Every parent expects to be woken up during the night by the cries of their baby. But after putting their five-month-old daughter in the cot at the end of their bed, Jodie and Matthew McAtamney-Greenwood had to survive those dark hours with a terrible, aching silence. At 6am, when they went to lift Trinity out of her cot, there were none of the usual coos. Only complete stillness. Trinity, who was born with an underdeveloped heart, had suffered a cardiac arrest three weeks before. On the date of her death in August 2015, she was one of at least 15 babies who died that day in the UK just before, during and after birth.
Thanks to changing attitudes to child bereavement, as well as the CuddleCot — which contains an electric cooling system attached to a mat to keep the body temperature low — mothers are taking their babies home from hospital to care for them in the days before their funerals.
Erica Stewart, a bereavement support specialist at stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, says: ‘In years gone by, keeping the babies away was seen as a way to protect the mothers, who were often told to go home and try for another child.
‘Thanks to advances in psychology and counselling, we know that when parents have good bereavement care and can stay with their children, it has a positive impact on their future mental health.’
Some parents can stay with their baby for up to a month, says Erica, as there is no immediate deadline for burial nor any infection risks from the body of a newborn baby.' Continue reading