As baby loss awareness week approaches for another year (9th – 15th October), it seemed a pertinent time to introduce myself. I’ve recently joined the team at SLOW as the Bereavement Support Services Manager and as with all members of our team, I’m part of a gang that no parent ever, ever wants to join – the gang where a child of ours has died.
My daughter Rosie was just 6 days old when my husband and I had to say goodbye. Never did I think my first cuddle with my newborn baby would be the last. I still remember it like it was yesterday, it was May 2006. Rosie was perfect in every way, she wasn’t much bigger than a barbie doll, she only weighed 585g (a bag of sugar to most people). I went in to very premature labour at 23 weeks and 3 days (full term is 40 weeks), I was told during my labour that she may not survive the birth. It was painful in so many ways. Rosie was born showing signs of life (at 23 weeks and 3 days, medical teams will only intervene if there are signs of life), she was born at a hospital that didn’t have the specialist care that such a premature baby needed. She was immediately taken from me and whisked to the scbu (special care baby unit) where she was worked on until she was stable enough to be transferred 1/2 hour down the A22 to the Trevor Mann baby unit in Brighton.
It felt surreal that only a few hours after giving birth I was in the car with my husband driving to another hospital without my baby with us.
We were told the severity of her health and her chances of survival were incredibly slim but we had hope, it’s all we had as well as an incredibly amazing and supportive neonatal care team looking after her – so much so she was nearly named Beata after the lead consultant who cared for her.
Sadly, Rosie was too little and too poorly to survive. She did give us hope for 6 days and she showed us how easy it is to love but also how precious life is. She was taken far too soon from us. Rosie now has two younger sisters who are 12 & 10 and a little brother who is just 7 weeks old at the time of writing. Rosie remains a big part of our lives and she is the reason I do the work I do today. We celebrate her birthday every year on the 26th April and we light a candle (#waveoflight) for her every year during baby loss awareness week.
I’m thankful for baby loss awareness week as it raises awareness of pregnancy and babyloss as well as driving improvements in policy, bereavement care and support for anyone affected by the death of a baby.
If you are a bereaved parent, please reach out to us at SLOW, we offer support sessions for bereaved parents of any aged child which are led by bereaved parents both in person and virtually via zoom.
Click here for dates of all our forthcoming groups.
Sending love and light to anyone that’s been affected by the loss of a child.
Need a fitness challenge? We’d love you to run and fundraise for SLOW.
We have a number of places for the Royal Park’s Half Marathon in London on 10th October 2021. The stunning 13.1 mile route takes in the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. Registration is free for each place with a minimum fundraising target or £450 per runner.
For more information about the Royal Parks Half click here.
Losing a child is a devastating experience and for many of us it was hard to find the right support at the right time. SLOW has been and is a lifeline for so many of us. SLOW has grown from Nic and Susie meeting round a kitchen table to the charity it is now.
We want hear from our members about their experiences of coming to our bereaved parent support groups and being part of SLOW, so we are working with Geena Saini and Millie Witcher, two students from the University of Hertfordshire.
Your feedback and views will help us understand how our support helps you, so we can make improvements to how we run our groups as well as plan our next steps as an organisation.
Millie and Geena will be running a number of 90-minute focus groups via Zoom and we want these groups to represent a range of views from long term members, newly joined, monthly or weekly members but also those who don’t attend anymore, all views are welcome.
And, if you’d prefer to share your views privately, they will also be holding a small number of telephone interviews.
They plan to record the sessions but please be assured that all views will be anonymised.
If you are interested in taking part in either the focus groups or the interviews, or if you would simply like to know more about the research, please contact Kelly Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 4th June. She’ll then be able to forward your details onto Millie and Geena who can provide you with further information.
Today we said a huge heartfelt thank you to Nic as she stands back from running the weekly Wednesday group after twelve years.
The fab four, Liz, Maria, Nic and Susie from the Wednesday group
Countless bereaved parents, myself included, are thankful for the time she has devoted to this thriving group, giving us the ‘space to be loved and heard’.
The SLOW Warriors thank you gift for Nic and her daughter Naomi
Don’t worry though she’ll still be working hard for SLOW – mentoring our new facilitator recruits (more about them and our new Monday group soon), running the monthly evening group and SLOWsibs as well as the countless other things she does behind the scenes to help SLOW bereaved parents.
Thank you Nic – we are all truly grateful to you and Susie for setting up SLOW and the support you have given us all over the years.
SLOW has places available for the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 11th October 2020. This stunning central London Half Marathon, takes in some of the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.
For more information on the Royal Parks Half Marathon click here.
If you want to run and fundraise for SLOW so that we can continue to support bereaved families, registration is completely free. All we ask for is a minimum fundraising target of £400 per runner. There’s loads of time to train so please do get in touch with Kelly at email@example.com if you’re up for a place. Please also feel free to share this with friends and family.