In light of Baby Loss Awareness Week, Wilsons has made a donation to Sands UK, the stillbirth and neonatel death charity. They work to support anyone in the UK affected by the death of a baby, improve the care received by bereaved parents and promote research to reduce the loss of babies' lives.
It is important that we raise as much awareness about this subject as possible. As such, we at Wilsons would like to share the account of one of our Director's and their own personal experience:
My son was born on the same day as the Zeebrugge ferry disaster. He would be 29 now. He arrived on his due date following a text book pregnancy. When I arrived at Epsom hospital in the early stages of labour, a student nurse listened for his heartbeat with an ear trumpet. Stupid girl I thought, but tried to be patient and still whilst she tried again. They then tried the monitor, and eventually said they would break my waters and put a clip on the baby's head. I did not know then, that the 'tell tale' meconium confirmed what they already knew.
Still I was concentrating on my labour, not worried, thinking they were simply faffing about. The words "I'm very sorry, there is no heart beat. Your baby has died", will always stay with me.
I felt so sorry for the poor midwife who had to tell me. Five hours later I was holding my 7lb 7oz son, my first child. They handed him to me, I touched his hand, his face, held his beautiful perfect body to me. I then touched his penis and I remember the exact words that went through my mind "you'll never do any damage!", it was an innocent, jokey, blokey thought, but my loss was of him, and my future grandchildren... and my future. This future ended with his death.
The events of those hours, days and weeks that followed are still as clear as if they were yesterday. Pain, disbelief and anguish that I can't give words to. The post mortem found no cause. He was perfect and healthy and his death had no explanation.
I would not change my three daughters that would never have been born if he had lived, given the subsequent birth intervals. They are everything to me. I don't think about baby Peter all the time, or even often, but he will always be my son, my future and my lost future. My daughters never knew him, but he is their brother.
Every year on his anniversary, 5th March, I remember him and also those who died on the Zeebrugge ferry disaster. When I see boys born in 1987 (the year of the great storm) achieving life events of starting school, leaving school, getting their first job, getting girlfriends, getting married or having their own children, I think back to my son's lost future. His lost opportunity of life. It is just so sad to grow and then bear a perfect, but dead child.
As a director of a fourth generation Epsom business, when people say 'it's funny how you Wilson women only breed girls', I smile knowingly and say nothing. Talk of dead babies is a conversation stopper and mums like me know the betrayal of silence.
I am writing this for all the other mums and dads and grand parents who always thought they would outlive their children. And I want to support 'National Baby Loss Awareness Week' and the bravery of Vicky Foxcroft MP who stood up in parliament this week to tell her story, which is why i'm telling mine.
Every year, the 9th - 15th October is Baby Loss Awareness Week and it is an opportunity for parents, their families and friends to acknowledge and remember their precious babies who have sadly passed away.
It is also an opportunity to banish the taboo around the subject and raise awareness of the emotional impact of pregnancy and infant loss which affects up to one in five families in the UK.
On Thursday (13th October), the subject was raised in the House of Commons where Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft bravely spoke of her own experience of the death of her baby daughter.
It is only through courageous acts, such as this, that people will begin to not feel ashamed of discussing such a distressing subject.