Content warning: stillbirth.
You will have noticed that some of the poems on this blog are tagged “The Raven’s Daughter“. In 2011, our daughter Branwen was stillborn at 33 weeks. One day I will write something sustained and, hopefully, helpful for those who have also been through this traumatic experience. I have not found those words yet, however, I write her a poem every year for her birthday (2.07pm, 24th September). No pretences at aesthetic quality but they are gifts that I cannot give in person. These poems are also a way to try to write to the heart of it, to make understanding by making some kind of art.
On the morning of 17th September our little disco dancer stopped moving, when the news was later confirmed that her heart had stopped, we were given time to collect ourselves and were given a private bereavement suite. A week later I had – if the situation had been much different – what would have passed for a “normal birth” and, in all the seriousness and heartbreak, there were small moments of levity. Carol Beales, a superlative person and specialist bereavement midwife made several visits after we returned home and after the funeral. In these days of NHS cutbacks, we remain grateful for the unconditional love and sympathy shown by the whole team. If you are going through this and would like more information then I highly recommend Sands who may be of some comfort; they offer advice and support for you, and your extended families.