Sands, the UK's leading stillbirth charity, has published a new support book 'Where did I go Wrong?' - written by Sarah Speake, mother of Amelie who died aged 11 days.
In her book Sarah explains the rollercoaster of emotions that she and her husband, Martin, went through in coming to terms with the death of baby Amelie, who for some unknown reason had been starved of oxygen whilst still in the womb.
Incredibly, every day in the UK 17 babies are stillborn or die within their first month of life - this equates to almost 6,500 babies dying every year. This figure is 10 times more than that of babies who are lost to sudden infant death in the UK.
As Sarah explains, 'It was never my intention to share my story, but I started writing things down just two days after Amelie died as I was really scared I would forget the details of her life. The whole process has been incredibly cathartic as it has enabled me to explain emotions I couldn't articulate to others. I also wanted the book to illustrate the severity of my emotions to family and friends, all of whom were at a loss to truly understand how I felt or how they should behave, as there are no rules when it comes to the death of a child.'
Since the death of Amelie, Sarah is the first to agree her priorities have changed, 'Work-related problems and stresses used to get me down, and I spent time outside work worrying about them. Without doubt, Amelie changed how we view things. I joined Google when Amelie's younger brother Josh was six months old and, although I am as ambitious and passionate about my job as I was previously (more so since joining a company I love working for), I always leave the office at 5pm to pick up my son. Amelie may have only been with us for a short time but she taught me a lot.'
Since the death of Amelie, Sarah has become a Sands befriender helping others to come to terms with the loss of a child and has allowed Sands to use a photograph of her, Martin and Amelie (taken just before Amelie died in Sarah and Martin's arms) to raise awareness of their work. Neal Long, Director of Sands, says 'Where did I go wrong?' is part of a growing range of books, published by Sands, in which parents have had the courage to describe their own very personal and powerful experience of the loss of a baby. Sarah's book is a beautifully written, heart-rending record of the intense emotional journey she experiences following the death of her baby; a story which she hopes will offer some comfort and support to others who find themselves in a similar situation.'
'Where did I go wrong' is available on the Sands Website for Â£9.99.
Sands is a national charity, established by bereaved parents in 1981. Sands core aims are to: Support anyone affected by the death of a baby; To work in partnership with health professionals to improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved families; and To promote research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies' lives