This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, a topic that has sadly affected a couple of our employees recently. We wanted to take the opportunity to raise awareness and particularly highlight the importance of talking. Huge thanks to Louise Kay, our business apprentice, who has bravely written this post…
Our wonderful sales executive, Mairead McAlpine, gave birth to her sweet baby boy, William Joseph Peter Evans, on 21st May 2020. Sadly, William was born sleeping and Mairead’s pregnancy became one of the many (1 in 4 will end in miscarriage or stillbirth) that end this way.
Earlier this year, I too found myself becoming part of this unfortunate and surprisingly common, statistic. A surprise pregnancy during lockdown, sadly ended in a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks with my baby only growing to six weeks in size.
Speaking with Mairead, we found a common thread in our grief – this subject is just not talked about enough. As with most grief and trauma, when it’s not talked about, silence can lead to shame and sometimes depression. We need to be allowed to grieve our babies as any other parents would, and talk openly about our feelings.
Mairead has seen first-hand the more severe problems that this silence and lack of awareness can lead to. When William was born, Mairead and her partner Harry, were fortunate enough to be supplied with a cool cot. A cool cot is a piece of medical equipment that creates a refrigerated cot and allows parents valuable time with their babies. When your child is born sleeping, this extra gift of time is so precious; it allows parents to create memories which will be held so dear. While Mairead and Harry were fortunate enough to be able to use this cot, the hospital only had one available and therefore another couple sadly had to go home and then return.
Mairead has set about raising awareness and money towards cuddle cots and cool cots. So far Mairead and Harry have managed to buy four cuddle cots for the UK based charity 4Louis who support anyone affected by miscarriage or stillbirth.
They have also raised enough for one cool cot for the charity Abigail’s Footsteps who provide “support and counselling for bereaved parents and families as well as specialist bereavement training for midwives and healthcare professionals”. In William’s name, the couple have even managed to raise enough to provide the bereavement suite where William was born, with a chair and some prints to make the room more comfortable and less clinical.
Mairead is now taking on her next challenge by fearlessly doing a Skydive 20 days before William’s first heavenly birthday next year. “For those of you that know me, the idea of a skydive absolutely petrified me but yet here I am. I’ve been to hell and back through losing our beautiful boy, how hard can a skydive be right? When I’m up there I’ll be close to my boy.”
This time funds will go towards Sands who support families through their darkest times, fund bereavement courses for professionals and raise awareness on the subject of stillbirth and neonatal deaths.We hope you will join us in supporting Mairead and this worthy course in any way you can, by donating here.
I am grateful to Rapid Clean for allowing myself and Mairead to share our stories in this post and I hope that it encourages more employers to allow staff to share their experience in an open, supportive way. Miscarriage and pregnancy loss are a terrible thing but shining a light on this subject can only be a good thing for many women and their families. If this subject has affected you, please find support and information at Sands or Miscarriage Association.