Swindon Sands is giving parents hope
A SUPPORT network for parents who have lost a child at birth is marking a special occasion.
Swindon Sands, a stillbirth and neonatal death charity, was set up in 2008. It opened a memorial garden in Kingsdown Crematorium in October 2011 and will commemorate that day with a service at 10.30am tomorrow.
Sands will also hold their annual charity ball at Alexandra House in Wroughton from 7pm tomorrow, an event at which they raised about £4,000 last year.
The charity performs an invaluable service, as Jayne Dowell, 35, of Pinehurst Road, can testify. Jayne lost her son, Alfie, when she was 28 weeks pregnant on March 8, 2012. She describes it as a harrowing experience.
“I woke up the day before and noticed I hadn’t felt him moving, but I carried on with my day,” she said. “You don’t really think it’s going to happen to you.
“I rang my sister-in-law and she said I should have some chocolate and a can of Coke (to wake him up), but all of a sudden I just knew.
“I didn’t want to consider it. I went in to hospital and they couldn’t feel a heartbeat.
“You don’t ever, ever get over it. You go into hospital and you plan to leave with a baby. Your life completely changes that day.”
Jayne began going to Sands in June 2012, three months after her loss. She has remained with them since, but was not aware of their existence in the immediate aftermath of Alfie’s death.
The majority of members are mothers who have also experienced loss of a similar kind, though some fathers do also take advantage of the support.
Jayne said she could only truly express her feelings with those who can relate to the level of pain and heartache associated with stillbirth and neonatal deaths.
“Unless you have been through that, you have no idea, and if you have somebody who understands it makes a big difference,” said Jayne.
Jayne’s eldest, Freya, three, arrived before the family lost Alfie, though Leo, now six months old, proved a greater strain on Jayne and her partner’s emotions in the aftermath of their loss. In June 2012 they were given the news Jayne was pregnant with Leo.
“On the day I was in hospital I was adamant I was not going to do that again,” she said.
“It did feel as though the family was missing somebody.
“Leo doesn’t replace Alfie, but he’s helped lots. Your arms feel empty and you need a baby to hold.”
For more about tomorrow’s events, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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