Our Hope House sibling support team have won a national award for being 'the light in the darkness' for a local family after their baby died.

Mary and Brian helped to support nine year old Isobel when her parents discovered that her longed for baby brother was not likely to survive at birth.

Their help and support led a grateful Lauren to nominate them for the Mariposa Community Award, which is presented annually in recognition of incredible people who support others through baby loss.

Isobel’s mum Lauren explains: “I honestly believe Mary and Brian saved Isobel from years of anguish and pain in the future. It was such a blessing to us all as a family that they entered our lives.”

It was March 2022 when Lauren and her partner Paul were referred to hospital with concerns around their unborn son Freddie, and were given the devastating news that their baby was unlikely to survive.

“Whilst our whole world had been shattered, we were also so devastated that the  perfect little world we had created for our little girl Isobel and all the hopes and dreams she had from our pregnancy had also been rocked to its core,” remembers Lauren.

“We couldn’t begin to understand how to navigate this journey ourselves, let alone know how to support Isobel through it. The only way I can describe that time was that I felt we were drowning and the fears over Isobel and how this trauma would impact her only served to exacerbate the pain we felt.

“But then there was Mary and Brian…who entered our little home and became the lifeline we all needed. A light in the darkness that has been our world of late!”

Lauren says that Isobel adored Mary and Brian from the very first meeting. Their visits became a refuge for her away from stress of home life and allowed Lauren and Paul to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing someone could put Isobel first and take care of her emotional needs when they didn’t feel they could.

“When I was rushed into hospital, I felt safe and secure knowing that Brian and Mary were Isobel’s constant and would support her through the days ahead. The relief that provided us was immeasurable,” explains Lauren.

“Sadly, following a hard fought battle our journey did ultimately end in the death of our beautiful boy, Freddie. Yet, through it all we knew we had the most wonderful support network and that Isobel’s emotional needs would more than met with Brian and Mary there.

“Their funny, kind and loving manner has allowed us to see her smile and laugh even in the hardest times and the time spent with her has provided the most invaluable safe space where she can share feelings and emotions that she is too scared to share with us for fear of hurting us further.

“The strategies and ideas they shared with us have all worked amazingly to allow us all to open up and support each other on this journey and we feel better armed to face the trials and tribulations because of them. If in doubt, they are only a text away and so our challenges have never felt insurmountable.

“The days out and events with other children in similar circumstances has also been a blessing. Isobel has felt so isolated in school where none of her peers had experienced anything like this. Yet on every sibling outing, she has come out of her shell, returning home stating that she doesn’t feel so alone. She takes so much comfort in meeting other children like her.

“Paul and I equally look forward to their visits. They offer us advice and support for our parenting as much as they do for Isobel and, even in the worst times, we always laugh and smile when they are with us.

“At Freddie’s funeral and on every occasion we have had chance, we have spoken about the outstanding support and care we as a family have received from Hope House and from Mary and Brian in particular. They truly are the most special people and we are so very lucky they have come into our lives in the most awful of circumstances.

“Thank you will never be enough what they have done and for looking after our little girl and us and we hope that they will remain in our lives in some way for a long time to come.”

If you would like to find out more about any of the services that we provide to local children and families, from respite and end of life care, to sibling support and counselling, click here or call our Care Team on 01691 671999.