Louise and Craig Caldwell from East Kilbride were joined by a number of politicians, as well as NHS midwifery staff, as the new baby-loss unit within University Hospital Wishaw’s Maternity Unit was officially opened.
Cheryl Clark, Chief Midwife NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We’re absolutely delighted. This is an incredible moment for families in Lanarkshire who find themselves grieving through the loss of their babies. This signals the opening of a bereavement suite where women and their families, or whoever they want with them, can come in to a quiet space that’s been designed with them in mind.
“It takes them away from a labour ward where there’s the joy of pregnancy, and balloons and cards and celebrations. It’s an area that’s nicely designed, it’s sound-proofed, there’s midwifery care and bereavement care and it’s designed for families. It helps with the trauma of birth-loss.”
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MSPs Monica Lennon and Clare Adamson were delighted to be there lending support, as were Dr Lisa Cameron MP and Marion Fellows MP – who have both lost babies themselves.
Lisa, who is MP for East Kilbride, recalled her own heartbreaking experiences at the hospital.
She said: “I remember through my own experience, I lost two babies in here, that part of the trauma was actually being around about people who were so joyous while you were feeling so devastated.
“Having this area, and there’s been so much thought put into it, to support people in their hour of need is amazing. I think it’s going to make a tremendous difference to families who go through this. It’s actually much more common than you think, after it happened to me I started speaking to people and realised some of my friends had the same experience. I think there is a taboo about speaking about baby-loss.
“The unit is fantastic and I’m so glad this is happening in Scotland, and for the people across Lanarkshire, and I hope it’s emulated right across the UK”
Marion, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, revealed her own experience, saying: “Baby-loss is such an important issue. It’s one of many taboos that people didn’t talk about for a long, long time, and has affected so many familes.
“I’ve been there myself, and had a miscarriage one Hogmanay and ended up in a bed in the old maternity unit in Bellshill next to a girl who’d just had a New Year baby.
So, I understand how awful it is at any stage of pregnancy and I know people who’ve lost babies at birth or just before.
“To have this safe space for people to begin to grieve and be counselled, is such a help when you have a bereavement, it’s absolutely amazing.
“The folk that have raised money for this unit deserve every bit of credit we can give them. It will make such a big difference to people. Baby-loss is awful but we need to talk about it and to understand what an impact it has.”
Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon, added: “I think this is a very important milestone for the baby-loss community and for those who campaigned, and especially Louise for what she’s done for families who will need support in the future.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Louise and her family for their courage and persistence, and thank the staff here at UHW for their compassion and hard work behind the scenes to support families through their bereavement journey.
“It adds to the trauma when you lose a baby and you have to be in the labour ward, where pregnancies are going well and other newborns are in the arms of their parents.
“These facilities will make it a little more bearable for families in the future. This is about giving dignity and time to families.”
Clare Adamson MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see the unit opening. We understand the impact baby-loss, at any time in pregnancy, can have on families. So to have that recognised and be able to create a relaxing safe space for people to come to terms with what’s happened to them is really important.”
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