Losing a baby is one of the most heartbreaking things a parent can endure.
Yesterday, politicians were moved to tears in Parliament after MPs shared their stories of the pain of losing a child.
As part of Baby Loss Awareness Week, several politicians spoke about their experience and heartbreak of losing a child in order to encourage more to be done to help reduce the number of child deaths.
Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham and Deptford, gave a heartbreaking account of losing her ‘little angel’ Veronica after just five days, as the umbilical chord had been wrapped round her neck for 20 minutes.
Speaking to the other politicians she opened saying: ‘This is probably the hardest speech I have ever had to write and deliver’ as she explained that at just 16 years old, she was ‘treated like a kid, not a grieving mum’.
She added that the traumatic experiences has also prevented her having more children, saying: ‘I don’t have children now because I’ve lived with the fear of the same thing happening and I couldn’t do it twice.’
Visibly struggling, Vicky said that her little girl would be 23 years old had she survived and added that ‘the pain does get easier to deal with, but it never goes away.’
Vicky went on to describe the moment she decided to turn off her new baby’s life support machine. She said: ‘She was never able to cry, to smile, but I loved her and desperately wanted her. I got to hold her then for the first until her heart eventually stopped…I never wanted to let her go’.
The House of Commons was incredibly moved by Vicky’s tragic story, with a number of MPs wiping away tears during the debate.
But Vicky was not the only MP to share her story. Antionette Sandbach lost her five-day-old son in 2009, and said: ‘The sheer scale of child loss in the UK is an injustice and one that is suffered by so many families, year in, year out.’
It wasn’t just women who spoke about the loss of a child, as MP Will Quince urged for more support for fathers. Will’s son was diagnosed with the rare chromosone disorder Edwards’ syndrome at the 20 week scan, before passing away in the last moments of labour. Wednesday would have been his second birthday.
Will said: ‘I think about what he would have been like on his second birthday, I imagine a small boy running round our house causing havoc, winding up his sisters.
‘It’s not to be, but every single day you live with that grief. Fathers need that support too.’
Around 3,500 babies in the UK are stillborn each year, while another 2000 die with the first four weeks of life. Ministers are aiming to reduce the number of stillbirths and infant deaths by 20 per cent by 2020.