Norfolk charity gives time to heal after loss
Christian charity Time Norfolk, held an open evening on February 24 where four brave clients shared their stories of miscarriage, failure to conceive and loss of their babies.
By Helen Baldry
Time Norfolk exists to help people – both women and men- with the loss of a baby, whether through miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth or those unable to have children.
Guests were invited to the Virgin Money lounge in Norwich for the evening event, attended by the Lord Mayor of Norwich Councillor Brenda Arthur and the Sheriff of Norwich Beryl Blower. The purpose of the evening was to raise awareness of Time Norfolk so people who need counselling following loss know that help is available. Chair of trustees, Selina Watts said, “People always say ‘I wish I knew about you years ago’”
Global award-winning soprano Emma Nuule entertained guests and musicians from the The Norwich School community music group provided atmospheric background music.
One of the Time Norfolk’s clients, Linda, spoke about the way she was helped to come to terms with the death of her son, who she lost at full term many years ago. At the time, she was not given the chance to grieve. She never held her son, or had a photo of him. He lived for 16 hours but she was not even involved in the funeral arrangements. Linda spoke about her feelings of loneliness and emptiness which followed her throughout her life. Many years later, after a referral from the Wellbeing Service, she received counselling through Time Norfolk, “I talked about things I never had a chance to talk about before.”
A father helped by Time Norfolk spoke about his more recent loss. After his son died at five weeks old, Tommy described his devastation. He said, “Life stops when you lose a child.” He was referred to Time Norfolk by the chaplain at the hospital and saw Sally, his counsellor on a weekly basis. He expressed gratitude for the care he had received and the progress he has made to learn to live with his grief. Tommy said, “Without Time Norfolk, I don’t know where I would be.”
People who experience the pain of not being able have a child have been helped by Time Norfolk . Jess shared her story of nine years of trying for a baby, including a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome and failed fertility treatment. She spoke of her joy at finally conceiving naturally, and her feeling that her baby was a miracle. She described the subsequent pain of learning her baby had a genetic abnormality. “With a pain I never knew existed, our miracle baby was born as 20 weeks.” Following the death of her daughter, Jess said, “ I had no idea grief could be so physical.” With Time Norfolk’s help, Jess is now able to talk about her story. She said, “Sometimes you really can’t make it on your own.”
Mother-of-one Vicky talked about the damage that can be caused by the dismissive attitude of doctors. She had four miscarriages and was told by doctors, “Don’t worry, you can try again... at least you’ve got a baby.” Nobody signposted Vicky to anyone who could help, and it wasn’t until she had taken an overdose and ended up at Hellesdon hospital that she was referred to Time Norfolk. She said, “Nobody ever listened to me. I didn’t have a voice. I was just an NHS number.” She emphasised just how much Time Norfolk means to her, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Time Norfolk.” Vicky is now training to be a counsellor.
As a charity, Time Norfolk is going from strength to strength. They are reaching more people and partnering with organisations so clients can be referred efficiently. In October, they will lead a training day for midwives and other health professionals on baby loss. They are working with Children’s Services in Great Yarmouth to help women whose babies have been taken into care or adopted. Selina explained that help is offered to the children, but not always to the parents, who often get caught in the cycle of repeat pregnancies.
A ‘Doorway of Hope’ service is planned for October 13 at Norwich Cathedral for anyone who has experienced loss – whether recently or years ago.
Visit the Time Norfolk website at www.timenorfolk.org.uk
Tell people about Time Norfolk – they are here to help
Donate – Time Norfolk completely relies on donations, both regular giving and one-off gifts
Volunteer – you don’t need to be a counsellor. If you can volunteer for a couple of hours a week, there are lots of ways to help – from listening to clients, helping with office admin and practical tasks.
Pictured above: musicans from The Norwich School and below: Emma Nuule
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