11th October 2013, Friday
By TheCork.ie Health Correspondent
“This is the first time in 27 years that I have spoken my baby’s name in church, back then there was nothing. I couldn’t even talk about him and it broke my heart. Thank you so much.”
A mother refers to her baby’s death during the 2012 service of remembrance for those who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss organised by Cork University Maternity Hospital.
This year’s service will be held tonight Friday 11th October 2013, at 7pm in the Sacred Heart Church, Western Road, Cork .
Parents and families who have experienced the death of a baby, as a result of a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or infant death are welcome to attend. Now in its fifth year the service is a well-established annual event for parents and families in Munster. For some it is an occasion to mark a recent loss and for others it may have happened a long time ago when perhaps it was not formally commemorated at the time.
Feedback from those attending last years’ service of remembrance included the following comments:
“No one will ever know the pain in my heart, being here with other bereaved parents means so much, at least they understand.”
“When my little girl died I was angry and broken, the staff literally got me through and I’ll never forget them.”
Hospital Chaplain, Daniel Nuzum, a member of the pregnancy loss team that organises the service, said “The death of a baby before or after birth is a devastating experience for parents and family members. Our multi-denominational Service of Remembrance is an important part of our ongoing care and support when we as a hospital community gather with parents and families to remember your baby, to offer support and to comfort one-another during what is a very gentle and moving ceremony. During the service of readings and music there will be an opportunity to light a candle in memory of your baby, write an inscription in our Book of Remembrance and to spend some reflective time with others who share in your journey.”
According to Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, Consultant Obstetrician and lead clinician of the Pregnancy Loss services at CUMH “Pregnancy loss has considerable impact on parents, physically, emotionally and spiritually, altering their health and social wellbeing, and also carries implications for the woman’s long-term health and future pregnancies. Our annual Service of Remembrance is an important and supportive experience for parents and families on their journey of bereavement.”
The Service of Remembrance is one just one aspect of an entire pregnancy loss service provided at CUMH by clinicians, chaplains, bereavement midwives and social workers, with administrative support. A consultant led pregnancy loss clinic investigates the medical causes of pregnancy loss and provides information and support to parents who experience pregnancy loss. The focus is on addressing both the emotional and medical needs of bereaved families in a dedicated specialist setting. Counselling and all other emotional supports are also provided for families concerned.
Three years on for Marion Gabriel whose infant son Robbie was stillborn – the pain never goes away but “attending the Service of Remembrance annually gives me and my husband Mark an opportunity to remember Robbie and publicly mark and honour him in the presence of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. The counselling, medical and emotional support provided to me and my family by the Pregnancy Loss Team at Cork University Maternity Hospital has helped us tremendously on our journey since Robbie’s death.”
Following the service parents are invited to join with hospital staff and other parents for light refreshments in the adjoining parish centre.