UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 17 OCTOBER 2016
A Birmingham academic will share her own experiences of stillbirth as part of a heart-breaking documentary which screens at Birmingham’s Electric Cinema this weekend (Sunday 23 October).
'Still Loved' follows the lives of six families over two years, and explores their reality as they come to terms with the loss of a baby.
Juliette Gaunt, from Solihull, tragically lost her son Ben in November 2012. Ben died at 42 weeks as a result of oxygen starvation after he became distressed during labour. The post-mortem showed that he had only died a few hours before he was born.
Juliette, who is a senior lecturer in speech and language therapy at Birmingham City University, decided to take part in the documentary to not only raise awareness around stillbirth but as a lasting tribute to Ben.
"I had to honour Ben in a tangible way which would give hope, support and comfort to others - caregivers and families with personal experiences.
"Talking about one of the most marginalised topics publicly allows others to take comfort and to understand the impact stillbirth has. It will also help to break the taboo which exists around stillbirth - we have to break the silence.
"15 babies per day die as a result of stillbirth or neonatal death, and yet there is very little education for families antenatally or in undergraduate training for this negative pregnancy outcome. I hope this documentary will help to change all this."
Directed and produced by award-winning filmmaker Debbie Howard, the film follows each of the families over a two year period, as they come to terms with their loss and try to rebuild their lives.
Lee Wright, senior lecturer in midwifery at Birmingham City University said: “Stillbirth is classed as any delivery over 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. Prior to that officially it would be listed as a miscarriage.
“Midwives play an important role in both the physical, emotional and psychological care of families who are blighted by this phenomenon. The causes of stillbirth are poorly understood and sometimes it’s difficult to give women a clear answer why this has affected them. But around half of all stillbirths are thought to be linked to malfunctions of the placenta. Infections and pre-existing diseases such as poorly controlled diabetes also increase women`s risk of suffering a stillbirth.
“I hope this film gives some comfort and support for the parents and families who are affected by this rarely discussed set of circumstances.”
Since Ben’s death in 2012, Juliette has completed a counselling skills qualification and now also works as a trustee for The Lily Mae Foundation who offer support to parents and families after a stillbirth or neonatal death.
‘Still Loved’ will be screened at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham on Sunday 23 October, at 2.30pm. The screening will be followed by a question and answer panel hosted by director Debbie Howard. Juliette will join the panel alongside another parent featured in the documentary, and also a baby loss support worker.