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‘Saying Goodbye: You Don’t Need To Have Lost To Care’

Many of us will have prayed today for those who feel sad at Christmas. I want you to imagine for a moment the exquisite mixture of joy and pain felt by Christians who prepare to celebrate the birth of the Christ child, than which nothing can be more joyous, while feeling acute pain for the loss of their own child or children.

Loss at any stage is traumatic and early loss is often not acknowledged or discussed. You may have heard of the organisation ‘Saying Goodbye‘ .  For the first time, a series of services of  remembrance for those who have suffered miscarriage, early-term loss or early infant loss have been held since September 2012. The movement has already spread to the United States, where similar services are taking place.

Professor Lord Winston, a Saying Goodbye Ambassador commented:

“Miscarriage is often something that’s not acknowledged or talked about in the UK, and people certainly do not appreciate how utterly distressing it is for women, and indeed their extended families. It’s a loss of a precious life, and whether the loss happens in early or late pregnancy it’s traumatic, and a natural grief process must be allowed to happen. Sadly a lot of doctors and nurses see miscarriage on such a regular basis, the right support and follow up advice is just not offered, which results in the vast amount of women never coming to terms with losing their baby, and sadly they are not able to move forward with their lives as they become stuck in a cycle of grief. I am delighted to be an ambassador for a marvellous new organisation called ‘Saying Goodbye’. Following losing five babies themselves, Zoe and Andrew Clark-Coates, the directors of CCEM, decided to launch the first national set of commemorative services, which will allow families to come together to mourn their babies. I hope that these services will be a turning point in the nation, and through this new organisation miscarriage will become more widely understood, and families will know that their pain and loss has been heard and recognized.”





The services will provide an opportunity to join with others who have experienced a loss, and together we will say: our children did exist, and they may have only been on this earth for days, weeks or months, but they were truly loved, and will always be missed! They are held in Anglican cathedrals and minsters and follow an Anglican format but also include secular music, poetry and other elements. Everyone is welcome regardless of faith.



The Saying Goodbye Services will be taking place at numerous locations in 2013. Many are still being planned, but we are delighted to announce the following events:


‘Saying Goodbye’ launched the video at the top of this page on You Tube this morning. They hope very much that you will help them spread the word about their work. You can find them on twitter at @SayingGoodbyeUK, and on Facebook here.

6 comments on this post:

Deborah Roberts said...

Thank you for this. My niece died at 8 months 25 years ago She will never be forgotten

23 December 2012 21:07

Lovely. Thank you

23 December 2012 21:09
Joyce said...

One thing I have noticed over the last 50 years or so is that in addition to grief there is a sense of surprise at the death of a baby or a loss of pregnancy. Moreover, pregnancy is known about and talked about
months before it used to be. ‘False alarms’ and the ‘hoping’ phase no longer exist.Where once young wives would say,’I thought I might be pregnant but it turned out I
was just a bit late,’ they now say, ‘I’ve lost the baby.’
Babies that are lost later on in pregnancy have nowadays already been seen on screens in the midwife’s room or at the hospital and given names.They show the pictures to friends and relatives.It’s bound to feel like a bereavement if the pregnancy doesn’t go well.Existing children get more attached to the coming sibling than would have been the case before so much technology was available and their grief must be intense. Nobody seems to tell couples the true chances of miscarriage,stillbirth and infant death any more.I heard only this evening of an old pupil of mine who’s just had twins, one dead and the other brain damaged and unlikely to survive.
On my way home from school I used to pass a shop in town that sold cots, prams and playpens.There was a notice in the window that said anything could be ordered by the placing of a deposit which was returnable if the goods were not needed. One never sees anything like that nowadays. In fact I heard of someone just the other week who had a baby shower just like the Americans. Tempting fate gone mad.I hope it doesn’t catch on. Neither I nor anyone I know would ever dream of handing over a present before the baby was known to be alive and well.I am not known for tact but even I am not quite that ignorant of the world.
Saying Goodbye seems like an excellent organisation to me. If it publicises the fact that we all used to know – babies who
are expected are not like sofas ordered from the warehouse that are going to arrive eventually or you’ll complain. As well as acknowledging grief and giving relatives a chance to mourn,it’ll be a big help in reminding the public that expectant
parents might turn out to need support for a death as much as they’d need help after a live birth.

23 December 2012 23:11
UKViewer said...

I know that losing a child through miscarriage is a heartbreaker. It happened twice to my than spouse, and the loss is real, painful and never forgotten.

It places strains on relationships and you wonder if it was something that you did that caused the miscarriage? I know that in most cases, it’s a fault of nature – something isn’t right. But that doesn’t lessen the guilt that can be part of the misery you feel.

And, there is always speculation of ‘what they could have been”? If ours had survived, I’d have had 4 children and probably more than the 5 grandchildren that I have.

These events are now, nearly 40 years ago, but they are still there, scars or wounds that you bear to your grave.

In those days, the aftercare provided was brusque, inadequate and failed to address the issues involved. They sought out the medical, but ignored the psychological and spiritual – thank God that we are now more enlightened.

25 December 2012 19:42
Joyce said...

My grannie used to say, ‘First I had your uncle,then I had your daddy,then I had er something I shouldn’t have had er,then I had your auntie.
Despite being a midwife and bringing three of my cousins into the world,she couldn’t use the word ‘miscarriage’to describe her own experience after more than fifty years.

25 December 2012 22:49
Marie King said...

My heart goes out anyone who has lost a child in any capacity. My best friend and my sister-in-law each have miscarried multiple times and my heart breaks for them because all they’ve ever wanted was to have a baby and be mothers. Each time it happened, I always fought to find the words to comfort them, until one of my friends told me about a book to get them. It’s called “There Was Supposed To Be a Baby” by Catherine Keating, you can check her and the book on the website I’ve given this book to each of them as a gift and both have said what a wonderful book and comfort it was to them. Thank you for this post, and may anyone who has lost find peace!

28 December 2012 19:11

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