Pregnant Women and Newborn Babies

How do you cope when you see pregnant women or newborn babies? This is such a hard one for many of us who have lost a child, it’s something that comes up a lot on Sophie’s Angels and other loss groups that I am a member of.

Your Feelings

I would like to start by saying that your feelings are completely warranted. There is no ‘right or wrong’ way to feel in this situation and your feelings will probably vary depending on the time since your angel grew his or her wings, how close you are to the pregnant woman, as well as other factors like how the other children are treated, how long they have been trying for a baby, and their personal situation… I know that this is absolutely none of my business but when you have lost a child your perspective changes, and even though I may not say anything except ‘congratulations’, my feelings are warranted and important… and so are yours. I still find that I get envious of people who seem to fall pregnant very quickly and have an easy pregnancy… It doesn’t mean that I’m not happy for them… because I am! But I am still envious… and that’s ok!

How to cope with your emotions

This is different for everyone, and you need to do what is right for you. It can help to talk about this on groups like Sophie’s Angels as you can talk to people who understand the mix of emotions that you are feeling… without being judged. Some people (and I have done this on occasion) go into self-protection mode and try to ignore their own feelings and emotions; however, by doing so you can end up feeling ‘numb’; this can help in the short term, but when those emotions return (and they will) it is so much harder to deal with it. However you deal with your feelings around pregnant women and newborn babies is right for you, and as soon as you realise, and truly believe that the feelings are completely normal then it will become easier to cope with. It is ok to not be ok.

What can you do to help with these emotions

The first thing, and I can not stress this enough, is to realise that your emotions and feelings are completely valid and totally normal; you are only human and therefore can easily be triggered by something which hurts your feelings. These are some ideas which could help you to cope with seeing pregnant women and newborn babies:

  • Join a few support groups like Sophie’s Angels or SANDS. On these group you will find other grieving parent, grandparents etc, and talking about your feelings with people who understand can be really helpful
  • Cry, scream, shout and vent as much as you need to, because none of this is right or fair
  • Avoid (at least to begin with) triggering situations… I’m sure friends will understand if you can’t attend their baby shower etc
  • Talk to you doctor if you feel that you would benefit from bereavement counselling
  • Talk about your angel as much as you want

What other things have helped you to cope with this? Please feel free to leave a comment.

Butterfly Awards

Don’t forget to cast your votes!! If you’d like to vote for Sophie’s Angels (but there is no pressure!) then please feel free to use my email address

If you would like to nominate Sophie’s Angels for the support organisation or for the blogger award then please do. Also you can nominate me, any of the admin, or any other members in the group for any of the awards. It will ask for an email address, so please ask your nominee for their email address (or if you want to do it secretly then message me and I can get the email address for you!!!)

Thank you. and happy voting!!!


1.) Bereavement Worker
The Bereavement Worker award celebrates the work of people who provide some form of bereavement care outside of maternity services. This can include funeral directors, non-clinical hospital staff, chaplain and religious ministers, mortuary workers and bereavement counsellors.

2.) The Thank You Award
Anyone who has made an impact on a single person, a group of people, or the baby loss community in general.

3.) Most Valuable Contribution
People who has made a valuable contribution within the baby loss community to a cause. This can include any person or collective who has made a valuable contribution to the baby loss community. Individuals from support organisations can be nominated.

4.) Midwife of the Year
A midwife who has had an impact on parents at the time of loss or during subsequent pregnancies. They don’t necessarily have to have delivered their baby or held their hand throughout labour; it can also be (but is not limited to) a midwife who sat with them when they received bad news, one who visited at their home, bereavement midwives, one who looked after them in the hospital after birth, a midwife who cared for someone during a subsequent pregnancy, and so on.

5.) Author/Blogger International
Writers who have either experienced the death of their own baby, or those who write about the topic. They may have created one book or blog post which made a big impact on the reader or may be a prolific writer who has affected change within this community. Open to both Authors and Bloggers.

6.) Inspirational Mother
A mother who has lost a baby during pregnancy (at any gestation) or after birth before the age of 18 months. A mother who has inspired others. A mother who has had to deal with the loss of more than one baby, being ‘hit’ with the devastation multiple times and still stands. Survivors. A mother who has been through devastating periods during their life as well as losing their baby who shows courage, strength and determination to make it through the next day. A mother who has made a change or a difference in the baby loss community. A mother who has had an impact on the baby loss community, whether it be one person or one thousand people. Someone who has, despite her own grief, helped other people through their grief through the means of providing online support, personal support, friendship, guidance etc. A mother who, whilst grieving for their own baby, has gone on to create a safe haven for parents to turn, established an organisation or charity to offer support/keepsakes/books etc to other grieving families.

