Baby Loss is a trauma which affects 17 families each day in the UK alone, worldwide the daily figure rises to 7,000.
I have spent the past three years crowdfunding, researching and filming a feature documentary, called Still Loved, which breaks the silence and uncovers the truth about how both men and women deal with the tragedy of stillbirth. The film is finally giving a voice to bereaved families and telling their stories in an unexpected, frank and at times surprisingly humorous way.
Still Loved is the first ever feature length documentary to uncover stillbirth and show how families survive the loss of a baby. We had our first preview screenings of Still Loved this month to an overwhelming response.
During the making of my previous short film Peekaboo, I built close relationships with many families that had lost babies, so had their trust from the outset of making this documentary and gained unprecedented access to their personal lives. I am passionate about telling these parents' stories and challenging the taboo of talking about stillbirth.
The challenge Still Loved faces is to engage audiences to watch a film about such a difficult subject matter and for this film to have a wider reach. In order to tackle this, we have chosen stories that offer hope, love and courage. Ultimately it's a story about the human spirit and resilience that everyone can relate to.
Still Loved also uncovers paternal bereavement. Dads often feel marginalized when a baby dies, most of the focus being on the mother. We are passionate about giving the fathers a voice in this film and they relish the opportunity to speak candidly about how they really feel.
Even in this day and age there is a conspiracy of silence surrounding the tragedy of stillbirth, in spite of so many families being affected this issue is not spoken about, in fact the Lancet's EiC Richard Horton calls it, " one of the most neglected, marginalised, stigmatised issues in global health today."
Stillbirth is perceived as a 'women's health' issue (not 'sexy' and because it's considered 'feminine' it gets marginalised). Stillbirth actually affects men, equally, (obviously, right?) but there are few support networks open to bereaved fathers
Thinking and talking about the death of a baby is frightening and so there is a 'don't look/don't touch' attitude towards it. This is problematic because it impedes research into the causes, effects and solutions to these deaths many of which are preventable.
October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and Thursday 15th October 2015 is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, where people light candles at 7pm world-wide, to create an international 'Wave of Light' in memory of their children.
We are fundraising with Just Giving to cover the cost of exhibiting this film in cinemas and community centres nationwide. You can support us here. Every single penny raised goes to getting this film on your screens. Thank you.
'Still Loved' is written and directed by Debbie Howard, produced by Polly Perkins and Colin Pons and edited by Joby Gee. It is made by Big Buddha Films and Studio of the North. You can find out more about the film on their website at www.stilllovedfilm.com. Twitter: @StillLovedDoc Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stillbirthdocumentaryUK