Baby Loss Awareness & Women’s Wellbeing

This week, we are standing in unity with countless families and communities to recognise #BabyLossAwarenessWeek. It’s a time to come together, remember, reflect, and support those touched by the heartbreaking experience of losing a child.

Baby Loss Awareness Week is from the 9th – 15th of October and iBC will wear pink and blue throughout the week to show solidarity. We’re also setting up a “Stars of Remembrance ” wall at our services as a tribute, creating a space for us to remember the babies lost and allowing colleagues to show their support. On 15 October at 7.00pm, we will light a candle for the global wave of light event in support and remembrance.

In conjunction with Baby Loss Awareness Week, iBC have also announced a new employee benefits package supporting our colleagues’ overall health and well-being with a particular focus on women’s well-being. The iBC + benefits package is part of our ongoing efforts to nurture a compassionate and empathetic workspace.

We invite everyone to join the conversation and be a part of these meaningful causes this week. Let’s shine a light on the importance of understanding, support, and unity.

In line of our aims to raise awareness, we have heard from various iBC colleagues, who have shared their journeys with courage and grace, hoping to offer solace to others who have walked the same path.

Kerry’s Story – #BabyLossAwarenessWeek

It’s often the silent stories that hold the deepest emotions. Our colleague has courageously shared an experience that many hesitate to speak about: baby loss. She has shared her journey with courage and grace, hoping to offer solace to others who have walked the same path.

“18th March 2018, the day we woke up and knew something was wrong, our world instantly shattered. Those words “there’s no heartbeat” is something no parent wants to hear.

Then having to tell our two children we wouldn’t be coming home with a baby was heartbreaking. 

I felt isolated like we were the only ones going through it.

And then the financial worry, I didn’t qualify for maternity leave with my former employer, and how was I going to navigate time off on SSP? I only had 5 weeks off work.

From my experience, I want to support any women/parents going through loss and let them know, that their feelings are valid and to take each day as it comes. You won’t forget them, but time is a healer!”

Kerry Mannix – Your voice and dedication helped shape our women’s wellbeing initiative on pregnancy loss. Your involvement has made a real difference!

We’ve proudly signed the #miscarriageassociation pregnancy loss pledge, reinforcing our commitment to support during life’s tough moments.

Zainab’s Story  #DomesticAbuseAwareness

“No, I’m not a victim.

That’s what I said to myself when I came to understand the definition of what I experienced in my marriage was domestic abuse. But he didn’t hit me – words from almost every victim of non-physical domestic abuse.

This was undoubtedly one of my life’s most challenging chapters and was even more complicated when I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I don’t wear victimhood, that implies something was taken from me. I traded my trauma for wisdom.

The journey of healing isn’t linear; it wasn’t just about mending what’s broken; it was about rediscovering and redefining. This path demanded a new version of me, it was filled with moments of clarity and bouts of uncertainty, discovering deep self-awareness, courage and resilience, refining coping skills and finding meaning in pain.

I kept going no matter the pace with therapy and self-care, in discovering the new word of the range ‘no’, boundaries became invitations not limitations, and glimmers became hope. Because before self-love becomes a liberation it is first a burden. The anger that you were treated poorly and didn’t know to ask for better treatment, the grief for lost time, the isolation and loneliness rebuilding piece by piece the version of me as I stand today beyond surviving; unapologetically thriving.

Providing psychological safety, spotting the signs, and being understanding, supportive and flexible during these turbulent times can provide survivors stability and safety.”

Zainab Sarwar – Your voice and dedication helped shape our women’s wellbeing initiative on providing safety and protection from abuse. We appreciate your meaningful contribution!

We are committed to providing support for employees impacted by domestic abuse by spreading awareness of ways to spot the signs, sharing essential resources, signposting for professional help and providing a flexible, safe, supportive environment.

Sharni’s Story – #NationalFertilityAwareness

“In 2016, I was diagnosed with damaged fallopian tubes. Despite surgery, I was told I couldn’t conceive naturally. This broke me into a million pieces. I faced intense despair, but my husband’s support became my beacon of hope.