7.) Inspirational Father
A father who has lost a baby during pregnancy (at any gestation) or after birth before the age of 18 months. A father who has inspired others. A father who has had to deal with the loss of more than one baby, being ‘hit’ with the devastation multiple times and still stands. Survivors. A father who has been through devastating periods during their life as well as losing their baby who shows courage, strength and determination to make it through the next day. A father who has made a change or a difference in the baby loss community. A father who has inspired others. A father who has had an impact on the baby loss community, whether it be one person or one thousand people. Someone who has, despite his own grief, helped other people through their grief through the means of providing online support, personal support, friendship, guidance etc. A father who, whilst grieving for their own baby, has gone on to create a safe haven for parents to turn, established an organisation or charity to offer support/keepsakes/books etc to other grieving families.

8.) Awareness Advocate
An individual who has made an impact with their own story, a campaign or raised awareness about a particular issue. Someone who has developed a new product or policy that has had a positive, sizeable, impact. Someone who has successfully changed policy or procedure. Someone who has had their story or work produced in a way which has attracted large amounts of media attention.

9.) Best Hospital Bereavement Care
A team who provides support to parents and families after the loss of a baby/infant.

10.) Cherished Keepsake
An item or creator of an item that enables parents to honour their baby, remember their baby or create a special place for their baby. A service provided to enable a family/parents to create memories with their baby (e.g. remembrance photographers, remembrance castings, jewelry etc).

11.) Health Professional
Someone who works within a health setting who has had profound impact through helping a family through their loss. An individual (not a group of people) who has gone above and beyond in their work to support grieving families in their care. A health professional who has made a difference or made a change in the ‘baby loss community’. This may be a nurse who has guided a family when turning off their baby’s life support, a consultant who has guided parents through a bleak diagnosis, a sonographer who showed outstanding compassion, a student midwife who has had an impact on the baby loss community and/or puts time and effort in to making a change etc.

12.) UK Support Organisation
A U.K. based organisation set up to help parents and families who suffer the loss of a baby. Founder does not have to have experiences baby loss first-hand but needs to support those that have. Does not have to be an organisation that offers a material service: can include online support groups and forums. Their main ‘aim’ does not have to be to support people who lose a baby, but it does have to be a fundamental role within their work.

Austin’s Story and A Very Special Gift

Austin’s Story

Ashley, one of the members of Sophie’s Angels has very kindly offered to let me tell the story of her precious angel, her much loved and very sweet baby boy Austin. She was 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant when she found out that Austin has passed away and she says ‘The 24th of August 2017, was the day my world changed forever. At 41+2 we heard the words no parents ever want to hear. Our little boy had gone. Two days later Austin was born. Heartbroken doesn’t quite cover it, in fact, it doesn’t come close’.

Something that not many people consider, and it took me by surprise when it happened after Sophie passed, is that you still produce milk… because to your body… you have had a baby and therefore the milk begins to flow! I personally found this to be one of the hardest things, but Ashley has turned this into something positive ‘Throughout this horrific situation one overriding feeling was present, a lack of control. However, there was one thing I could control, what would happen to his milk. Like so many angel parents before me, I had the overwhelming urge to do-something, anything, to help others. So I refused the pill and began to pump’. Ashley is a nurse and breastfeeding supporter so she felt very strongly that she should be able to help other babies in need. She says ‘Leaders of my local breastfeeding support group were able to put me in touch with my nearest milk bank to begin the process. I learned that early milk is particularly important to the most vulnerable babies, those in special care, which meant that Austin’s milk could be lifesaving’.

Knowing that her milk was helping others gave her a great deal of comfort, and since Austin passed away she has started to help to support other people and she then explored the possibility of milk donation among angel parents. She says ‘I was lucky that owing to my past experience and being a member of a national breastfeeding support group I had excellent support. I was however, sad to learn that this is not true for everyone going through this unique situation. That really hit a nerve’.

