'I had pushed everything away, hidden it' - More than 100 people light candles to mark loss of babies' lives
PUBLISHED: 15:46 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:58 19 October 2018
You may not be able to hold them in your arms, but you hold them in your hearts.
Those were the sentiments of Canon Andy Bryant at Norwich Cathedral on Thursday night, as more than 100 people gathered to remember babies who had not been given a chance at life.
The event, called Doorway of Hope, was organised by charity Time Norfolk, which supports those who have experienced baby loss however long ago, through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, termination, stillbirth as well as during the early months of life.
Hymns were sung and readings were given as families lit candles to remember their little ones who had died.
One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage or stillbirth
Last month a new law was announced, to come into force in 2020, which gave parents the right to two weeks bereavement leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
One mother, Diane Smith, sang with the Mulbarton Choir at the service but had also suffered a tragic loss herself.
Mrs Smith had two miscarriages in 2011 and 2012, and then a further late miscarriage in 2012 with daughter Hope.
She said: “We lost Hope at 21 and a half weeks so quite close to potentially surviving and after that we’ve had two little boys both born premature as well. I had perhaps pushed everything away, hidden it, not really dealt with it, before that time.”
After her sons were born she realised she was not coping with the previous losses, and went to Time Norfolk for help. She said: “For me there was a long period of time after I lost my babies, in particular Hope, until I went to Time Norfolk. They offered a space, they didn’t expect anything of me but helped me to work through the feeling and thoughts around baby loss.
“For me being here and speaking and singing today is about making it public enough to try and give people the opportunity and strength to find the help that they need.”
Time Norfolk fundraising and events co-ordinator Ruth Kettle added: “We know that a lot of people who have lost a baby, they don’t have the opportunity to say goodbye and this is a really special opportunity for people to come and light a candle, write a message in our book of remembrance, and really mark that life that they lost.”