BY ABIGAIL CUTLER
Parents of a stillborn baby have found comfort in a new campaign from baby loss prevention charity MAMA Academy.
Gail Chan, 39, from Streatham gave birth to her first child on January 3 this year after 15 hours of labour.
But she and her husband William Russell were devastated when Carys was stillborn.
Ms Chan said: “We didn’t have any symptoms, she was healthy for the whole 41 weeks, then something just failed.”
She added: “Nothing prepares you for losing a child at any point in a pregnancy– we were traumatised.”
Seeking solace in their situation, they discovered the #CarryTheirNames campaign, run by the UK’s baby loss prevention charity, MAMA Academy.
The campaign encourages parents who have experienced stillbirths to carry their child’s name on a pink heart to the places they will never go to.
Ms Chan said: “We felt the #CarryTheirNames campaign by Mama Academy resonates with us. We had places we wanted to take Carys to.
“By participating it’s helped us to heal because she was there with us in spirit.”
She and Mr Russell pledged to visit 50 places in five continents by October, in time for Baby Loss Prevention Week from October 9-15.
They have since travelled all over the world, from Portugal to Australia, and recently went on a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The couple carried Carys’ name with them the whole time, along with some other stillborn babies’ names which had been registered through the campaign.
Ms Chan said: “We saw some amazing places with Carys and other babies with us, which provided us with some comfort.”
MAMA Academy was set up by Heidi Eltham, a bereaved mother who discovered that the death of her own son in 2009 was preventable and that this was actually the case for many other parents who had lost a baby.
Stillbirth is sometimes preventable, and MAMA Academy works hard to dispel this myth and empower health professionals and expectant parents with stillbirth prevention information.
You can find out more about them on their website at https://www.mamaacademy.org.uk