Milk donation and the comfort it can give to Angel parents

As Ashley started to talk to grieving parents and bereavement professionals she noticed several things, these included:

  • Not being aware of milk donation.
  • Being given medication to prohibit lactation without any explanation and even in some cases consent, and this reinforcing their feelings of loss of control.
  • Professionals said it was difficult to have these conversations at such an emotional time
    The option not being discussed in a positive light, by family and professionals.
  • Professionals and friends/family not aware of how it can be a positive way of making and maintaining connection with baby, mothers report that ‘creating a legacy’ can be very helpful during the process of grieving.
  • Not knowing how to access information regarding milk donation/banking and accessing/loaning pumps.
  • Mothers have talked about not knowing how to, or, not wanting to access usual breastfeeding support owing to unique nature of their situation and discuss a feeling of ‘not fitting in’.
  • Pumping mothers describe lack of support relating specifically to exclusive pumping, feeling isolated during this time and discuss desperately wanting to seeking out others who have experienced similar for both practical and emotional support.
  • Mothers who were already pumping for babies in NICU/SCBU settings report support stopping when baby died and them not knowing how to manage either stopping pumping, or continuing to donate.
  • Mothers who do not wish to donate not having any information on how to manage milk coming in.

A Very Special Gift

A Very Special Gift was created in response to the research conducted by Ashley; she wants to increase awareness of donating ‘legacy milk’ & provide these special people the support they deserve.

If you could share this to spread the word about A Very Special Gift then that would be amazing, this is such a worthwhile and important cause for both angel parents and also parents with babies in NICU, for who donor mile is potentially lifesaving.

Feel free to contact them for more information; you can email, see their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter @legacymilkgift. If you have experience of milk donation after loss then they also have a closed Facebook group.

They are also currently fundraising so that they can produce a website and create more awareness, please don’t feel obliged to, but if you would like to donate then please click here.

How Did You Know That Something Was Wrong?

This is a question that came up in my radio interview yesterday, and it really got me thinking! How did I know that Sophie has passed away… because I knew before I got to the hospital; I was convinced that, although I had been there 3 times during that week for the same thing, I knew that on this occasion they wouldn’t find a heartbeat, I just knew that she had died.

I do strongly believe that I had a ‘gut’ feeling on the lead up to her death, and I also feel that women should be listened to much more if they feel there is a problem… it’s just an inbuilt feeling which is hard to explain; women are very in tune with their bodies and very often they just ‘know’.

On that particular morning, when the movements had stopped and I had a ‘heavy’ sensation in my belly, I ‘knew’, and I didn’t rush to the hospital as I couldn’t bare to have it confirmed. I tried my home doppler and all I heard was an empty silence, no blood rushing through the placenta, no heartbeat… nothing… just silence. And I just ‘knew’.

Paul was trying to remain positive and it just broke my heart, because I knew that in a few hours his world would come crashing down; the children had no idea that there was a problem and that shattered my heart as I knew that I would have to tell them that their much longed for sister had passed away. My parents and Paul’s parents were so looking forward to Sophie’s birth… and I knew how devastated they would be when we told them.

So, in answer to this question, I just ‘knew’, I didn’t want to be right but I knew I was. How did you know that something was wrong? Were there any signs or symptoms? Or was it just a ‘gut feeling’?


Petition and Media Attention Update

Hello Everyone

Thank you so much for all the support you have shown so far! I am overwhelmed but there is still a long way to go! Just thought that I would give you a quick update so that you all know what is happening…

As you know Sophie’s Story has been in the mirror twice which has really helped to push the petition, we have also been in the Kent Messenger Newspaper recently and had a very supportive letter from the House of Commons; I have been contacting people to try to gain more publicity and have now been invited to join the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss’ in The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, this is an amazing opportunity, and it means that our voices will be heard! Yesterday I had an interview with BBC Radio Kent which went really well too.

If you can then please share the link to the petition again! It would mean so very much to gain as much support as possible! Thank you… and don’t forget to ask others to share too!!!

Awareness: Please like the Sophie’s Angels – Raising Awareness Facebook page if you can.
Support: If you have been affected by stillbirth, miscarriage or infant death, then please feel free to join the Sophie’s Angels Support Group.

Thank you so much for your continued support


Sophie’s Angels and the Future

I am constantly trying to think of ways to support more people who are going through the loss of their child and raise awareness about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death. The Sophie’s Angels support group has become very successful, with many people making new friends and finding that connecting with other mums, dads, grandparents etc has helped them with their own grief. The Sophie’s Angels – Raising Awareness page has been amazing for raising awareness and breaking the taboo, and this blog is now being viewed all over the world which is just incredible.

The petition is going well… but it’s still very early days! However, the awareness it has raised concerning preventable stillbirths has been amazing! Sophie’s story and the petition have been on the Mirror Online twice, The Kent Messenger Newspaper, and tomorrow morning I have an interview with BBC Radio Kent. I have had a letter from the House of Commons in support of these changes. This wouldn’t be possible without so much support from friends, family, followers and other grieving families… so Thank you!

