There’s nothing more devastating than the loss of a child, whatever age, whatever stage of pregnancy it’s something that will stay with you and your partner for the rest of your lives.  Raising awareness and supporting families, Baby Loss Awareness Week (#babyloss), takes place annually from 9 to 15 October.

If baby loss has affected you, you’re not alone.  Devastatingly, each year thousands of babies die before, during or shortly after birth, shattering the lives of expectant parents, their families and their friends.  This week is an opportunity for to acknowledge and remember these precious babies and for people to talk openly about the subject of and raise awareness of baby loss.

The week ends with the international Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on Saturday 15 October.  Across the world, people are invited to take part in the global ‘Wave of Light’ (#waveoflight)  at 7pm local time to remember all the babies that have died during pregnancy, at, during or after birth by lighting a candle and leaving it burning for an hour. Images of the burning candles are shared on social media using the hashtag #waveoflight.

Additionally, throughout the week bereaved parents and their families will be sharing examples of something that someone said or did that helped them after their baby died via social media. As one bereaved mother explains:

“We lost our beautiful son Richard on 26th August 2015. He lived for a precious eleven hours. Our bereavement midwife was amazing. She organised photos, took prints and actually spoke to Richard whilst doing all these wonderful things. My consultant and midwives who cared for me through my pregnancy came to see Richard and said some comforting words. The compassion and care for Richard and all of us as a family will never be forgotten.”

Baby Loss Awareness Week Sands is co-ordinated by Sands on behalf of a number of baby loss charities united in their support for families who experience the death of a baby. Charites include  Sands, Aching Arms, Action on Pre-eclampsia, ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices), Bliss, Child Bereavement UK, CMV Action, The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, Group B Strep Support, ICP Support, Kicks Count, Life After Loss, The Lullaby Trust, Making Miracles, the Miscarriage Association, The Multiple Births Foundation, Petals, SANDS Lothians, The Scottish Cot Death Trust, SiMBA, Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association), Teddy’s Wish, Together for Short Lives and Tommy’s.

For more information, you can visit babyloss-awareness.org.