Baby Loss Awareness Week ran from 9-15 October this year and Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals held a number of events to mark the occasion.
On Sunday 11 October, the Trust held their Annual Baby Memorial Service. The service is for parents and families who have experienced the loss of a baby. The service is an annual Trust tradition which is usually held on-site allowing parents and families to come together and remember their babies. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year the service was held online and streamed via the Trust’s Facebook page.
Before the service, parents were invited to send in a remembrance butterfly in memory of their little ones which were displayed during the service and will remain on the Baby Remembrance Trees in both Chapels. If you would like to send in a butterfly to add to the display, you can do so by addressing your memento to the Chaplaincy Department at either Doncaster or Bassetlaw Hospital.
Simon Russell, Chaplaincy Team Leader, at the Trust, said: “Every year we welcome parents to come and quietly reflect on their experiences or share their special memories with others who have been through the loss of a baby. We were glad we were still able to provide a meaningful service, albeit it virtually, for these families during this challenging time when they may not be getting as much support for their own friends and family due to coronavirus restrictions. We hope that the service brings comfort to bereaved parents as they remember little ones who are sadly no longer with us.”
The service is still available to watch on the Trust’s website at dbth.nhs.uk.
As well as the service, both Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospital were lit pink and blue for one evening during this week, to help spread awareness about baby loss and help to reduce the stigma around talking about the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or death following birth.
To coincide with this, the Trust is also taking part in the Global Wave of Light, a world-wide lighting of a candle, on October 15 at 7pm. The Trust invites families to join them in lighting a candle in their window or sharing a photo of one on social media to remember babies who have died too soon.
Whilst all of these events were organised to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, the Trust works all year round to help parents through difficult times after the loss of a baby. The Trust has an Early Pregnancy Charity fund which provides memory boxes as keepsakes for couples that experience early pregnancy loss. Each box contains a ‘Never Forget Elephant’ which are lovingly made by a dedicated team of volunteers to bring comfort at a sad time.
Caron Hudson, Early Pregnancy Manager at the Trust, said: ‘We would like to say massive thank-you to everyone that has supported us especially all the volunteers who have helped, or are helping us produce the memory keepsake boxes, your kindness is very much appreciated’.
The Early Pregnancy teams at Bassetlaw and Doncaster have produced beautiful butterfly wall displays in remembrance of all pregnancy and baby losses, these can be seen in the main corridors outside General office at Bassetlaw Hospital and in the Women’s Hospital Reception at DRI. There is also a Memory Tree near the Antenatal Clinic at Doncaster where the names of babies can be added.
Carol Lee, Specialist Bereavement Support Midwife at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “Experiencing a loss during pregnancy, during birth or soon after is devastating. We hope that by taking part in Baby Loss Awareness week we have shown our support for families who have suffered the loss of a baby. Whilst this will never heal the pain of losing a little one I know that many of our families appreciate these small gestures which allow them to take some comfort during difficult times.”
The Trust works alongside other charities who provide support and information for families, these include SANDS, local charity JOEL, Remember My Baby Photography 4Lois (who provide Aching Arms Bears Memory Boxes for later pregnancy losses).