A WHILE back, I was chatting to someone about her daughters, when she suddenly told me that she had a son too, who had died shortly after birth.
‘I called him Malcolm,’ she said, and then fell silent, her eyes filled with tears.
At the time of our conversation, the lady was 98 years old. Baby Malcolm had died almost 70 years previously, but she never stopped loving him or grieving for him.
The pain of his loss was just as real, even after all those years.
Sadly, baby loss is not as rare as we might think. Every day in the UK, around 15 babies die before, during or shortly after birth.
Many of us will have been personally affected ourselves, or know someone who has. And yet, too often it seems like a taboo subject.
Grieving parents can feel isolated; family and friends might not know what to say or how to help.
This can be especially true after a miscarriage, when there might be no photos, no funeral, no formal way of saying goodbye.
Since 2002, several charities have worked together to create Baby Loss Awareness Week, a national event to help grieving families commemorate the lives of their babies and to support one another, and to raise awareness and promote better care for those affected.
The week finishes on Sunday with a global Wave of Light, in which candles are lit for all the babies who have died.
Here at St John’s Church on Forton Road, we will be holding a special Wave of Light service on Sunday evening at 6.30pm.
There will be a chance to remember your baby by name, write a prayer or wish and light a candle as part of the Wave of Light.
It’s for anyone who has lost a child during pregnancy, birth or infancy, no matter how recently or long ago. Families, friends and supporters are also very welcome. I do hope you will join us.
St John’s Church is in Forton Road, Gosport. Go to fortonchurch.org.uk