'We want people to say their names': Mums speak of 'stigma' on Baby Loss Awareness Week

Two women from Lancashire have told ITV News that the stigma surrounding baby loss and stillbirth has meant that people are too afraid to talk to them about the loss of their babies.

They have been speaking on what is Baby Loss Awareness Week. It takes place every year from 9 - 15 October and aims to raise awareness of baby loss in the UK.

Louisa Corrias' son Oscar was stillborn at 29 weeks. During a scan a few days earlier, doctors could not find a heartbeat. Her baby had died and Louisa was induced into labour.

Louisa said: "Giving birth and not hearing a cry...you hold your child and they're just still and heavy...it was so beautiful but horrific at the same time."

Louisa, her partner Adam and baby Oscar.

Louisa and her partner Adam spent a few days with baby Oscar at Royal Preston Hospital's bereavement centre, where they made precious memories with their little boy before his funeral.

But Louisa says the stigma around stillbirth meant that family and friends were afraid to talk about Oscar.

Sadly, Louisa's story isn't uncommon.

According to the neonatal and stillbirth charity Sands, around 14 babies die before, during or soon after birth every day in the UK. 

And stillbirths account for more than half of the deaths of infants under one year in the UK.

Rosie found out early in her pregnancy that her daughter's skull wasn't forming properly. She was diagnosed with Anencephaly and baby Veronica Joy died a few moments after she was born. 

Veronica Joy with her parents.

Royal Preston Hospital loaned the family a 'cuddle cot', or a cold cot, which preserves a baby's body for up to five days. 

It meant Rosie and her husband could take Veronica home so that her siblings could to spend time with her.

Rosie said: "It was such a special time for us. My four-year-old daughter wanted to put her in different outfits."

"Obviously there was a lot of anticipatory grief there, knowing that she wouldn't get to be a full part of our family on earth, but a lot of joy as well, knowing that we were doing everything we could for her."

Like Louisa, Rosie says the support she received from the hospital helped her cope with her loss and made her realise she wasn't alone.

She says she loves when people talk about Veronica, but the grief never goes away.

Bereavement midwife Claire Braithwaite supported Louisa and Rosey when their babies passed away.

She says reaching out to grieving parents can be a lifeline.

Nothing can take away the unimaginable pain of losing a baby, but it's hoped that opening conversations through Baby Loss Awareness Week can end the stigma and most importantly, keep the memory of little ones like Oscar and Veronica alive.

  • Lucy Meacock and Mike Hall spoke to dad Olly Monk from Salford and Clea Harmer from charity Sands.

It's two years ago that Olly and his wife Katie had their stillborn twin daughters Poppy and Dottie. Two little girls they want to make sure are always talked about and remembered. Now he and a group of other bereaved dads have formed a football team, called Angels United.

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