Charity helps families after tragic baby loss

Val Isherwood with her daughter Lily, who was stillborn in October 2011.
Val Isherwood with her daughter Lily, who was stillborn in October 2011.
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A woman who suffered the distress of losing her baby is helping others who go through the same traumatic experience.

Val Isherwood set up Tigerlily Trust to support families that suffer stillbirth or miscarriage, and the charity is now providing special mementoes to help others through the pain.

Tigerlily Trust was founded by Val in memory of her daughter Lily, who was stillborn in October 2011.

She said: “I wanted to provide parents whose baby dies at any stage during their pregnancy, or soon after birth, with a support network and a gift that enables them to capture precious memories with their baby in the short time they are together in hospital.”

Val, 48, was helped in founding the charity by Lancaster photographer Eleanor Postlethwaite.

The trust recently donated a consignment of Remembrance Boxes and Miscarriage Care Packages to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The Remembrance Boxes, which are also being delivered to Furness General Hospital and Westmorland General Hospital, contain items which will enable parents to gather lasting images of their baby.

The set includes an inkless wipe kit for making hand and foot prints, an impression kit for making plaster impressions of hands and feet, two identical teddies, one to stay with the baby and one for the parents to keep, a specially chosen notebook and pen for recording thoughts and messages, professional remembrance photography, should the family wish it, to provide pictures that can be cherished forever, a candle holder and tea light for lighting in honour of their baby when they return home, a handmade keepsake heart and comprehensive information and details of resources to help parents to find their way to healing through the grief.

Tigerlily Trust also provides Miscarriage Care Packages, recognising that women who lose their babies in miscarriage are faced with leaving the hospital with nothing to honour the life they have just lost.

The packages contain tissues, a candle, a rose scented soap, chamomile tea for emotions and a keepsake in memory of the baby.

Vitally, they represent something to hold onto when leaving hospital and also include specifically tailored support and resources.

Val, who lives in Grange with her fiance Patrick Connor, added: “We are not so comfortable in the UK with the issues surrounding the death of a baby.

“People often want to help but just don’t know what to say or do. However, evidence shows that how parents are treated during and soon after their loss, and the quality of the time they have with their baby, can have a dramatic impact on the grief and healing process.”

More information, guidance and ideas for friends and family, as well as details on forthcoming events, can be found on the charity’s website at www.tigerlilytrust.co.uk.

Alternatively, email enquiries@tigerlilytrust.co.uk or eleanor@photobaby.co.uk, or visit the Tigerlily Trust Facebook page.