Families from across the city will be welcomed to congregate at Manchester Cathedral as part of a set of remembrances services for people who have had to mourn the loss of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy.
After suffering the loss of five babies, Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates established Saying Goodbye to support others and aim to remember and acknowledge the lives lost or cut too soon in a poignant and reflective service.
The intimate service, being held this Saturday, will include both religious and secular elements, welcoming diverse backgrounds and faiths.
The free service will include poetry, music and personal stories that will be shared throughout the day.
Having suffered a miscarriage when she was 16 weeks pregnant, Amy * from Wilmslow told MM why she thought that organisations like Saying Goodbye were essential for women and families to turn to.
“It was the most devastating part of my life, I lost my baby and I didn’t think I would ever be able to leave me bedroom ever again.
“I cried every day; I stopped eating and blocked everyone in my life including my fiancé.
“When I look back at it now, I know why I reacted that way because it was just so surreal for me.
“I think if I’d known about charities or events like the one on the weekend, it would have made me cope with our loss in a healthier way.”
Saying Goodbye is one of the four main divisions of UK based charity, the Mariposa Trust.
Other sections include Growing You, Holding Hope and Waiting for you, focusing on child loss and development during different stages of pregnancy. Support is also available for parents wishing to adopt.
Mother-of two, Rebecca Howarth, will be attending the service that’s taking place from 11.20am at Manchester Cathedral.
“I lost my first child when i was in my twenties 4 weeks after giving birth to her.
“She was premature and her little organs just couldn’t cope.
“The four weeks she was with her me and my partner valued ever day. We never left her side.
“Even though it was a traumatic experience to lose her— I say her because I still can’t bring myself to say her name without getting upset – I feel blessed that I was able to spend that short time with her getting to know her a little before she left us.
Though Rebecca has two children, she admits that there are days when she’ll breakdown knowing that one of her own didn’t make it as far.
“I love my two babies with all of my heart, when I look at them I see her and that for me is therapeutic in its own way. She lives within them, and that’s beautiful.
“I still cry and in some way I’m still mourning though it was seven years ago. Hopefully meeting other families who’ve been in similar situations will help me.
“I may be able to help someone else, you never know do you?”
Supported by an array of ambassadors from the medical world including Professor Robert Winston and Professor Lesley Regan, to the likes of Nigella Lawson, Gabby Logan, Jools Oliver and Mary Nightingale, Saying Goodbye will tour across the country and fly across the Atlantic to offer the same help to families in America.
For more information regarding the Manchester service in visit the Saying Goodbye website.
And you can watch A Saying Goodbye Film here.
*Name changed as this mother wished to remain anonymous.
Image courtesy of Saying Goodbye UK, via YouTube, with thanks.