When someone loses a baby, whether it be at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, the resulting grief and pain can be immense for both parents and the extended family.
An organisation called Saying Goodbye have launched the first national set of remembrance services, which will be held at Cathedrals and Minsters across the UK. The services aim to acknowledge and recognize the lives unlived and the lives cut short, and allow parents and family to grieve in a supportive environment.
It is estimated that 12,000,000 babies have been miscarried by women who are alive today in the UK, so the size and scale of loss is huge. Some women go through loss via the hospital system, while many more miscarry at home and have no contact with medical professionals, GP's, Health Visitors or Midwives, or with hospital chaplains. Often parents have no outlet for remembrance, as prior to 24-weeks babies are not recognised by the government, so often they have no funeral service. Even when a baby is lost through stillbirth or in early infancy, services are conducted so soon after the event people often attend in a fog of grief.
Saying Goodbye have found that women and men are still feeling the effects of the loss months, years and decades later, with people sharing stories of loss twenty or thirty years ago, where they are still caught in the grief cycle that dominates their lives. The best minds in the world acknowledge that there is a need to grieve and process that grief. These services are a fitting tribute to those lost but never forgotten lives.
Dr Sentamu said: “I have become an Ambassador of Saying Goodbye to show my support of the work they are doing, helping individuals, couples and families of all faiths (or no faith) overcome their loss and find support with others who know the pain. Exeter, Edinburgh, York, Birmingham, Cardiff, St Paul's and Bristol will all host services in 2012, with over 20 services planned for 2013, and plans for 2014 taking shape.
“Look within your congregations, communities and wider network, and invite people to attend. Also speak to other local churches and organizations, who may like to invite people to come along and find this much needed support”.
Saying Goodbye have a website www.sayinggoodbye.org which features details of services and locations, as well as details of people, groups and organizations involved. This includes groups such as the Miscarriage Association, Tommy’s, SANDS and Bliss to name a few. They can also be followed on twitter @SayinggoodbyeUK to get up to date tweets.