North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) is marking Baby Loss Awareness week by highlighting the support provided to women and families who are experiencing baby loss and the vital work of the specialist bereavement teams provide.

The Trust has two specialist bereavement midwives based at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital, the midwives offer support and practical advice to parents who find themselves in the heart-breaking position of losing their baby. 

And thanks to fundraising from families in Cumbria who have experienced baby loss, both sites now benefit from purpose made Bereavement suites, the Snowdrop suite at CIC and the Bluebell suite at WCH.  bluebell suite.jpg

Families from Cumbria who sadly experienced the loss of a baby raised £20,000 to provide a dedicated bereavement suite at the West Cumberland Hospital. They did this to improve the support that was available to other families going through the same difficult situation as they did.

One family member said:

“We raised money via a charity night, it was good to put the money towards something that was needed locally and having recently lost my baby boy I knew how much this would help other families. I knew having a bereavement suite would make a big difference for families. It can be difficult for mothers going to the main delivery suite when they have had such sad news, having somewhere private to go would really help at such a difficult time.”

Kerry Pape, Specialist Bereavement Midwife at WCH explains: 

 “Thanks to the funds raised by these local families, we are really proud that there is a bereavement suite at both the Cumberland Infirmary and at the West Cumberland Hospital which enables families to spend precious time with their babies following birth away from the main delivery suite.  The suite was designed with their needs in mind and we hope it provides some solace for parents and families during an incredibly difficult time.”

Kerry added: “We’re so grateful to the families who helped raise funds for the suite, it means a great deal to us that they would give their time to donate to such a worthy cause, especially after what they have been through.”

The bereavement suite at WCH cost around £30,000 mainly down to the kind donations of local families alongside a regional charity called ‘For Louis’ based in Sunderland donated the remaining £10,000.

Janet Riley is the matron for maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital she said:

“Prior to the refurbishment we had a small family room where families could spend time with their baby but could not stay overnight. The Bluebell suite is self-contained room away from the birthing rooms. It has en-suite facilities, a small kitchen area and a sofa bed where parents can spent as much time as they need with their baby.


“Families have feedback that they value the privacy and knowing that they can stay as long as they need. Women do not need to go through Labour ward to access the Bluebell suite there is as separate entrance. This is a great facility and we are really grateful to the families that raised so much money so that we can offer this valuable service.”

Kerry added: “Our hope in the near future is to establish a rainbow clinic for women and partners in subsequent pregnancies. A rainbow clinic is a specialist clinic that would offer parents who have experienced loss continuity of care and avoid them having to endure the distress of having to explain their previous loss to health professionals over and over again.”

This year marks the 20th year of Baby Loss Awareness Week in the UK. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss; the importance that bereavement support plays in the ongoing bereavement journey; and of the vital work that is needed to improve pregnancy outcomes.

Baby Loss Awareness Week culminates with the global “Wave of Light” on 15th October, which is a globally recognised event.

Everyone is invited to join other families across the world by lighting a candle at 7pm local time and leaving it burning for at least one hour to remember all babies that have died too soon.  

A remembrance service will be held at Wednesday 12th October at 6PM at the chapel, Richardson Street, Cemetery, Carlisle. A service will also take place in November in Whitehaven.

You can also join the virtual Wave of Light, take a photo of your candle and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #WaveOfLight


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