Following the diagnosis, I picked myself up, and we opted for IVF. However, just before egg collection at a Nottingham clinic, I was diagnosed with Hydrosalpinx and had to undergo surgery to remove both tubes.

In 2017, our NHS IVF round resulted in a chemical pregnancy. After switching clinics and funding the treatments ourselves, our 3rd attempt in 2018 was unsuccessful. Yet, by late 2018, our 4th attempt, fortune smiled upon us. We welcomed our son in April 2019. now 4 years old and started school this year, we are extremely proud. I am beyond blessed.

We always wanted a sibling for Ruben as he is such a social and kind boy. After an embryo transfer in November 2022, we experienced a heartbreaking loss at 6 ½ weeks, it wasn’t the Christmas we imagined. My husband was amazing and cannot thank him enough for been my absolute rock slash punching bag. We took a little break, but we didn’t want to give up, losing our baby just made us more determined for it to work for us again.

In March 2023, we tried another embryo transfer. Now, I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a girl, but it’s been a rollercoaster — from severe morning sickness to health complications. At 26 weeks, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, altering my birth plan. By 29 weeks, I was diagnosed with Prenatal depression.

My husband has been there every step of the way and after everything we are stronger than ever and I couldn’t imagine a better Daddy to our two beautiful babies and our angel baby. Not long till our Rainbow baby is in our arms.”

Sharni Penny – Your voice and dedication helped shape our women’s wellbeing initiative on the fertility journey. Thank you for making an impact!

iBC+ includes support for employees with flexible paid time off during the journey of fertility treatments which helps to prioritise well-being in the path to parenthood

Vanice’s Story – #MenopauseInTheWorkplacePledge

“Being a woman is amazing. I love being me. I am a happy go lucky person, I love life. 

However, over the last 6 months my life has changed dramatically having to deal with this newfound enemy that has attached itself to my body in the form of Menopause. 

I have often heard people talk about menopause and sometimes I have been in the midst of people who are going through it. I used to smile at them as they were fanning themselves in an ice-cold room. Over the last 6 months that smile has been wiped away from my face as I now face the same struggle. 

Going through the menopause is not easy. You have mood swings, you have pains, there even some days when you do not want to get up. There are also hot and cold flushes that constantly ravish your body. So, I am happy and grateful that iBC has now implemented this wellbeing for women who are going through all different issues in their body”

Vanice Ricketts – Your genuine care and dedication helped to shape our women’s well-being initiative on menopause. Your involvement has made a real difference!

We’ve proudly signed the menopause workplace pledge with #wellbeingofwomen, because we recognise menopause is an issue in the workplace and women need support

Shan’s Story – #MenstruationInTheWorkplace

Juggling your duties at work while managing period challenges is a quiet reality for many. Below is a spotlight of an employee’s experience of having open, safe conversations and the challenges of periods amidst work tasks.

“As an employee of IBC, I feel so privileged and appreciated to be a part of a company that cares about my wellbeing. Being a woman and dealing with menstruation, I have faced many challenges. Dealing with everyday tasks and duties, while competing with severe pain, hormones, and mood swings is exhausting. When I feel like curling up into a ball and forgetting everything that’s going on around me, I carry on but am expected not to complain. 

In previous times, I felt I could not open up about my emotions and pain. In IBC, I receive a wide range of emotional and wellbeing support from my colleagues I feel supported whenever I need it.”

Shan Reid – Your voice and dedication helped shape our women’s wellbeing initiative on free period products. Your influence has been truly valuable!

We’re offering free period products in the workplace! We believe in empowering women to prioritise their well-being. By providing these essentials, we aim to create an environment where every woman feels valued and supported.

These stories shared by our colleagues, reflecting their personal battles, have touched us deeply. Recognising the profound effects of life’s struggles we’re not just listening – we’re acting. Our commitment to foster change has been exemplified in the launch of the iBC+ benefits package. These have been crafted to offer support during such challenging times, and the positive embrace from our colleagues has been both heartfelt and deeply resonating with our values of empathy and support.