The loss of a child is a devastating experience for families, especially during pregnancy, soon afterwards, or in infancy, and so the midwives of SSAFA’s Community Health Care Team are joining with countless families to remember these children during Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021 (October 9-15).
Based in Cyprus, the Community Health Care Team provides support such as health visiting for UK families posted abroad, and is a key service of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Brunei, Kenya, Canada, and other locations where British military families are posted.
The focus of Baby Loss Awareness Week is to raise understanding about pregnancy and baby loss, and to effect improvements in policy, bereavement care, and support to bereaved parents.
It also gives them and their families the chance to celebrate the lives of babies who have died, remembering them with pink and blue ribbons, lighting up buildings in the same colours, and culminating in the global “Wave of Light”.
With details of this year’s events, Carol Hasell of SSAFA’s Midwifery Team, said:
“We’re arranging events in Dhekelia, Ayios Nikolaos (Ay Nik), Akrotiri, and Episkopi for people to come together and share experiences and show support for those who have experienced the loss of a baby, whether or not they have been directly affected themselves.
“In Eastern Sovereign Base Area, a memorial tree will be planted at St Patrick’s Church in Ay Nik as a permanent place for parents to visit and remember their lost ones. Last year this was done at St Barnabas’s Church in Dhekelia, and during Baby Loss Awareness Week, ribbons and messages can be placed on the trees in both remembrance gardens.”
Carol added that to support bereaved parents and commemorate babies’ lives, the team is also arranging services in the memorial gardens of the various chapels and churches within the garrisons.
“The padres are supporting services where people can light a candle and take place in the Global Wave of Light, because by lighting the candles together, it is an opportunity to unite across Cyprus and globally in remembering those babies born – and gone – too soon.”
Wave of Light services will be held at St Patrick’s Church, Ay Nik on Thursday, October 14 at 7pm, Episkopi Garrison Church, Thursday October 14 at 7pm, and at St Barnabas’s Church, Dhekelia Friday, October 15 at 6.45pm. The service for Akrotiri is subject to confirmation.
Jan Dowlen Gilliland, SSAFA Director Community Healthcare Operations, added:
“We are proud to be supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week and providing an opportunity for our community to remember pregnancy and babies who have sadly been lost. Our SSAFA Midwives are here to support anyone affected by loss of a pregnancy or baby, whenever this may have happened.”
If you have been affected by the loss of a pregnancy or baby, and would like support then you can talk to the SSAFA Midwifery Team:
ESBA (+357) 2474 4922
Episkopi (+357) 2596 3255
Akrotiri (+357) 2527 6553
For more information about Baby Loss Awareness Week, visit babyloss-awareness.org.