscarriage clinic. Following a viable scan at 7 weeks, an appointment will be posted for the TLC Clinic where regular scans and review will provide reassurance up until 12 weeks, at which point an antenatal clinic of choice can be explored.
Early Pregnancy Loss Support Group
This is a monthly, online early pregnancy loss support group for women and their partners who have experienced loss through ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy or first trimester miscarriage at NMH. It is facilitated by a Midwife Specialist in Bereavement and Loss. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Pregnancy After Loss Support Group
The Pregnancy after Loss Support Group (PAL) is a collaboration between the bereavement and mental health teams in the NMH. Women who are booked to attend NMH And who have previously experienced pregnancy loss are invited to attend. It is facilitated by the Clinical Midwife Specialist in Bereavement and Loss and the Clinical Psychologist. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
There are four specialised consultant led bereavement clinics providing follow up care for couples who have experienced pregnancy loss through miscarriage and stillbirth. Follow up with a consultant neonatologist is arranged on an individual basis for parents whose baby has died in the neonatal period.
For further information on bereavement services at The National Maternity Hospital, please visit: www.nmh.ie/support-services/bereavement
For supports and resources available in Ireland for bereaved parents and their families please visit: www.pregnancyandinfantloss.ie
Anam Cara also offers supports for women who have suffered miscarriages and baby loss. You can contact them on 085 2888 888