Women’s Hour interview for the LOLA Project

I’ve spent the best part of my working career pointing microphones at people, and asking them the questions. Last Friday the tables were turned, when I was interviewed for a feature on BBC Women’s Hour to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week.

A number of people in our family have suffered the tragedy of losing children. Lola, the daughter of my cousin Richard and his wife Sasha, was stillborn at 22 weeks in 2011. The lack of support with simple things prompted them to help others going through a similar experience. The had questions like: how should I exercise and heal after giving birth to a baby? How can I begin to deal with the emotional trauma of delivering and losing our daughter?

The Lola Project

The Lola Project is a website that provides all kinds of practical advice on how to navigate the world, when you have no baby to bring home. Sasha enlisted the help of cranial osteopaths, doulas, psychologists, yoga practitioners and hypnotherapists. While my yogic aunt Margaret demonstrated breathing techniques, my cousin Jo gave advice on tapping to relieve anxiety. My job was to film the experts so the footage could be put on the website and help people. Other members of the family gave their stories on how Lola had affected them. Many people helped make it happen.

So I found myself in my kitchen, with Sasha, Jo and a very lovely journalist from Women’s Hour. We dialled up Margaret on FaceTime at her pad in Provence and discussed next steps for the website, while the microphone recorded.  We then each explained our involvement with the Lola Project and why we felt compelled to help.

What you can do?

Of course, the real story is that of Lola, Sasha and Richard, and of many other people like them. Two things struck me about that emotional morning: that losses like this reverberate across families, not just in the nuclei of parents and child. Why then, do we not acknowledge these events? One in every 200 babies is stillborn in the UK every year, and one in five pregnancies are miscarried. There seems to be an assumption that we just don’t talk about it – and if you have another child after such a loss, well, you’re fine, you’ve got a baby now! The loss endures, and every lost milestone in the calendar can remind you of that loss. So please, if you know anyone who has gone through something similar, talk to them, support them, and guide them to the Lola Project.

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Our feature on Women’s Hour is due to broadcast Friday 12th October between 10 and 11am.