Rainbow babies – where to find support during the pandemic
Having a baby is a time of joy, excitement and anticipation, but for those who have experienced baby loss, these feelings can be tinged with worry, guilt and fear. It’s a strong, complex mix of emotions.
Today is the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020, and as we move towards what looks likely to be second wave of Coronavirus cases and local lockdowns, those expecting rainbow babies may be facing additional concerns and worries about their pregnancy, labour and delivery. Questions like “will my partner be able to attend the scans and appointments?” “Can my counselling continue?” “Will my partner be able to support me and my baby after he or she is born?” all add an extra layer of stress at a time when it can already feel overwhelming.
It’s important for everyone dealing with the after effects of baby loss to understand that there are resources out there to support you. The Baby Loss Awareness Alliance has a helpful list of charities and support https://babyloss-awareness.org/blaw-covid19/ that is a great place to start.
If you’re wondering what standard of care you can currently expect, the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) for pregnancy and baby loss now includes guidance from NHS England on the attendance of partners at appointments and scans during the pandemic. The NBCP recommends a tailored, local approach but seems focussed on facilitating attendance rather than discouraging it.
Parents and families who have suffered baby loss during the coronavirus pandemic have experienced additional difficulties and stress brought by social distancing and limited face to face support and advice. Bereavement support has been patchy across the country over the last 7 months, but the NBCP sets out the minimum level of care to expect during the Covid-19 pandemic, divided into three pillars:
- Compassionate care
- A supportive family-centred approach
- Acknowledgement of loss and of individual responses to grief and trauma
- Recognition of parenthood and the opportunity to make memories with your baby
- Excellent communication
- Empathetic communication
- Communications while wearing PPE
- Informed choice about birth options and options after death
- A robust review using the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool and with parental engagement
- Signposting on to physical, practical and psychological support
- Trained and supported staff
- NBCP materials and Sands learning resources shared with staff
- Psychological support for staff
No one expects services to be perfect but the NCBP is seeking to improve the support you may need.
Covid-19 poses a huge challenge across bereavement services but there are crucial support resources being provided in a different but accessible way, such as video calls or online forums.
In addition to the list of support organisations on the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance website, the following is a small selection of resources that may be helpful during Baby Loss Awareness Week #BLAW2020 and beyond:
- Sands have developed advice on pregnancy after loss during the pandemic
- The Baby Loss Awareness Alliance will be Tweeting this week using the hashtag #BLAWxCOVID19 with updates and advice throughout this important week.
Throughout October, Legacy of Leo is running its weekly baby loss support (#babylosshour) every Tuesday between 8pm and 9pm “Virtually Live” on Zoom. Tickets are free or you can make a donation if you wish.