We are so sorry that your baby has died. At Sands, we understand how devastating it is when a baby dies as many of us have been through the experience ourselves.
We know that everyone grieves differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Each person needs different types of support and this can change over time. Some people may be happy to talk, others might take comfort from quietly reading about others experiences, while some may prefer to meet face to face and share their experience.
Here are the different ways how we can support you:
Losing a baby before, during or shortly after birth is arguably one of the hardest things anyone has to find a way through. What takes many people by surprise is how strong the emotions can be, how they can change very quickly, and how long they last. People around you may seem to think you should be ‘back to normal’ after a few weeks or months. You might appear to be your usual self to other people, but you know that on the inside, you’re not even sure what normal is anymore.
Everyone grieves in a way that is unique to them. Well-intentioned people may say to you, ‘Time is a great healer.’ Sometimes, however, it can seem that life is more difficult as the weeks and months go by.
We know that no-one can understand exactly what losing your baby feels like to you. But we do understand that it’s sometimes easier to talk to someone outside of your friends and family about grief and the impact of bereavement of your life and this is why we offer the GriefChat service, alongside Sands’ Helpline and our other support services.
GriefChat was created by bereavement experts and by clicking on the GriefChat box below, you can chat directly to a specially trained bereavement counsellor. GriefChat counsellors are experienced in supporting bereaved people and will listen to your story, explore how your grief is affecting you and help you to find any additional support you might need. GriefChat is a completely free service and is available Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm. You can email or message Sands or GriefChat outside of these hours.
GriefChat provides emotional support for bereaved people, access to trained bereavement counsellors and referral on to Sands’ specialist bereavement services.
The Sands National Helpline provides a safe, confidential place for anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby. Whether your baby died long ago or recently, we are here for you.
The telephone helpline is free to call from landlines and mobiles on 0808 164 3332.
The team are available to speak to from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 6pm to 9pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
The helpline team can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sands Bereavement Support app
The Sands Bereavement Support app was created for anyone who has experienced the death of a baby.
It aims to help bereaved parents and families to find the right information and support at the right time. The app can also be used by healthcare professionals, who would like to know how best to support bereaved parents and their families.
Local support groups
Many parents feel that only others who have experienced the death of a baby can offer real understanding. Our countrywide network of over 106 local support groups, usually run by bereaved parents and family members, offer you the chance to meet others, gain support and share your experience.
Many Sands groups offer online support meetings, telephone or email support.
Sands Online Community and Facebook Support Group
When a baby dies bereaved parents can feel very isolated. They don’t usually know anyone else who has had a similar experience. Support from family and friends can sometimes fall away soon after a baby has died.
The Sands Online Community provides a safe space for bereaved parents to connect with each other and share their feelings 24 hours a day.
Visit the Sands Online Community
The Sands Facebook Support group is a community of parents helping each other through baby loss.
You can register and join the group using the link below:
To guide you through the most difficult of times, we have put together our Family Support Pack. It is free and the information it contains may be helpful to you both now and later.
Sands Memory Boxes
Sands Memory Boxes provide a place for parents and families to create and keep memories of their beloved baby.
Sands Memory Boxes are completely free of charge and you can order them through the Sands Shop.
Information for parents thinking about making a complaint or taking legal action
Are you thinking about taking legal action or making a complaint?
We are so sorry that you find yourself in need of support and thinking about legal action following the death of your baby.
The following information could help you decide whether and how to go ahead with this action, and the organisations and services who will be able to support you through this difficult time. You may also like to read through our Reviewing Every Baby Death information.
In the first instance you may want to make a complaint via the PALS (Patient Advisory Liaison) service where your baby was born (or died, if this is not the same hospital). Every Trust or Health Board has details of the PALS service on their website.
If you do decide you would like to explore legal action, we recommend that you contact the charity AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents).
AvMA can provide help and advice via their helpline, can help you find a solicitor and can advise on compensation claims. Free, impartial advice from a trained solicitor is available, who can sign post you on to further services.
AvMA produces self-help guidance for parents seeking information and support. These guides give advice on finding a solicitor.
The Sands Bereavement Support Services team is available to support you emotionally throughout your bereavement.
Useful links and organisations
At Sands we support anyone affected by the death of a baby. Our experienced Helpline Team are here to listen and offer support and information without judgement, whenever you need it.
However, you may have a medical or personal issue related to the death of your baby that you would like further information about from another organisation. Here we are pleased to provide links to other websites, in thematic order, which we hope may be useful.
5 ways you can help someone whose baby has died
A useful leaflet, downloadable for free