Baby Loss Hour Live Leeds
Last Saturday I attended Baby Loss Hour Live Leeds for an evening of conversation with other baby loss parents on my favourite topic of, you’ve guessed it, baby loss!
This live event has evolved from the weekly #babylosshourchat on twitter, a space for anyone affected by baby loss to share, learn and talk about life after loss created by Jess (The Legacy of Leo) one of Leo’s mums and an incredibly dedicated and passionate voice within the baby loss community. Before having Merryn I joined in with #babylosshour on Twitter quite regularly so I was looking forward to seeing how the live event compared; from start to finish it was fantastic.
The evening followed a similar format to the online #babylosshour with Jess facilitating discussion through questions to a parent panel, and everyone else in the room welcome to join in the conversation as much or little as they wished. Saturday’s topic was about legacies, something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot recently in the run up to Henry’s 2nd birthday next month. Just like #babylosshour online the conversation was thought provoking, sometimes deep, sometimes humorous and always so positive. Every member of the panel, and many of the audience, spoke so eloquently and passionately I found myself nodding along with a lot of what was being said, sometimes recognising my own thoughts and other times hearing new perspectives and ideas. This is something that always strikes me within the baby loss community: how different but also how similar we all are.
As bereaved parents we have such varied experiences (within the panel there were parents who’d experienced miscarriage, recurrent miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, neonatal and post-neonatal loss) yet despite these differences we often walk such similar paths of grief, face similar situations, feel the same emotions, have a similar drive to share and celebrate our children. The same is true of the different ways we go about creating legacies in our childrens’ names with some parents taking on massive endeavors like big fundraising events, starting charities or campaigning for change, while for others just the way they live their lives is their child’s legacy. The reasons behind why we create these legacies are the same though: because our children were here, are loved and our relationship with them continues through the legacy we create for them. The takeaway message from the night was that there is no single right or wrong way to build a legacy.
I’m really glad I went and it’s something I would love to go to again; an hour of discussion barely scratches the surface. By necessity most interaction within the baby loss community happens online which, as Jess put it, “can feel very quiet” so sitting in that room on Saturday surrounded by the buzz of conversation made the baby loss community feel a little more real. For me Baby Loss Hour Live was a few hours of feeling normal in the company of others whose normal is just as not-normal as my own and, as is often the case after baby-loss events, I came away from the evening feeling energised and positive about myself and what I do for Henry. Karl, one of the panelists on the evening, made the observation that ultimately “none of us chose to be here” and yet there we all were, all united in wanting to talk, to share and to create space for our children, all working at steadily chipping away at the silence that surrounds baby loss, and what a legacy that is for our missing children.