Leading Baby Loss Charity Brings Global Service Of Remembrance To Oxford 8th July

When Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates experienced the loss of five babies, little did they know that an idea to provide ‘services of remembrance’ for other people who had experienced loss would literally change their lives. 2023 sees their charity The Mariposa Trust, celebrate a decade of support, and it has never been busier, having held over 180 services in 7 countries, and having over 50,000 people access support each week, from one of the charity’s six support divisions.

Each year around 20 services are held around the UK and beyond, strategically placed to try and allow as many people as possible to be able to attend. On the Saturday 8th of July at 1pm, the regional service for Oxfordshire and beyond will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.

The ‘Saying Goodbye’ services, are for families, couples and individuals affected by the loss of a baby, whether that be during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, and regardless of whether the loss was recent or decades ago. In addition, anyone grieving never having children is also most welcome to attend.

Saying goodbye service Oxford

The services are open to people of faith or no faith and are uplifting and moving events filled with music, poems, acts of remembrance and more. Over the years, the services have been attended by thousands of people, who have found healing and solace by taking part, just like Kathryn from Oxford will be doing. She explains:

‘My water’s broke when we were visiting my parents and just about to head out for a walk on the beach. I was at 35 weeks and we were excited to welcome Lexi into the world, though it was a few weeks too early, we weren’t overly concerned, having previously delivered my son at 29 weeks, who is now a healthy 9 year old. We spoke to the local hospital and they said to come in for a check-up as I had a cervical stitch insitu. The check-up was fine and so we drove back to Oxford so that our consultant team could organise for removal of the stitch. I had a few days in hospital to monitor for infection and then I was discharged home. When the contractions started a few hours later, we were full of excitement. It was only in hospital that our lives were turned upside down, and we heard the dreaded words “I’m so sorry, there is no heartbeat”

Lexi was delivered a few hours later. She looked perfect. We kept willing her to ‘wake up’ and could not comprehend how we were ever going to survive this and how we were going to break it to our other children and our families.

We had a meeting with our consultant weeks later who informed us Lexi died from congenital pneumonia caused by Group B Strep, which is not currently tested for in the UK. Since then we have frequently accessed support from Saying Goodbye. We are grateful for the opportunity the service will give us to be in the presence of so many others, who like us, want the recognition that Lexi’s and their children’s lives matter and should not be forgotten, in a world that moves on so quickly, for parents like us missing their children is a pain we feel every single day.’

Emma from Oxford also describes her reason for attending:

“Our baby died in my pregnancy in October 2020, when there were Covid restrictions in place and we couldn’t grieve with family and friends like we needed. We were able to attend Saying Goodbye services online then which was so valuable. We could grieve “in public” and experience our emotions

— both positive and negative — through the service. Saying Goodbye services are important to us because they validate our baby’s life, show that other people love and grieve with us, and acknowledge us as parents to our little boy. I feel this is particularly relevant to me because I was in my first trimester when he died which can be dismissed because “it was early”, but I so appreciate that whatever someone’s experience is, they are welcomed by Saying Goodbye.”

The charity’s CEO Zoe Clark-Coates MBE commented:

“Our services are a wonderful opportunity for mothers, fathers, siblings and extended family to say goodbye to their babies and show they are truly loved they are. Our job at the Mariposa Trust is to ensure every child is recognised, however fleeting their existence.”

Sadly, baby loss affects around 1 in 4 pregnancies annually in the UK, with nearly 700 babies lost daily. When parents go through the devastating loss of a baby, during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, they often feel isolated and unable to process the overwhelming grief and trauma that miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal and early years’ loss brings. The services allow people to stand with others who have experienced the similar trauma of baby loss and collectively acknowledge and remember each life lost.

Co-CEO Andy concludes;

“We invite anyone who has gone through or been affected by baby loss, to join us for this Special event.

Who are the Mariposa Trust?

The Mariposa Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales providing free support to people affected by baby loss, pregnancy after baby loss, fertility, adoption and more, Over the past decade the pioneering work of the charity has led to it becoming a leader in this field.

In 2018, Zoe was appointed by the Secretary of State for Health and 10 Downing Street to chair the ‘National Pregnancy Loss Review’, looking at all pre-24-week baby loss support in the UK. In addition, Zoe was awarded an MBE for services to baby loss in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2021.

More information on the charity can be found at www.mariposatrust.org and via www.sayinggoodbye.org. The charity has multiple social media pages, and can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sayinggoodbyeuk, on Twitter @SayingGoodbyeUK, and on lnstagram at www.instagram.com/sayinggoodbye charity.