In the future I would really like to see Sophie’s Angels become a charity, and I am currently looking at ways to make that happen! I would ideally like the charity to concentrate on raising money for bereavement suites, cuddle cots, and memory boxes… not just for parents, but for siblings and grandparents too. I don’t feel that there’s enough support out there for siblings or grandparents.

So, exciting plans for the future! If you would like to sign and share the petition it would mean so much to many grieving families; and please feel free to join Sophie’s Angels if you have suffered a loss… it doesn’t matter how long ago that loss was.

Trying Again After Loss

Trying again after loss can be a very touchy subject, and can add to the taboo as many people around the couple try to avoid the subject as they are worried about upsetting them. When you do mention the possibility of trying again, everyone seems to have an opinion, and you can find yourself doing what you think others want and expect… rather than what you want for you and your family.

When is the right time to try again? Only you can answer this question and the answer will be different for everyone; it will depend on many factors including:

  • What gestation you were when you lost your angel?
  • Have you healed physically?
  • Did you need a caesarean section?
  • How do you and your partner feel about trying again?
  • Are there any genetic tests which need to be done first?

I have known people who try again straight away, and also people who have chosen to wait a while; whatever you choose has to be right for both you and your partner. There is no medical reason to wait if the doctors have cleared you physically, so the only thing that you need to worry about is how you will feel emotionally going into another pregnancy.

When we told people that we were going to try again we had a whole range of comments, it seemed like everyone had an opinion! Some were good…. And some were not so good! Ultimately, it is down to you and your partner and other people really need to either support you in your decision or keep their opinions to themselves!

After we were told that Sophie has passed away we were sent home for two days while awaiting the induction. This was probably the hardest part for me as I could feel that inside things had changed; my stomach was hard and heavy, Sophie was slumped to one side, at the bottom which made it very uncomfortable, and emotionally just knowing that she had passed away but was still inside me and frightened of what was to come was extremely difficult. Emotions can make you react in a way that some people can’t understand.

During our time at the hospital before we were sent home the doctor was discussing the possibility of trying again and at the time I was adamant that it wasn’t going to happen… EVER! Well, you can imagine Paul’s surprise when the following day I turned around to him and said ‘once Sophie is born I want to try again straight away’ he was very shocked by this and thought that I wasn’t thinking clearly… which I now know I wasn’t! My emotional state at the time was, as you can imagine, all over the place. I remember feeling very guilty for admitting that I wanted to try again so soon, but after speaking to the Midwife I realised that actually, those feelings, are very normal.

These are some of the questions I asked myself to decide when the time was right for me. However, this was after a stillbirth, when I had gone through labour and birth, my milk needed to dry up, and I needed time to heal physically and have the post mortem and all the genetic testing done; after our miscarriages we tried straight away… so these questions can be adapted depending on the gestation.

When is it right to try again?

This is something that is personal to each couple, and no one else should try to influence them in any way. I am hoping that this post will help to answer this question.

Are You Physically Prepared?

With the physical aspect of trying again it is best to be guided by what your doctor recommends. My doctor recommended waiting until after my 6-week postnatal check-up, but each doctor will have their own recommendations based on your own personal circumstances, the reason for your loss and the method of delivery. They may also recommend that you take vitamin supplements for a set period of time to replenish the stores which reduced during pregnancy.

Are You Emotionally Prepared?

Your doctor can assess your physical state, but your emotional state is just as, if not more important when trying after a loss. In all honesty, no one knows for certain how they will react when they conceive after a stillbirth, miscarriage or infant death; psychologically it can affect you for the rest of your life, and although you move forward, when you conceive these feelings may come rushing back. However, there are a few questions that you could ask yourself when preparing to try again:

  •  Have you had a chance to work through some of your grief?
  •  How would you cope if you were to experience fertility problems?
  •  Are you ready to cope with the stress of another pregnancy?

Talk about your feelings with your partner

Do you both feel the same? It’s important to discuss and listen to each other. I know Paul was shocked and overwhelmed by my eagerness to try again so soon. Women can sometimes become obsessive and carried away, while very often, for the man, it takes time to want to try again. So, you really need to listen to each other in order to agree on a course of action that you are both comfortable with.

Emotions while Trying Again

Trying to conceive can be torturous and frustrating… even for people who haven’t experienced a loss. Women can easily become obsessive as the months go on (charting, taking temperatures, buying ovulation predictor kits etc). Very often people lose sight of the intimacy and sex becomes robotic… this can make things much harder, not just to conceive, but also your desire to be together. For couples who have experienced a loss this can be even more challenging…. You want things to happen, but at the same time are scared of them happening. It is far better to just relax and let nature take its course; and you will then find that you enjoy the process rather than allowing your emotions to get in the way.

