The death of a child around the time of birth is one of the most profoundly distressing events any parent will experience. These deaths are not uncommon, but are often hidden, along with the grief of mothers, fathers and families. Social stigma and negative attitudes are inextricably linked to underreporting of babies’ deaths in low- and middle-income countries. A failure to recognise the value of these lost lives leads to disenfranchised grief and diminished preventive efforts to reduce stillbirth and neonatal deaths. Acknowledging these deaths to bring them ‘out of the shadows’17 and compassionate, respectful care for parents suffering perinatal loss, irrespective of country or resources, are critical to addressing the totality of the burden of this public health problem.