The annual Saying Goodbye service for anyone who has lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in early years, or who has been affected by a family member or friend’s loss, returns to Belfast Cathedral on June 2.
This year, the Mariposa Trust, which runs these services across the UK, has extended the services to welcome anyone who is grieving the fact that they haven’t had children.
“This may be due to circumstance, infertility or for other reasons – but all are welcome,” said a spokesperson.
The service is open to anyone affected by the loss of a baby, whether that loss was recent or 80 years ago.
Babies and children are also invited to come with their family, as the Saying Goodbye service is a family event for all.
The service in St Anne’s begins at 3.30pm and is part of a series of national remembrance services allowing bereaved parents, families and friends to join together in acknowledging and remembering babies that have gone too soon.
The Mariposa Trust held its first service in 2012, and now provides support that reaches over 50,000 people each week, helping them through baby loss, pregnancy after baby loss, fertility, adoption and more.
The charity was founded by Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates, who sadly suffered the loss of five babies. They saw that there was an extreme lack of support available to parents like them, and so decided to start the ‘Saying Goodbye’ services.
Baby loss affects around one in four pregnancies each year in the UK, with nearly 700 babies lost each day. The charity says that when parents go through the devastating loss of a baby, whether during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, they often feel isolated and unable to process the overwhelming grief and trauma that miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal and early years loss brings. The services allow people to stand with others who have experienced the similar trauma of baby loss, and collectively acknowledge and remember each life lost.
The Saying Goodbye services are uplifting and moving events filled with music, poems, acts of remembrance and more, and have been attended by countless thousands of people, who have found healing and solace by attending.
For further information visit the Mariposa Trust website.