Parliamentary debate on Maternity Unit bereavement care

Did you see Cheshire MP Antoinette Sandbach addressing Parliament this week?  Speaking with tears rolling down her face she recounted the death of her 5 day old son and the lack of support available at this traumatic time.

Antoinette and MP Will Quince have opened a debate in parliament requesting the need for Bereavement care services in all Maternity Units. Having both suffered the loss of a child they spoke of their experience.

I had an opportunity to read a copy of the debate, Antoinette and Will spoke emotionality to the House of Commons, both having had very different experiences at their time of need.

Will and his wife were cared for by Colchester General Hospital in their dedicated Rosemary Suite, it is heartbreaking to read his account of events, of them knowing their son would be stillborn and praising the sensitivity and care given by Colchester Hospital. Having gone through this experience Will assumed every Maternity Unit had a bereavement suite, he was shocked to discover this was not true, and in fact in some cases the treatment of parents had been traumatic.

In Antoinette’s case there was no support and only a chance leaflet led to her receiving counselling from The Alder Centre, they say:
“It is important to slow down the decision making, to give parents the space in which to make informed decisions, it is vital to have that talking support with someone who can say to you it is alright, take your time.”

Antoinette cannot praise them enough for their care and support, but this service should be available in every Maternity Unit at time of need.

Fifteen babies die a day, and there are five deaths a week due to sudden infant death syndrome. That figure has been the same for the past 20 years.

Bliss outlines that 41% of neonatal units nationally say that parents have no access to a trained medical health worker, with 30% of neonatal units saying that parents have no access to any psychological support at all.

As the Government made a commitment to put Mental Health Services on an equal footing to physical health MP’s Antoinette and Will urge the Health Minister to follow The British Association of Perinatal Medicine advice that psychological support is available for parents who suffer a perinatal, stillbirth or infant death.

They have opened the debate, let’s see what happens.

If you’ve been affected by infant death you can find support here

 Sands  Lullaby Trust  Tommy’s


Support after the loss of a Child

As a blogger I read a lot of blogs to see what people write about, and  have been amazed and inspired by the variety of subjects chosen. The most emotional and heart-rending are the ones relating to the loss of a child.

When I met Mary from The Hearty Life  I was privileged to hear her share how she coped with life after the stillbirth of her baby Poppy.  Focusing on family and the roller coaster of parenting their two children, Mary and husband Nathan try to make the most of life whilst forever remembering Poppy.  It was this that led to the idea of Poppy’s Gift. Mary felt having a little set of your own hand knitted baby things was a comfort at this terribly sad time, and now they provide handmade hats, cardigans and blankets, to keep the babies born sleeping cosy.

If you know an organisation who would benefit from Poppy’s Gift please let Mary know.

For anyone affected by the loss of a child, support is available.

The Child Death Helpline is for anyone affected by the death of a child of any age, from pre-birth to adult, however recently or long ago. The helpline is staffed by volunteers, they are all bereaved parents who are trained and supported by professional staff.  It is a listening service that offers emotional support, an opportunity to talk in confidence to someone who has also experienced the death of a child.

Open everyday of the year at the following times:

Monday to Sunday                  19.00 to 22.00

Monday, Thursday, Friday    10.00 to 13.00

Tuesday, Wednesday              10.00 to  16.00

It is a freephone number      0800 282 986

freephone for mobiles           0808 800 6019  

I felt it important to share this information, even if it helps just one person.

Dash for Dad with Child Bereavement Uk

Once a month I write about a Charity for a magazine, I thought this one should go on my blog too.

Besides raising awareness, one of the best things about writing a Charity spot for me is meeting the people.

At Child Bereavement Uk I met some lovely warm & welcoming professionals ready to open their doors to support bereaved children & their families.

When a child experiences the death of someone important to them lives can be shattered. The new centre at Runcorn offers free support & information to bereaved children, young people (aged 0-25) and their families within the locality & surrounding areas covering Cheshire.  Offering a range of services from face to face support individually or as a family, there is also an option for telephone support if you are unable to attend the centre.

There are groups for families to get together, children age 4-12 can meet other bereaved children with their adult carers and express their feelings through play & creative activities in facilitated groups.

Child Bereavement Uk also run a range of One Day workshops for professionals & volunteers, Grief & Bereavement in Schools is one that is close to my heart, having worked in a Primary School and being aware of the issues surrounding child bereavement.

With any charity fundraising & communication are a major part of the organisation.          If you’re looking to do something different on Father’s day join the:


Fun Run on the Sunday 21st June.

Venues are Phoenix Park, Runcorn, Cheshire or West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire.

It looks to be a great morning out for the family. A fab fundraiser with lots of stalls, face painting & an inflatable football pitch and of course Anna & Elsa will be there, as well as the 1km or 2km adult & children fun run.

Volunteers will be on hand to help organise the day, they are a big part of the organisation. Provided with significant training they work together as part of a team in the family support programme or in office based work.

If you would like more information on any of the services available, to volunteer, or to join the Dash for Dad fun run please contact the centre for more information.

Tel              0800 02 888 40

Twitter      @cbukhelp


Violets in Bloom Children’s Memorial Garden


Is there anything worse for a parent than the death of a child. I have seen first hand the struggle of a parent to cope after such tragedy, my husband’s daughter died in a road accident in 1993.

Finding a way to carry on while grieving shows itself in different ways, for my husband it was a change of career, he took his experience and turned it into a positive and now works with bereaved families as a Counsellor.

When Kerry and Ivan Mornington lost their 5 year old daughter Violet to the condition HLH they wanted to turn their grief into something positive and find a way to support other bereaved parents.

The idea of a children’s memorial garden came about when looking at memorials for Violet, there didn’t really seem to be anywhere in their area where parents could go to reflect, to seek solace and peace as they think about their little angels.

Kerry and Ivan said, ‘We really wanted to see something that would truly represent children and babies and be a lasting legacy in memory of Violet.’

Fradley Crematorium near where the family lives seemed the ideal the location for the Memorial garden and fundraising has now begun.

The starting project will cost up to £40,000 and will allow families who have lost their children to use the garden to remember them with their own space or plaque.

Kerry said the experience of trying to find the right place to remember Violet – a tomboy, who refused to wear pink and died wearing her favourite Spider-Man pyjamas – was always going to be difficult, as she was such a unique spirit.

“It is not like any other grief, It is like being lost at sea and the waves keep smashing you against rocks. When a child dies there are no positives to come from it. There is no reasoning ‘why?’ – it shouldn’t happen. It is against the natural order of things.” 

The plan is to make it a reality as a soon as possible with the hope of that the garden will open in summer 2015. Please join us in our journey and help us along the way. Violets in bloom will be a wonderful legacy for the beautiful child and In turn will create a sanctuary of remembrance for so many families.

After the garden completion the charity aims to continue to support families who have lost a child and assist with the funding of funerals and memorials.

For more information visit the website                                                                                         You can also donate by texting VINB14 plus the amount to 70070


 Child death helpline Support for anyone affected by the death of a child