Why it’s OK to talk about baby death  

Megan Nelson Hunter


The loss of a baby, whether during pregnancy, labour or after birth, is a tragedy and a time of distress for everyone involved, but sadly baby loss is not rare – and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals have produced a series of videos to support grieving parents in the best way possible.

Trust specialist bereavement nurse, Megan Murray, explained: “Most of the people I see come because no one talks about their baby. They have experienced pregnancy, all the physical and emotional changes, and yet when they lose the baby no one talks about it.”

“This is the one of main thing families want to talk about, they want to share their experience, they had time with their baby and they need to talk about it.

“People say they do not know how to help, but talking with the grieving family, talking about the baby, naming the baby, all of those things are so important,” Megan added. “If we don’t talk about what happened, it makes the couple feel so uncomfortable about mentioning their baby’s name.”

“Some families don’t get to talk about their baby, and the beautiful experience they had in such difficult circumstances. It can be so difficult so see a person you love and care about cry, so often loved-ones avoid the conversation.

“My role is to support these families and to allow them to talk where they have not been able to talk about what has happened to them.”

Megan’s job is to support families when they lose their baby. This can be from conception to up to 28 days old. Megan has been in post for many years and has helped hundreds of couples with their grief.

This year, as part of Baby Loss Week, from October 9 to 15, Megan has asked some of the families she has helped to open up and talk about their experiences so they can help others going through similar tragedies.

As part of this a mum, dad, grandma and sibling talk about what happened to them as well as messages from bereavement nurses and midwives at the Trust.

Mum, Laura Wilkinson, tells of the heart-wrenching decision she and her husband had to make to terminate their pregnancy.

“Grace had an anomaly in her brain which was a sever threat to life,” explained Laura. “After tests and meetings with neuro experts we made the hardest decision to end the pregnancy. We wanted the best for Grace and did not want her to suffer and we brought her into the world peacefully.”

Dad, Kevin Williams, said stillbirth had never even crossed his mind until it happened to him and his wife.

“It was hard for people to know what to say after we lost River,” he said. “We wanted to talk about it, we had had created a beautiful daughter, but a lot of people could not understand. Getting counselling was the best thing we did.”

Grandma, Karen Foden spoke about the devastation of watching her daughter go through multiple baby bereavements and the affect that had on her and her family.

“My daughter had five miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy. I found it hard as a mum not to be able to put everything right for my baby. I felt lost because I could not make everything ok.”

Megan Nelson Hunter is the 17-year-old younger sister of two siblings who both died.

“My brother and sister who died have always been part of my life and we always remember them. I was born exactly two years to the day after Lauren and I always celebrate her special day as well as my birthday.”

All these brave people have spoken about their loss to try to help others with their grief.

Baby Loss Awareness Week is from October 9 to 15 this year and aims to raise awareness about pregnancy and baby death in the UK.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals will be putting all the videos and other relevant information onto its website from October 9 and the information will be available for anyone needing help and support.

The page also contains information about the Rainbow Midwives who help families going through subsequent pregnancies after baby loss.

The link to our Baby Loss page is https://www.bfwh.nhs.uk/baby-loss/ and our bereavement services can be contacted on 01253 956877.

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