BBC News Article

I am privileged to be part of this story - I am a mother without a baby - beautifully written by Fiona Crack. It has made me cry - for her and for the other mums and for myself may be, but I also felt very proud of ‘us’. I didn’t meet the other women in the story , apart from Fiona, but I feel like we are connected and I feel inspired by them all. Grief floors us - utterly - the loss of a child feels like the whole world shifting ever so slightly from it’s axis - out of kilter- it never goes back to ‘normal’ for us - we just learn to live in the wonkey world. For a long time I felt weaker for it - but now, coming up to the 10 year anniversary of my sons birth (I struggle to call it his birthday) - I feel a unique strength and I feel like Rowan has given me a gift - a sense of perspective in the world and a greater appreciation for what is.


Gosh - all these thoughts and I’ve not even cleaned my teeth yet this morning!


Esme read the piece over breakfast and looked up at me and said ‘your an extraordinary woman’ quoting from the article - I smiled - I’ve never thought of myself as extraordinary- peculiar maybe but not extraordinary! Made me laugh.


A final thought before I go … we are making strides in baby bereavement care and in how society responds to stillbirth - but there is still not the right training out there to show care staff how best to support us - Gifts of Remembrance responds to that need - and reading these Womens stories I feel stronger than ever that this training needs to be accessed. It will help parents so so much and it’s just one day of training. Please spread the word x x

My son Rowan was stillborn 10 years ago today

Today - 24th October had my son lived, he would be 10 years old. I have just packed his triplet sisters off to school this morning with their birthday badges, their 'show and tell' presents and their lunch boxes filled with hidden glitter and extra treats. Later we will go to the trampoline park and eat a chocolate cake that is the size of their heads. I shared some photos on Facebook of my babies in the neonatal unit looking so frail and weak next to a picture taken of them this morning, Ava in her Zebra onesie complete with rainbow Mohican and Esme in her giraffe t-shirt -strong and vibrant and confident - with no trace of the trauma of their early start in this world. Yesterday my sister in law took some pictures of my son's grave where he is buried in Ireland beside his great grandparents. She tells me there is a lovely lavender plant beside the grave and a wind chime. I look to see if I have any photos of my son I can share on Facebook along with the pictures of my girls. Nope. I still feel the pang of having so little to share. After 10 years I'm guessing now that that never goes away. 
 
There are currently 3,000 babies stillborn each year in the UK - well over 60,000 parents have grieved for their stillborn baby since I held my little boy Rowan briefly in my arms. I wonder how many of them feel the same way as me? How many of them feel another layer off loss, the fact that they have so little to remember their baby. I bet you if I asked every one of them 'If you had your time with your baby again, would you do anything differently?' Would you have looked at them more closely, would you have spent more time with them? Would you have brought other family in to meet them? Would you have taken more photographs? They would all identify something that they wished they did. Something that would have helped somehow in the long run - something that would have brought them comfort or reassurance. 
 
So today I am launching #NoRegrets. I am asking that question to bereaved parents, on Instagram, Facebook and Linked In - they can either respond with simply 'I wish I had...' or they can share more specifically how they wished they had spent their time differently. Of course, we would all wish that our babies had lived, but the other layers of loss need to be understood. It needs to be understood so that those that care for us during our most fragile and vulnerable time, recognise that many of us need guidance and support regarding how we spend time and collect memories of our babies. Those memories have to sustain us for the rest of our lives.
 
'NoRegrets' is also the name of a new training course for those who care for bereaved families: midwives, neonatal staff and their students and support staff, medical photographers, mortuary staff, chaplains, doulas and funeral directors. It looks at how we can empower parents to collaborate in creating and capturing every significant and special moment during the time they spent with their baby and how to enrich parents experience so that every opportunity they may wish for whilst being with their child is fulfilled. The course is filled with parents stories, packed with researched evidence of good practice, guided by experienced bereavement experts and the award winning bereavement photographer Todd Hochberg. It is practical, current and can be immediately implemented. Available both online and as a workshop to individuals and groups. 
 
So I'm off to blow up balloons and decorate an obscenely chocolatey cake and will wonder how that mixes with bouncing up and down on a trampoline. And every now and again I'll think about my boy and wonder and wish. Bereaved parents, no matter how long ago our loss, we carry on, we might smile and we might laugh and we might be genuinely happy - but what we never ever do - is forget. You can help us make our memories rich and meaningful. Help us have no regrets with how we spent our time with our babies. 
 
For more information about how to participate, host or fund this practice changing course e mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Please do share this as widely as possible and ‘like’ our Facebook and Instagram pages Gifts of Remembrance.

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Guardian Article

A great article was published in The Guardian newspaper on Saturday 11th March telling Rachel's story and how Gifts of Remembrance started.  Please click here to read the article.

 

MMB Conference

Had a brilliant day in London yesterday at the Maternity Midwifery & Baby Conference. 

 

To watch Rachel's presentation please click here.

 

                                          

 

To watch all the presentations through the day please click here