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Baby Loss Awareness Week: Our Angel Bears Co-Founder Suzanne Stockbridge Breaks Down the Taboo


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As Baby Loss Awareness Week unfolds (9-15 October), co-founder of Our Angel Bears, Suzanne Stockbridge, is opening up about her baby loss experience and how this trauma inspired her to create a non-profit organisation, that is successfully helping families across the UK.


Our Angels Bears is a non-profit small organisation founded by Suzanne Stockbridge and Victoria Fahey, which supports parents affected by baby loss trauma. “We both wanted to help families and give them a safe space where their babies could be lovingly remembered,” said Suzanne Stockbridge.


Suzanne Stockbridge’s story began with her first baby loss experience when she lost her first angel, Aimee, over 20 years ago. After entering a new relationship and deciding to build a family, she found herself in a trying and devastating situation. “I lost 8 babies in a row; recurrent miscarriages totally broke me. I was diagnosed with having raised Anticardiolipin Antibodies - this was causing me to lose my babies,” she said.


While the diagnosis aided treatment and made a successful pregnancy possible, it did require a lot of attention and caused a lot of stress around another possible miscarriage.


“My experiences of pregnancy loss have made me a very anxious mother. Throughout my rainbow baby girl’s pregnancy, I was so scared. Every twinge made me petrified that I would lose her. I had to have monthly then fortnightly scans towards the end of my pregnancy. They induced me, in the end, to make sure she was safe and well,” said the Our Angel Bears co-founder.


“She is now 16 months and I am still very overprotective of her. She is my absolute world, and I couldn't bear to be away from her,” shared the happy mother.


Suzanne Stockbridge’s story proves that while child loss and pregnancy loss represent a very traumatic experience, with the right support, parents, and mothers – especially – can find the courage in themselves to keep trying. “Society’s view on pregnancy loss has greatly improved since I had my first loss over twenty years ago, but there is still room for improvement. It is still a taboo subject for a lot of people unfortunately and they do not know what to say to parents who has suffered loss. So, they often say nothing, which is really sad for the parents as they just want their baby to be acknowledged.”


She noticed that whenever she experienced a miscarriage, the hospital would provide as little as a leaflet for the bereaved parents and that was simply not enough. Further emotional support was needed from hospitals so that parents could move on from their grievances in a healthy way. Sometimes, all it took was starting the conversation on early pregnancy loss – parents wanted to be heard and have their angels remembered in a personal and dignified way.


“We felt it was extremely important that all types of baby loss would be acknowledged. This would help families to process the pain of their losses and help them to heal emotionally. When I lost my babies, I left the hospital each time with just a leaflet or if I was lucky a scan photo. I had nothing to show for my baby and that was heart-breaking. This gave us the idea of the early pregnancy loss hospital packs, these little packs would be something families could have in memory of their babies,” said Suzanne Stockbridge.


The packs provided by Our Angles Bears are distributed from the page and consist of teddy bear keepsake packages, made by co-founder Victoria Fahey. Our Angles Bears also provides knitted items and cocoons to grieving families who want to dress their babies with dignity after they sadly passed. But, while the packages represent the core of the organisation, Our Angles Bears is also running pregnancy loss support groups in Bournemouth/Dorset, as well as being available 24/7 on their Facebook page for those who are just seeking someone to talk to. While minimal professional support can be offered by the group, the team at Our Angels Bears have studied grief and bereavement counselling and are always looking for ways to improve their services and expand.


“We plan to keep studying and trying to improve what we do to help as many families as we possibly can. We would love to be able to become a registered charity in the future - that is our dream. We are planning to expand our support group to other areas. Our team are also based in Liverpool and Scunthorpe, so we plan on holding groups in these areas as well, as soon as it is safe.,” added Suzanne Stockbridge.



For support and to access the Our Angel Bears services, you can access the organisation’s website or connect with the Our Angels Bears team on their Facebook page


She noticed that whenever she experienced a miscarriage, the hospital would provide as little as a leaflet for the bereaved parents and that was simply not enough. Further emotional support was needed from hospitals so that parents could move on from their grievances in a healthy way. Sometimes, all it took was starting the conversation on early pregnancy loss – parents wanted to be heard and have their angels remembered in a personal and dignified way.


Here are some other organisations you can turn to for support:

Sands

Held in Our Hearts

The Lily Mae Foundation


Words and Interview by Emilia Roman

Graphics by Frances Scott


#babylossawarnessweek #babyloss #daretobedifferent #daringtobedifferent


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