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You’re Not Alone, and Your Baby Matters

You’re Not Alone, and Your Baby Matters

Zoë Clark-Coates, founder and CEO of the Mariposa Trust and author of Saying Goodbye talks to Together about her charity, her book and her campaign for better care of grieving parents.

One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. It means that each one of us probably knows at least someone who has experienced a miscarriage or a stillbirth. That’s a sobering thought. Are we aware of what support is available for those who experience this type of loss? That’s where Zoë Clark-Coates comes in. Zoë suffered the loss of five babies and experienced grief on a level that probably few of us could comprehend. But out of these tragedies has come something beautiful and pioneering.

Zoe founded, along with her husband Andy, The Mariposa Trust in 2012, a charity offering support to those who have experienced baby loss, and in 2017 David C Cook published Zoë’s book Saying Goodbye, which tells her story.

Zoë, could you tell us about your book and what sort of reaction you’ve received? 

The reaction has been amazing. I run The Mariposa Trust, for which one of the divisions is called Saying Goodbye. Our support reaches around 50,000 people a week and our website has around 650,000 hits a month. With this level of interaction we knew our story should be shared in a book. Writing it was a beautiful experience for me, knowing that everything I wrote was going into the hands of a brokenhearted person. The book is not just for those going through child loss fi rst-hand, but also as a way of educating those on the periphery of someone experiencing loss as it is not easy for someone who is grieving to verbalise what they’re going through. It is also a useful resource for those who work with people who have experienced loss. Sadly, 70% of relationships break down following baby loss as couples often grieve in different ways and at different rates to one another, so this book aims to address that as well by giving people the tools to navigate their grief journey.

The issue of improper care for those going through miscarriage/baby loss is starting to be acknowledged by those in Parliament; how is The Mariposa Trust involved in this?

The Mariposa Trust has been a stakeholder in the Department of Health for a number of years and is campaigning for change. When we launched the organisation it was initially to only run global services of remembrance at Cathedrals. We then added personal support and campaigning to change how people were supported when going through loss within the NHS and the community. We realised that some types of care actually cause additional trauma on top of losing a child. If you lose your baby prior to 24 weeks and the child is born dead, there is no certification at all; no birth certificate, death certificate or stillbirth certificate. You will only get this is if your baby is born breathing and then dies, or if your baby is born after 24 weeks gestation. We currently have a bill going through the House of Lords to bring in a new National Loss Certificate, which means that people, no matter their gestation of loss, will be able to apply for a certificate. Their baby would go onto a register, and they would be issued a certificate to say that their baby did exist. Jeremy Hunt had become aware of the certification issue and wanted to help in some way, and so he has launched a review to look at certification to see what could and should be done, and at the same time look at care across the whole of the UK to see whether things could be improved. He has asked me to co-chair the national review, which is an honour.

You are bringing out two new books with Hachette Publishing; can you tell us a little about what to expect?

The first book is called The Baby Loss Guide which will be released April 2019. This is about losing a baby; the first half discusses everything to do with loss and will be a resource book dealing with everything from how to return to work following loss, intimacy with your partner, trying for a child again and believing in the future for which currently there is little information available. The second part of the book offers 90-days of vital and compassionate support, and is as apt for people who lost their babies recently, as for those who lost their child 70 years ago, but are still navigating grief.

The second book is due for release in spring 2020 and is called Beyond Goodbye; dealing with grief, not just baby loss but all types of loss, from a partner to a grandparent. We’re a nation with a stiff upper lip and for many it can be extremely difficult to talk about the loss of a loved one. There can be an unrealistic expectation of when a grieving person should have moved on. It is important to remember that each person’s grief journey is entirely unique to them and that there are so many different factors that can play a part in grief.




Together Magazine

Together is the window to the UK Christian retail and trade. Providing the very best in product information, trade news, publisher and retail store profiles and much more

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Products mentioned in or related to this blog post
Saying Goodbye (Hard Cover)
Clark-Coates, Zoe
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