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Empty arms, shattered dreams
by Asa Butcher
2007-10-15 09:23:20
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Here at Ovi magazine we are an emotional group of people, with acute awareness and sensitivity for many global issues. Our heightened conscience has inspired us to fight against the abuse of the environment, inexcusable intolerance, sickening dictatorships and unacceptable poverty, but there is one issue that will always be at the top of our agenda: children.

The daily death of 30,000 children from hunger and treatable diseases sickens us, but there are other issues closer to home, such as domestic violence, child abuse and paedophilia that also demand attention and action. However, my thoughts have turned toward a different issue concerning children because today, October 15th, is National Baby Loss Awareness Day in both the UK and US.

After Thanos and I were blessed with daughters our approach to the world significantly altered. Our daughters are not only the inspiration behind Ovi magazine's philosophy, but they also bring a great deal to our lives, so when I think of the friends and family that began down that road but tragically lost their baby during pregnancy I can only begin to imagine what the parents suffered emotionally, physically and psychologically.

When a friend suggested that I raise the profile of the Baby Loss Awareness group, especially for today, through Ovi it was without a second thought that I began researching the topic to write this. Having never suffered from this tragedy first-hand I was unsure about how to approach the subject, but when I read their slogan 'Empty arms, shattered dreams' and my daughter bounced into the room, well my emotions got the better of me.

I thought back to when my wife was pregnant with our daughter and how I couldn't help imagining how life would change. Your mind helplessly creates fantasies and you begin to imagine being a Daddy, but when my wife was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia a few weeks before the due date you are suddenly hit with reality and just how precarious the whole situation is. Neither of us had any control over what was happening and it was terrifying to know that the fate of both mother and baby was in the hands of the maternity unit.

Today pre-eclampsia is treatable and precautions can be taken to protect mother and baby, but it wasn't too long ago that this was not possible. It is thanks to medical research that they were safe and the same type of research continues to find ways to stop ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, Hughes Syndrome and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, among many others, but they all demand funding.

October 15th 2002 was the inaugural Baby Loss Awareness Day in the UK and was initiated by a group of parents inspired by Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. Since 2004 the campaign has been a more formal collaboration between the five organisations and every year has seen an increase in the number of events around the UK. Through the sale of blue and pink ribbon pins hand-made by bereaved parents, their families and friends several thousand pounds has been raised for UK organisations supporting bereaved parents.

One in five of the UK's 700,000 annual pregnancies end in miscarriage, which means an estimated 250,000 couples face a deeply distressing and isolating experience that can be overcome with emotional support from family, friends or organisations such as Babyloss, Antenatal Results and Choices, The Miscarriage Association and Sands. Each of these organisations offer support and their expertise to anybody affected by the loss of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or shortly afterwards.

Offer your support today by buying a ribbon.

Read a personal story.

UK - Babyloss-awareness.org

US - National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

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Emanuel Paparella2007-10-15 10:40:30
Fine, sensitive article disproving the notion that one ought only write on first-hand experiences. Not if one is endowed with imagination and a compassionate heart. On the other hand, there are those who experience much but reflect on little, and learn next to nothing from an abundance of activism and experiences. Indeed, praxis is not necessarily light and light and reason with an empty heart is equally sterile. Harmony is needed between the two.

Be that as it may, that powerful slogan "empty arms, shattered dreams" fittingly conveys the idea. I know it first hand in this case. An experience this that invariably leaves a psychic wound which never fully heals: I mean the sad experience of losing our first daughters due to a miscarriage in the seventh month of pregnancy. I use the plural form because they were twins. I still remember the pathos on my wife’s face as we returned home empty handed with our dreams shattered. A period of grieving followed mitigated only by the thought that we could have more children. In fact a year or so later my wife gave birth to the first of our three daughters. But the memory and the pain of losing those first twins has never left us.

It is well known that those women who wish to bring to fruition their pregnancy always call the fetus a baby, not so those who intend to abort their fetus. Food for thought there. Nevertheless, it is quite fitting that all those lost children, wanted or not wanted, be remembered and that those grieving experiences due to the loss of a baby before pregnancy or shortly thereafter, for whatever reasons, as painful as they are, be reflected upon, remembered and commemorated.

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