Day three of Capture Your Grief (in memory of Freddie Leigh Bromley) and the subject title today is ‘Myths‘.
I wasn’t quite sure what to photograph for this subject initially and toyed with the idea of a list of common myths surrounding the sensitive issue of what to do and what not to do around someone who has lost a baby/infant. The one that kept popping up in my head was the fear of upsetting someone grieving by not mentioning the name of their baby/infant. The truth is that we want you to say their name over and over again as it keeps their memory alive.
We could hear Freddie’s name all day everyday because we don’t have the privilege of having his name on a birth or death certificate, just a stillbirth certificate, nor do we have the privilege of holding our baby in our arms and introducing them with their name, teaching them how to say and spell their own name, calling out to them when it’s time for tea or hearing their name announced by the vicar at their wedding.
Although this is still a very important myth to dispel my mind kept also drifting to the topic of educating other pregnant women on being more aware of the movement of their baby and the importance of monitoring this. When something so heartbreaking as a stillbirth happens you can’t help but question a lot of things including your actions. Did I do something wrong? Was it my fault? Did I miss something? What if I had done that? I could make myself go mad constantly throwing these questions about in my mind but I feel my role now is to help educate other women. I don’t mean panic them, just encourage them to be confident, trust their instincts, speak up and get heard when they are concerned.
Looking back at the last week or so of Freddie’s life I probably would say I did notice a decrease in his movement but had calmed myself down by thinking this was normal because I had heard that fetal movement can do this towards the end as there is less room for them and they reserve energy for the birth. I now wish I had been less self calming, not reassured myself with this and insisted on being monitored and having an ultrasound scan. Whether this would have saved Freddie’s life I do not know but since experiencing Freddie’s death I have done lots of research on stillbirth and learnt that a baby’s movement does in fact NOT slow down towards the end of pregnancy and babies can often be felt moving during labour and even birth!
A charity called ‘Count The Kicks‘ aims to empower expectant mums with knowledge and confidence throughout pregnancy and promote the fact that the movement of a baby indicates its well-being. By understanding their baby, women can be empowered to trust their instincts and ensure the healthy delivery of their baby. The charity has helped many mums to be work with their healthcare providers to promote a healthy outcome. Among some of their merchandise is a kick counter wristband which can be used to count each movement or sequence of movements. The mother to be wears the wristband and moves the plastic slider along the band and makes a note of each session to identify what is normal at this time for their baby. Each baby is different but any change in normal movement should be reported to their midwife.
I have recently purchased a few kick counter wristbands and I have chosen to photograph one of these for my myth challenge. I wish I had been given one whilst I was pregnant so I have taken it upon myself to spread the word by giving these wristbands to some of my pregnant friends to help empower them and most importantly save little lives.