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Content Warning: Pregnancy loss and baby death.
This week has been Baby Loss Awareness Week. A week aimed at breaking the silence surrounding pregnancy and baby loss and so helping those affected by the death of a baby to know that they are not alone.
One in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage. What’s more, every day in the UK, 14 babies die before, during, or soon after birth. We also now know that the coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in stillbirths during the first lockdown. If you haven’t experienced this kind of loss for yourself, you will undoubtedly know a family member or friend who has.
Baby Loss Awareness Week culminates tonight in a Global Wave of Light. At 7pm this evening, people are encouraged to light a candle and keep it burning for at least an hour in memory of all the babies who died too soon. The wave of light is a powerful act of acknowledgement that all the babies who have died are not forgotten, that they are loved, and that they matter. To those who have experienced the loss of a baby, it says, ‘you are not on your own.’
As the light of the world, Jesus comes to those suffering in the darkness of loss to dispel their darkness with his love. As his followers, he calls us to do the same; to go to those suffering the pain of loss with his life and light-giving message of love and hope. Whilst I hope that you will join me as I light a candle at 7pm this evening, can I also encourage you to think about how you might bring the light and love of Jesus to those you know who have experienced the death of a baby? How can you reach out to them to let them know you are thinking of them? Could you give them the opportunity to talk about their babies who died?
As a mother who has lost babies, when I light my candle this evening, I will, of course, be remembering the babies I carried but never held. But for me, as a follower of Jesus, lighting a candle is also a symbolic representation of the truth that Jesus is with me in the darkness of loss, that his light shines into my darkness, and that darkness does not and will not have the last word.
Katherine is a writer, speaker, and C-Me facilitator. Her background is in biomedical science with a PhD from the University of Oxford in HIV research. You can find her book, Walking Through Winter, and read her rich reflections, on her website.