Baby loss: ‘People sharing stories is the biggest comfort’

Stillbirth is rarely spoken about. But insights from those who have navigated the heartbreaking experience can help parents come to terms with their grief.

A new website, Stillbirth Stories, which collects detailed interviews with mothers, fathers and clinicians, has been launched to coincide with Baby Loss Awareness Week.

It aims to nurture a conversation about a once-taboo subject. Here are extracts of some of those stories.

“There was a cold cot that I could put Jannah in. She could stay overnight. And that was really lovely – it was special.”

At 41 weeks, Rabia went into labour. But in hospital, she and David were told there was no heartbeat. Jannah was stillborn. The couple were able to stay with their baby for two days in the hospital’s bereavement suite.

David recalls the time they spent together as a family:

“I was with her for two days in the hospital – they were absolutely amazing, what they did. They had their own bereavement suite, so you [could have] your own time with the baby.

I never let Jannah be on her own at any moment. I wanted someone always with her – even though I knew she had gone. But I always felt that she had the right to be loved for those days – to be hugged and kissed and whatever, and not left alone. Like a baby.

“The bereavement suite had a double bed, so I could stay as well. It was like us three sleeping together. It was quite nice to have her with us as part of our family. We spent a lot of quality time with her [there]. We talked to her, made lots of videos, lots of photography, and tried to keep as much memory of her as [we] could. I don’t know if it’s odd or not, but I looked at every little part of her, right down to between her toes.

“I’ve got somewhere I can go, and I know she’s there. I can put flowers on her grave – but it’s not the same.”

Alexis was stillborn at term. It was 1963 and neither Marjorie nor her husband, Alex, were allowed to see, or hold, their baby. It would be another 50 years before they found out where she had been buried.

“I knew Alex had to go and register the baby. I must have said to him: ‘What are they going to do with her?’ And he just said: ‘Well, you know, they’re going to have her buried.’ We went to the hospital at one point and asked where she was, and they just said that she had been buried somewhere in Stockport, in one of the cemeteries.

“I’d started to have more children, and it was, you know, one day we will find her. Until the day came that we did go and look for her.

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