The service, which takes place on Sunday 9th October at 3pm, has been organised by Charlotte Driver, who is part of the bereavement team (along with the healing and wholeness team) at All Saints.
Charlotte has been part of the church family for 27 years, and her role in the bereavement team includes offering support to those who have lost loved ones:
During the pandemic Charlotte trained as a postnatal doula, which involves supporting women and families during their postnatal period. It was during this time she noticed how tough it could be for those grieving during lockdowns:
“I felt that women and families were being failed in the amount of support we could give them in the pandemic through baby loss, because we couldn’t go in and support them like we used to be able to. My own daughter suffered a miscarriage during the pandemic, and I couldn’t go and support her as she was in Bristol at the time.
“The kind of service we’re putting on at All Saints wasn’t possible, as you couldn’t go to church during lockdown. This is what made me put together this project, and our Vicar Mark (Brown) said yes immediately to it.”
The service itself will be led by Jo Hird, with Kate Cornwell as the speaker; both are chaplains at Sheffield Teaching Hospital.
Charlotte says the day is for those who have suffered from baby bereavement, but also others who have been affected in different ways:
“For some people baby loss triggers memories of a miscarriage; for some people it’s the fact they’ve never been able to have a baby; for some it’s fertility treatment that’s failed; for some people it’s the fact they couldn’t afford fertility treatment.
“I spoke to a lady recently in her 70s, and feels the loss of the fact that she never had children. She was thinking about coming to the service, and I said ‘yes, this is for you’. The service is all things for different people, and when you turn up you don’t have to announce why you’re there – that’s really important. It’s a place to just come and be.
“You might be the grandma; you might be the friend who supported someone through their baby loss; you might be someone who works with baby loss. The purpose of the service is to come and acknowledge however baby loss makes you feel.
“We’ve got a couple of readings in the service, and I’ve asked people to do the readings who I know understand the situation. They’ve gone away to think about it and to consider whether they feel strong enough to read, and they both said yes. I felt it was important they understood baby loss, as I felt it would be insensitive if someone did a reading about baby loss without understand what it means to the people there.”
Communities will mark Baby Loss Awareness Week across the country and a wave of light will take place on Saturday 15th October at 7pm, where people can light a candle a unite with bereaved families.
Charlotte says she wants people to know that they are not alone:
“My prayer is that as a church and community we reach out to people of all faiths and no faiths, and through our actions we show people their loss is really important to us; Jesus really cares about them and their feelings.
“I feel really strongly that each and every loss that people have had or experienced matters so much to the Lord, and it’s okay to come forward and say ‘I’m hurting’. Even if it was a long time ago, it’s okay to step forward and ask for help.
“The Lord will hear you and will heal you.”
For more information on support and events around baby loss, visit: Baby Loss Awareness Week – Let’s break the silence around baby loss (babyloss-awareness.org)
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted