A MOTHER who lay in a coma while her premature baby died wants to encourage people to talk about the ‘taboo’ subject of baby loss.
Christine Bevington was 40-years-old when she fell pregnant with her third child. It was ‘a bit of a shock’ but she and partner Terry Alecock were excited at the news.
Then, in June last year, at 24 weeks, their baby became distressed and Christine went into premature labour.
Angel, as she was later named, was delivered by Caesarean section at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, and was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.
Christine, who had bled internally, fell into a coma and did not get chance to meet Angel before she died at just 14-hours-old.
“That’s my biggest regret,” said Chrstine, “It’s no-one’s fault, it’s just one of those sad things.”
Despite having a supportive and loving family around her, the grieving mother, from Anna Sewell, in Thetford, has felt lonely since Angel’s death and alienated by friends, some of whom have admitted crossing roads to avoid her.
“It was almost like my grief could somehow be contagious,” said Chrstine.
She remembers ‘breaking down’ during a grocery shop in December, after being overwhelmed by grief at the sight of an aisle marked ‘my first Christmas things’ and no-one asking if she was alright.
“If you know someone suffering a loss please talk to them, cross the road to give them a quick hug and say ‘I’m sorry’, it will mean so much,” she said, adding, “There’s nothing anyone can do to make it any better, it’s just acknowledgment of your suffering.”
Sunday marks the start of National Baby Loss Awareness Week, during which volunteers will host a number of events to help unite grieving parents and let them know that there is help available.
As Angel was due in October, the month has even more significance for Christine and her family, who are supporting the SANDS Why 17? appeal (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) which seeks to raise awareness that in the UK 17 babies a day are stillborn or die in the first four weeks of life.
The awareness week will be brought to an end on October 15, which is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, with a Wave of Light.
The idea is to light a candle at 7pm and let it burn for at least an hour in remembrance of all babies that have died during pregnancy and at, during or after birth.
Christine said: “The way that grief works, you can have two or three good days where you think I’m starting to feel I can cope and then a song or something, anything, makes it hard to function. It never goes away, you just learn to live with it – I’m always going to miss her.”
For more information on the events being organised, go to www.babyloss-awareness.org