When pregnancy goes wrong
Although being pregnant and having a baby is safer now than ever
before, unfortunately some events are out of our control and are
sometimes pregnancy does not have the happy ending that we had
planned and hoped for. It is always a very sad and difficult time
when families are faced with unexpected loss in this way and leaves
parents feeling vulnerable, angry and confused. Saint Mary's has a
dedicated team of bereavement midwives able to help at this very
Having a baby should be an exciting and wonderful chapter in our
lives with dreams, expectations and plans for the future. For many
families that is the case but sadly in the UK 12,000 families a
year will experience the tragic loss of babies either due to
stillbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death. This leaves many
families and couples feeling vulnerable, angry, frustrated, alone,
confused and devastated. Here at Saint Mary's we care for, on
average, about 150 families a year who encounter this devastating
and life changing experience. Unfortunately, we can't take away the
pain of loss, but we do all we can to support families at this
We have recognised the huge impact that this can have on any
family, and are committed to providing care and support to all
families. Therefore we have two dedicated bereavement midwives
working on the Delivery Unit (Ward 64), the Neonatal Intensive Care
Bereavement Team and a very supportive midwifery and obstetric team
who are here to support you through this difficult time.
The bereavement midwives are Emma Lane and Victoria Holmes.
We have all had someone we know who has died and what helps us
through grieving is sharing special stories and memories about
them. For many families, it is important to create as many memories
and keepsakes as you can when your baby has died. Many of the
families we support often tell us how important it was to have
photographs and other keepsakes especially to share with friends,
family and children for many years to come.
Staff will therefore help to support you in making decisions
about mementoes that is right for you. We are lucky to have the
support from the 4Louis charity who kindly donates all
our memory boxes. We are mindful to have appropriate sized clothes,
Moses baskets, hats all of which are provided by local knitting
Families have found the following helpful:
- Naming the baby.
- Seeing and holding the baby.
- Washing and dressing your baby.
- Photographs and scan pictures.
- Keeping name bands and the cord clamp.
- Certificates of acknowledgement.
- Teddy bears.
- Holding a special blessing or ceremony.
Saint Mary's has a remembrance book on the Delivery Unit (Ward
64) for parents to write about their baby and many of our parents
have found this very helpful and even come back year after year to
write in the book.
The hospital Chaplaincy Service includes representatives from
all faiths and they are here to support families in any way that
they need. The team is committed to listening to parents and you
don't have to be religious to talk to a member of the team. Many
parents have found it useful to help them through this difficult
If you would like support from the chaplaincy you can contact
them on: (0161) 276 8792.
You will be invited back to the hospital for an appointment with
the consultant to go over the events of your pregnancy, receive
support and discuss results from investigations and post mortem
results if you have consented to one. Depending on the types of
investigations performed sometimes the appointments can be up to 12
weeks after admission to the hospital. Often these appointments are
a stressful and emotional time for you and for this reason a member
of the specialist bereavement team will attend these appointments
to give you extra support. This is a useful opportunity for you to
ask questions so make sure that you write down any questions you
have, as sometimes they may be forgotten during the consultation.
This may also be a time to think about the future, and make plans
for support in future pregnancies.
We hold coffee mornings for our bereaved families 3 or 4 times a
year. These give families the opportunity to talk to other parents
who understand what they are going through and to gain
support. The sessions also include craft making and times for
reflection. The coffee mornings are held in very informal and
comfortable setting and have proven to be so successful that many
of the families have continued these friendships away from the
Baby memorial service
In June every year the trust hold our baby memorial service,
parents are sent an invitation to attend this lovely service.
Parents of all faiths and none are welcome to the service and it is
often attended by several staff members.
Saint Mary's runs a specialist clinic to support women and their
families who have suffered stillbirths. You can find more
information about this here.
Saint Marys Bereavement Midwives
Emma Lane & Victoria Holmes
(0161) 701 5022
Email : Bereavement.firstname.lastname@example.org
Family support: (0161) 701 8700
Support in helping children
When a new baby is expected in a family, most children are
looking forward to the birth as much as everyone else. Having to
explain the loss of an unexpected baby brother or sister is an
incredibly hard thing to do. Here are some resources that might
help to support with this:
- The miscarriage association leaflet:
Talking to children about miscarriage
- We were going to have a baby, but we had an angel
instead by Pat Schwiebert.
- All shining in the spring by Siobhan
- Goodbye baby- Cameron's Story by Gillian
Fathers feel too
Many men feel helpless and unable to express their feelings.
Often this leads to them shutting down and not being able to
communicate. This can often lead to couples feeling cut off from
each other as it is hard to support each other when you need so
much support yourself. Many fathers cry too but often put their own
feelings to one side to support their partners. Here are some
helpful resources to help fathers cope with the loss of their
Further Support Resources
Stillbirth and neonatal death society (SANDS).
28 Portland Place
Helpline: 020 7436 5881.
We offer support when a baby dies before, during or after birth,
through meetings telephone contact and one to one befriending.
Contact: Sarah Brewerton Sarahbrewerton@hotmail.co.uk
0161 881 7790.
Child Bereavement Trust.
Children of Jannah