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Planting commemorative trees for 'Baby Loss Awareness Week'

Posted by Dan Krishan
Posting date:3/17/2021 3:30 PM
2019 was the first year within our ParentNet network that we started to talk about Baby Loss Awareness Week (taking place in October each year). Members of the network were invited to share their stories and experiences of loss. One included a woman who said that she no longer mentions her loss to her family as her grief wasn’t understood and was proud that we were able to provide a space where she could share and acknowledge her baby. There were responses from fathers too – as sadly there is often a lack of support, especially around miscarriage which is perceived as a loss to the mother. The network ran a series of discussions for members sharing information on how to talk about baby loss, with a particular focus on fathers.


In 2020, Baby Loss Awareness Week was acknowledged again, sharing information from the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance, which focused on loss and grief during the pandemic as well as different communities - LGBTQ+, Black Asian and Minority Ethnic. We also wanted to commemorate the lives of lost babies in a permanent and tangible way, recognising that some people would have their own memorials already, but that others may not, for whatever reason. People were invited to share the names of their babies, or if the baby had not been named, to give their own names.

Working with the Heart of England Forest in Warwickshire, a grouping of five silver birch trees were planted in February 2021 by the forest team on behalf of ParentNet, due to national lockdown restrictions. The names shared by mothers and fathers are on a plaque in the middle of the grouping, with a plaque for each individual tree saying ‘Atkins #BLAW2020’. As the trees grow, it will be clear they’re part of the same group.  

The silver birches, known as ‘whips’, work well in groups, can be planted close together unlike larger trees, and are a symbol of purity. They are also much faster growing than others such as oaks, meaning that our parents will be able to see a difference in the trees over the next few years.  The typical lifespan is 60-90 years, though some have been known to live up to 150 years.


Parents who took part in the commemoration are welcome to visit the forest, via What3Words location, to reflect and remember. ParentNet will be continuing this commemorative tree planting activity each year for Baby Loss Awareness Week. 
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