Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge showed her support for Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October) when she met bereaved parents and spoke to leading experts in pregnancy research, care and support during a visit to St Thomas’ Hospital.
HRH was given a tour of the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research site at Imperial College London’s Institute for Reproductive and Developmental Biology by its director, Prof Phillip Bennett.
During her visit she spent time talking to Sands bereavement specialist Clare Worgan, who provides training and support for healthcare professionals to help them give families the best possible care when the worst happens. And with Tommy’s midwife Amina Hatia, who offers expert information and advice to expectant parents and those going through loss via the charity’s Pregnancy Hub.
Clare Worgan spoke to the Duchess about her daughter Alice, who was stillborn on 13 September 2016; a day she described as “the best thing that ever happened to me and also the worst thing that ever happened to me”.
Clare also spoke to the Duchess about bereavement care and the impact of Covid19.
The Duchess understood the significance immediately, on the partners who were not able to attend scans and seemed very concerned. She asked a lot about bereavement support and seemed genuinely interested in bereavement care, she asked quite a few questions and said the lack of training and awareness amongst healthcare professionals was similar to the early years work she does with other organisations.
- Clare Worgan
The chief executives of both charities welcomed the visit and the opportunity to work together.
Baby Loss Awareness Week is a wonderful example of collaboration at its very best – with over 90 charities coming together in a very unique way for a very special week of remembrance.
In this spirit of collaboration, the visit of the Duchess of Cambridge to Imperial College provided a great opportunity for all of us at Sands to work together with colleagues at Tommy’s to raise awareness of the scale and the impact of pregnancy loss and baby death. There is no doubt that working together allows us all to make a real difference.
- Clea Harmer, Chief Executive at Sands
Baby loss is often dismissed as ‘one of those things’ and something that ‘wasn’t meant to be’. This fatalistic attitude contributes to a failure to bring about change. Baby loss is one of the most heart-breaking things any family can experience – and one that’s endured all too frequently, but often quietly, because of this persistent stigma in society.
Shrouding baby loss in secrecy and shame can lead to isolation for people already struggling with unimaginable grief, so this week is a crucial moment for everyone to come together in remembrance and know they are not alone. Breaking the silence is a vital step in supporting families, while our researchers continue working tirelessly to find ways of sparing others this heart-break and making pregnancy safer for all.
- Tommy’s chief executive Jane Brewin