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Moving forwards

In this video we hear from healthcare professionals, Sarah Stephenson and Jane Couch who discuss memory making for families following twin loss.
The way we care for families and babies has changed dramatically over the years, and we focus very much on the time that they have. We focus on memory making and giving them as much to take away as possible so that over the years, they can take these items out and look at them and remember their baby. We have lovely gowns that we can use for baptism now that we gift box and the families can take away. And we do handprints and footprints. We’ve got memory boxes with lots of items in that the family take away and keep. And those things are massively important.
I think we’ve learned over time that the little things are really what make a difference to the families. And that seems to be the feedback that we get as well. The families love the things that we can give them that they can take away. Photographs are very important. So we take as many photographs as we can. We encourage them to bring family members in so they’ve got that time with the family. And siblings, we really encourage them to bring siblings in because we feel that it’s family time. And often for small children, what’s in their imagination can be worse than actual reality.
And I think sometimes, that’s a really big decision for the families to make at the time, and they’re really torn. But often, once they’ve done that and they’ve brought the brothers and sisters of the baby in, then they feel that that was the right thing to do, and they’re really grateful for that. And so I think we’ve learned a lot. Communication is getting better. We talk to families more. And probably the most important thing is that we get feedback from families, and we try to act on it. And we always try to improve what we do. I had a family recently whose little girl, she was only, she was six. And she became so involved in her brother’s care.
She did his hand and footprints. She read him a story. She was there when he died. I’ve never done that before. I’ve never involved, such a young child in circumstances that-, a lot of the families have wanted to protect them from that. But she was so important to that family, and she helped. She gave them strength. She was only six. She gave them strength to deal with the loss of their son, and children take things so literally. And she did, and she just did everything that was asked of her. She talked to him. She read to him. She held him. And for the family, that was the key. Involving her, that was the key.
I think some people may think, oh, I wouldn’t have involved her. I would have suggested the family take her away. But actually, the way they talked about it, I knew she was so important, and she was so grown up for being such a six-year-old. They weren’t even going to bring her in. They weren’t going to introduce her to her brother because they were feared that it would upset her. And actually, when they did bring her in, you could just say everything changed.
The dynamics of that family changed, and it became about the family and not just about the little boy they were going to lose but about the four of them and how the four of them were then going to move on from the loss of their son. And she was. She was incredible. And that’s different. Another family would not want that. So you really-, it’s a real balance of working out what’s good for some families.

In this video we hear from healthcare professionals, Sarah Stephenson and Jane Couch who talk about memory making opportunities for families.

Families often talk about their experiences of what sorts of events may act as ‘triggers’ as their twins and family grow. This can include situations surrounding birthdays and anniversaries, and how families and friends supported them and acknowledge their loss.

It is important to talk about the baby by name and acknowledge their twin status.

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Loss of a Baby in Multiple Pregnancy: Supporting Grieving Parents

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