"Bereaved parents need more support" – EEAST Student Paramedic shares her story for World Mental Health Day

Date: 10 October 2019

Alice Wright, Student Paramedic - Cradle Charity

Today is World Mental Health Day. It is also Baby Loss Awareness Week. To help mark both, a student paramedic from East of England Ambulance Service shares her personal story around parent bereavement and her new charity; Cradle.

Alice Wright and her partner David had a missed miscarriage in 2017. During this time, Alice carried her baby for several weeks, unknowing that she had sadly passed away.

Alice said: “You get no signs or symptoms with this and you think your pregnancy is progressing normally, until your scan and you hear the words no one wants to hear: “your baby has no heartbeat”."

From this came Cradle.

Cradle is a newly founded, national charitable organisation run by a team of early pregnancy loss ambassadors, providing a range of baby loss support services to the NHS for bereaved parents.

It was founded by Louise Zeniou, who in October 2018, set up a Twitter account to raise awareness of Ectopic Pregnancy and offer peer support to anyone affected, after hers in 2015.

The account quickly grew to 1000 followers and became a safe space for other women, and anyone affected by ectopic pregnancy, to find each other and share their own experiences of baby loss.

Alice said: "It became very clear, very quickly, that women with experience of different types of early pregnancy, wanted to be become involved.

“Although the objective was, and will always be, to raise awareness of the danger of Ectopic Pregnancy, we found that there was a huge demand to provide a space, for anyone affected by every type of early pregnancy loss.

“Our long term objective is to raise funds and apply for grants to provide six sessions of fast track baby loss counselling for bereaved parents, following discharge from the NHS.

“We also want to:

“Donate comfort bags to bereaved parents during their stay in hospital. The bags are for mum and partner, or mum and attending companion, who may also benefit from the contents of the bags (each bag has two toothbrushes, plus lots of other practical and beautiful things. The most important thing in the bag Is our signposting leaflet).

“Provide an opportunity for any ambassador to link with their chosen NHS trust, and to deliver Cradle core services.

“Provide a platform for any ambassador to start any community projects, or support groups, under the Cradle brand, which can be linked with the NHS.

“Create a community where anyone, affected by pregnancy loss, can return to for support, either on social media or to join our community projects, including Cradle Football teams which are launching in 2019 (#cradlefootball) and plant therapy which is launching in 2020 (#cradlesunflowers).”

Cradle ambassadors

The ability of Cradle to provide a service to an NHS Trust, is based on the availability of an ambassador in the local area, who has chosen to support a particular Trust. Their ambassadors offer their experience as a bereaved parent, which they hope may be used for future training, policy review, and in the design of support services provided by the NHS.

Alice said: “I am the ambassador for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and since joining Cradle in early June, I have confirmed partnership with both Bedford (launched in October 2019) and Lister hospital (launching early 2020).

“I want my baby's death to mean something and I hope I get to pass on what I learnt to other parents, to make their bereavement a little less painful.”

Tara Moverley is the ambassador for Luton and Dunstable hospital (launching late 2019), as well as several London sites (launching in 2020).

Tara and her husband Will, had a miscarriage in 2013 and a ectopic in 2015. She was approached by a family member to join what was @MyEctopic, and so Tara joined Cradle, so that her loss wasn’t in vain and she could help others. She states that meeting the other bereaved mums in the group was an added bonus.

Tara said: "We are both here to be a friend, someone who knows what you’re going through, someone that can try and make your loss a little more bearable and can offer you signposting to counselling, if you so wish."

Our next focus is to spread the Cradle message, that EVERY PREGNANCY MATTERS.

Alice said: “Cradle is for you, for your families and for the babies that we have lost. Cradle is for future bereaved parents, that may be planning today for the arrival of their baby.

“For as long as there is baby loss, our hope is that there will be Cradle.”

You can also share your support on social media using the hashtags;

#WorldMentalHealthDay2019 and #BabyLossAwarenessWeek / #BLAW2019

Contact Alice for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire at:

Email: cradlealice2@gmail.com

Twitter: @cradle_alice

Facebook: Cradle: Beds & Herts

Contact Tara for London at:

Email: cradletara@gmail.com

Twitter: @CradleTara

  • Summary:

    Today is World Mental Health Day. It is also Baby Loss Awareness Week. To help mark both, a student paramedic from East of England Ambulance Service shares her personal story around parent bereavement and her new charity; Cradle.