A special service of remembrance between Christmas and New Year aims to offer comfort and support to Island families who have lost babies to miscarriage or stillbirth.
The STAR (Still Treasured, Always Remembered) service on 28 December 2018 will give families time and space to remember the child or children they have lost and light a candle in their memory. It has been organised by staff at Noble’s Hospital who want to support families during what can be a difficult time of year for those who’ve lost loved ones.
All families who have suffered miscarriage or childbirth are warmly welcomed at the event in the hospital chapel at 2pm, however recent or long ago their loss. It is hoped bereaved families will find mutual support by joining others in setting aside time for the child or children they have lost, and for those who wish, sharing their experiences and feelings.
In the UK and the Isle of Man, one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage, while the figure for stillbirths in the UK is approximately one in 200. The Forget-me-Not suite at Noble’s is a dedicated bereavement facility which can be used by families for as long as they like, during or after their hospital stay.
Counsellors at Isle of Man Hospice offer psychological support to women who lose their babies in late pregnancy and help is also on offer for siblings, who are encouraged to talk through their feelings about having lost a younger brother or sister, in the Young Persons’ programme. Parents are invited to take some time out after their loss with a relaxing aromatherapy or massage session at the hospice.
Lead nurse for patient experience and one of the event’s organisers Wendy Spiers said:
‘Events such as STAR show that we care very much about families and stand by them in their loss. Every loss is one too many, and each one affects the family in a different way. We hope this opportunity to come together with others who’ve also suffered the loss of a much wanted child, will offer comfort and strength to all who attend.
’We run our Baby Loss Awareness Week each October but bereavement affects families all year round – and we know Christmas can be an occasion for triggering sad memories. So having an event at a time when the focus elsewhere is so much on celebration is another show of support for families. Everyone is welcome, whether their loss was last month, last year or a decade ago.’
The service aims to be both reflective and uplifting. It will begin with a welcome from the hospital chaplain Reverend Philp Freer and will include readings, poems and carols. The venue will be thoughtfully decorated to create an informal, warm and welcoming atmosphere. Families will be invited to light a candle in memory of their child, together creating a memorable scene which captures the loss shared by all present and highlights treasured memories which live on.