A BALSALL Common mum has joined others to launch a £3.5million appeal for a bereavement centre at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
On Thursday (April 11) Amy Jackson was among those who unveiled artist impressions of the brand new, purpose built centre, where pregnancy and neonatal loss can be discussed.
The funds for the Woodland House will be raised by Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity.
Amy was 37 weeks pregnant when she noticed her baby, Lily-Mae, had reduced movement.
She went for a scan at Solihull Hospital, where her worst fears were confirmed – her little girl had sadly died.
Amy said: “One of the hardest things after Lily Mae was stillborn was being surrounded by families who were preparing for their happy endings – there were expectant mothers, crying newborns and balloons everywhere. We just wanted to spend time alone with Lily Mae and our family
“If we had something like Woodland House it would have changed our experience. We had amazing support but the environment wasn’t right. We only stayed one night in a side room at Solihull Hospital.
“With the right setting we could’ve had more time with Lily-Mae and more space to see family and friends and changed our experience.”
Since the death of her daughter in 2010 she alongside husband Ryan set up the Lily-Mae Foundation to support families who have tragically lost a baby.
Amy said: “Grief affects everyone differently and we have people at our support sessions who may have only been bereaved a few months ago, and those for whom it has been a few years.
“The important thing is, having somewhere like Woodland House will provide that continuity for those parents, when everything else seems out of control.
“It will be somewhere they can return to time and time again, in a non-clinical setting, which doesn’t hold any negative memories. Somewhere, they can always come back and remember their child.”
The hospital charity hopes the centre will be able to improve the lives of 2,000 women who experience loss at the hospital every year – whether that is through miscarriage, failed IVF, stillbirth or neonatal death.
Woodland House will be the first of its kind in a hospital setting and has been designed following patient feedback, which advocated the need for a standalone facility that was quiet and private, the charity claims.
Dr Fiona Reynolds, chief medical officer at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our bereaved families will never forget the time they spend with us and whilst we can never ease the heartbreak of losing a precious child, we can create an environment that recognises and honours their loss.
“Our plans for Woodland House mean that, in the future, women and couples facing the terrible shock and distress of loss will be able to spend time together as a family in a quiet, non-clinical space away from the hustle and bustle of the main hospital.
“They will be given all the privacy and support they need during one of the most upsetting and difficult personal experiences imaginable.”
The new centre will feature separate and private access and will boast bespoke counselling rooms, a private garden, a communal lounge area for support groups, and a family room with its own private access and garden.
It will also have a private mortuary, offering families the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones in comfort and serenity.
For more about the Woodland House Appeal or make a donation online at bwh.org.uk/woodland-house or to donate £5, text WOODLAND to 70970 (standard terms apply).