What Others Think

It is a fact that everybody will have their own opinions on whether or not you should try again. However, ultimately that is down to you and your partner. Until I decided to write a post about this there were very few people that knew we were trying again… mainly because I didn’t want, or need to hear their opinion! Of the people we have told, we have had a range of opinions… from the supportive ‘we will stand by whatever you decide’ to ‘we think it’s a complete mistake’ but ultimately it is our decision, and with the doctors promising that I will be closely monitored, I think we may regret it if we don’t ‘try’ once more.

How to Know When You’re Ready

This is a really hard one to answer! You will have days when you are obsessed about trying again and really want it to happen asap, and then you’ll have days when fear takes over and you are terrified about conceiving and losing again. These are both completely normal emotions. Most people who have lost a baby ‘just know’ when the time is right; it’s a gut instinct that takes over. However, I am under no illusion that pregnancy will never be the same again, I will worry about every single thing and will no longer be ‘relaxed’ once I hit the 12-week milestone.

Final and Most Important Question

Do the rewards outweigh the risks? This is a personal question that only the couple can answer! Once you feel that the answer is yes, then you are ready to try again

Letter from the House of Commons!

I have, today, received a letter (which I’ve posted below) from Helen Whately at the House of Commons; she is our MP and the letter is very encouraging! In the letter she states ‘I agree with you that we must raise as much awareness as possible about baby loss. Our stillbirth and neonatal death rates are not as good as they should be given that we have one of the most advanced healthcare systems I the world’.

She has also given me pointers on who I can contact next, and asked me to contact the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss’ as they are also campaigning to reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rate, this was set up by two MP’s who have also suffered loss. I will be contacting them tomorrow.

She then goes on to say ‘I have written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt to ask about scans and what assessment the Department of Health has made for routine scanning post 20 weeks’.

This is amazing, we still need a lot more signatures, but the awareness of the problem IS being raised, and recognised. This wouldn’t be possible without your support… So thank you xxx

To sign and share the petition please click here.

To Join Sophie’s Angels – Raising Awareness, please click here.



Sophie’s 2nd Birthday

In less than two months it will be your 2nd birthday, how is that even possible!? How has it been nearly two years since you were born? What can we do to make this year special?

It is just so hard to plan a birthday for someone who is no longer with us, and absolutely everybody seems to have an opinion on what we should do, and how the day should go! Some think that the day should be celebrated with family and friends, while others feel that it should be a quiet affair with just me, Paul and the boys.

It is easy in comparison to plan a birthday party or celebration for your living children; to plan a large gathering with lots of family and friends, playing pass the parcel and eating Peppa Pig birthday cake! But when your child isn’t here it can be so hard to plan. The things that I envisaged for her birthday parties can never happen… and I struggle with that thought.

Last year, as it was her first birthday, we celebrated with lots of family and friends; I made cupcakes and we all had ‘tea and cakes’ before going to visit Sophie at her resting place; we then watched the most beautiful dove release by Sophie’s forever bed, and finally we went for a delicious meal at an Italian restaurant. But this year things are different, it’s not the first birthday anymore, many people are not expecting me to plan something, and I’m finding it quite hard!

Paul and I have conflicting opinions which doesn’t help! He would like a quiet day, with just me and the boys; almost a day of mourning and reflection. I, on the other hand, would like family and friends to be involved, with cake, a nice meal, and maybe a balloon release; so we can celebrate and remember the joy that she brought us… no matter how brief.

So, we will need to find a compromise! Maybe we can see friends and family the day before her birthday, which will then leave her birthday free for just us! What did you do on your angels birthday? How do you choose the remember the day?


Family Life and Striking a Balance

I have recently been asked how I strike a balance between my family life and raising awareness for stillbirth; this is really hard to answer as it can be very tricky! It has been the cause of many disagreements between Paul and I, and I have had to adapt to fit in with my ever changing and sometimes demanding family!

The need to have Sophie remembered and recognised is more powerful than I ever imagined! I want her story to help others and I have huge plans for the future of Sophie’s Angels… but I know I need to take this one step at a time! The support group Sophie’s Angels is becoming very successful, and the Facebook Page is also successful… This makes me feel good and helps me to know that Sophie is helping people.

However, I have to strike a balance between Sophie’s Angels and my family life, and that is the part that i find very difficult at the moment! I have neglected my friends recently… sorry I will try to get to see you later this week! And I’m sure that I could do with planning my time better!

So in answer to this question… I’m not sure! I just seem to be able to fit it in, and I’m careful to not overstretch myself!!!