Growing up, you always want to be part of a gang. At primary school, it was the girls who had the sparkly shoes with the toy in the heel and by secondary school, you just wanted to be ‘normal’ enough to fit in. I wasn’t sporty, but I loved Guides, youth group and drama and at one time in my mid-teens, I was doing something six nights a week – much to the dismay of my poor dad who was my taxi service.But there’s one club as an adult that nobody would choose to join because it means you share the same tragic, life-changing experience that no one should have to face. I’m a member of the babyloss club.
It had been 7 years since my son had been born and I was delighted to be expecting his little sister in August last year. I’d had a normal, healthy pregnancy – passing all my tests and scans with flying colours, right up until 36 weeks when we’d checked in on her progress and booked in for an elective caesarean in a fortnight’s time. There she was on our scan; moving around and practicing for the outside world.However, sometime in the following 48 hours, something happened. Nobody knows what it was or why – but our healthy, virtually full-term baby girl’s heart stopped beating and our world came crashing down.
We named her Florence and were lucky to spend as much time with her as we wanted in the hospital’s dedicated bereavement suite where we were able to have photos, take hand and footprints and somehow begin to come to terms with the senseless loss of our baby.
When we’d been home a number of weeks and the fuss had died down, it was Footsteps Counselling & Care that was there to provide counselling. I’d been given their card by the bereavement midwife while we were in hospital because, incredibly, there is no first-line NHS-funded counselling support for people who were in our position. Our sessions became my ‘safe’ space where I could say everything I was feeling – however graphic, or unpleasant, or un-mumlike. My counsellor, an unpaid volunteer, was unshockable and, because she had met bereaved parents before, she understood.
In the run up to what would have been Florence’s 1st birthday on 3 August this year, we’ve decided to commemorate her day by setting up the ‘Footprints for Florence’ campaign with the aim of raising money for Footsteps Counselling & Care, SANDS and Cruse Bereavement – the three charities that have looked after us both so wonderfully in those dark days and beyond.
The idea is simple – we want to celebrate her life with ‘good deeds’ by asking people to create their ‘footprint’ on the world in her memory. It could be anything: carrying out a random act of kindness, planting some wild flowers, watching for shooting stars, eating cake or making a difference somehow. Then, if you can, make a donation which will automatically be split exactly three ways between the charities to help them continue their vital work.
We cannot change what happened to our little girl, but we can help make a difference in the world in her memory.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you to our guest blogger Rachael.
Please do support the Footprints For Florence campaign
If you have been affected by the loss of a baby for any reason or at any time, we can offer counselling support. Please get in touch on
Footsteps Counselling and Care provide free counselling support for anyone affected by pregnancy related issues, the loss of baby, infertility issues, childlessness, and post or prenatal depression.