Baby Loss Awareness week runs from October 9 to 15 every year and is an opportunity for parents, their families and friends to acknowledge and remember their precious babies who have died.
This year the week is highlighting the need for good bereavement care for everyone who has lost a baby before, during or after birth.
It’s something that we at Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith feel very strongly about. That no one should suffer the death of a baby or child alone. That pain beyond words needs support without limits.
Siân Brookes is our Neonatal Link Nurse and is at the forefront of working with local neonatal units. She provides help and support to women and babies, and their families, when a life-threatening condition is diagnosed during pregnancy or at birth.
“Every family is different and every set of circumstances is unique,” says Siân. “For instance, sometimes there are everyday things for parents to consider such as dealing with work or looking after brothers and sisters if a baby is seriously ill and moved to a hospital far from home.
“There are sometimes hugely difficult decisions for parents to make about end of life care for their baby. I can empower them to make a choice that is right for them and support them whether they would wish that to be in hospital, at home or at Hope House or Tŷ Gobaith.”
Ensuring that families are able to remember their babies is really important. Siân is able to help families by creating a special Memory Box containing a little teddy, footprints, and photos of a baby. Sometimes families are unable to open the box straight away, but knowing they can open it in the future brings some comfort.
Some families also choose bring their babies to Hope House or Tŷ Gobaith to use the Snowflake Room – a temperature controlled bedroom where families can say goodbye in their own time while supported by our nurses and counsellors. A chilled cuddle cot enables this to happen in the family’s own home too.
“I am really passionate that families should be given choice, and that every parent facing the loss of their baby is offered the same service wherever they live,” adds Siân.
Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith’s trained bereavement counsellors are able to support the family after the loss of a baby for as long as they find it helpful. And a Snowdrop Day is held every year where families can come together and remember their babies and celebrate their brief lives. The numbers of families attending grows every year.
“We have had some lovely feedback about the difference our service has made and that is really special,” says Siân.
“It is humbling to think that we can be with people at their very worst moment in their lives and help to make it even the slightest bit more bearable.”
Baby Loss Awareness Week is led by Sands in collaboration with more than 60 charities in the UK, including the children’s hospice charity Together for Short Lives of which Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith are members. You can find out more at www.babyloss-awareness.org.uk.
For care and support enquiries or for more information about Neonatal Support offered at Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith please contact our Care Team on 01691 671999.