A service of remembrance for families, couples and individuals affected by the loss of a baby, whether that be during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy is to be held on Saturday the 18th November at 11.00am at St Andrew’s Minster in Plymouth. In addition, anyone grieving never having children is also most welcome to attend.
The ‘Saying Goodbye’ services, are open to people of faith or no faith and for those who have lost recently or decades ago. They are uplifting and moving events filled with music, poems, acts of remembrance and more, and have been attended by thousands of people, who have found healing and solace by taking part.
The services are run by the Mariposa Trust, a charity founded by Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates, who sadly suffered the loss of five babies. They saw an extreme lack of support for parents like them, and wanted to give families the space to grieve for their lost babies.
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 each year in the UK, with nearly 700 babies lost each day. When parents go through the devastating loss of a baby, whether 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.
One parent who attended a service said, “The Saying Goodbye service gave me the time and space to formally recognise all of my babies and the experience of being with people who just knew how it felt was a real strength. As I stood with other parents and proudly rang the bell for my 14 babies, I felt unbearable sadness but also a great privilege in being able to properly celebrate their existence. For the first time ever I felt my tears of grief, loss and love were allowed, shared and understood.”
The Mariposa Trust provides free support to people affected by baby loss, pregnancy after baby loss, fertility, adoption and more. The Trust has become the leading support charity in this field, with over 50,000 people each week, accessing support.
The charity is at the forefront of campaigning for change, and in 2018, Zoe was appointed by the Secretary of State for Health and 10 Downing Street to chair the ‘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 Honours in 2021.
Zoe continues, “We invite anyone who has gone through or been affected by baby loss, to join us for this special event.”