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Local rainbow baby family spread hope for others

Monday, 11 October, 2021
Local rainbow baby family spread hope for others

Inspirational parents have been working hard with a leading health trust to bring light to the future pregnancy journeys of other rainbow baby families.

Dawn and Keith Tait, from Alnwick, have been working closely with bereavement midwives at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to develop ‘rainbow baby’ stickers for the maternity folders of affected parents. This will enable medical professionals at this trust to see very quickly that this baby is not a first pregnancy for the couple.

A rainbow baby is a baby born after miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, termination for medical reasons, stillbirth or neonatal death. For many parents, the rainbow symbolises hope and light after a dark time. It can be painful for parents navigating questions that come during the pregnancy of a rainbow baby. The stickers are designed to alert health care professionals to the pregnant person’s previous experiences, to minimise any difficult questions.

Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9-15 October 2021, and it is a week to raise awareness of pregnancy and baby loss in the UK. Throughout the week, bereaved parents, and their families and friends, unite with others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth.

Dawn and Keith shared their story: “Roseanne Joni Tait.  Born 27.6.2016. .7lb 7 (and a half an ounce!) of beauty.  Our firstborn. But sadly, never to take a breath in this world. Since then we’ve been working, quietly, to make changes to improve things for others.”

“When we felt ready to become parents again we faced a long wait and a battle with secondary infertility. Eventually over four years later, we were blessed with our precious ‘Rainbow baby’ pregnancy; something at times we thought would never happen.”

“The anxiety accompanying a subsequent pregnancy is inexplicable and only understood by those that have journeyed through it. Often exacerbated by having to it point out and explain time and time again, especially when innocent questions like “your first baby?” are asked at scan appointments etc. We found that generic stickers to draw attention to our previous loss were often overlooked.”

“When Nira asked if we could help to co-design a sticker specific for the trust we were keen to get involved.  Having an easy to recognise, trust specific image indicating a previous loss clearly displayed on notes will help professionals to approach patients with that added layer of awareness and sensitivity.”

“It’s our hope that these stickers will help to ease those anxieties about having to explain when attending appointments. It’s also another part of Roseanne’s continuing legacy.”

Nira Flanighan, Bereavement Midwife at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust added: “Working with parents like Dawn and Keith is truly inspirational. To see them turn their grief into something so positive is incredible, and I have no doubt that their commitment to helping others will improve the experiences of so many other rainbow families. Baby Loss Awareness week is an important time for many – it encourages people to talk and helps families unite together to support one another through the complex emotions. I would like to personally thank Dawn and Keith, and of course little Roman too, for taking us on their journey with them.”