Samantha and Andy’s daughter, Ellie, was stillborn at 31 weeks. After Ellie died, the hospital put Samantha and Andy in touch with Child Bereavement UK. Here they talk about how they have been supported by Child Bereavement UK in Glasgow following Ellie’s death.


 “When Ellie died, people were there for us for the first few weeks but then their phone calls got less, they texted us less and we saw them less,” says Andy. “It’s not that they wanted to be nasty, they’d never been through anything like that, so they didn’t know how to react.”

 Samantha agrees: “It’s not in a mean way or trying to be callous. They just didn’t know what to say.”

 “They didn’t even want to mention her name, maybe they thought it would break us,” says Andy.  “They tried to be nice and sugar-coat it, but that’s not the answer, they haven’t been through it.”

 “At the beginning we didn’t think coming to Child Bereavement UK would help, but everyone said: ‘Just give it one try’.  It has helped just to have somewhere to talk,” says Samantha.

It’s very helpful to have someone you can talk to. Sometimes your family are too close.  The bereavement support practitioners have experience of all sorts of situations, and your family don’t.  They understand more and have the skills to listen and give you some advice, so it helped a lot.  You feel exhausted after you’ve done a session but I’m glad we did it.

  “It’s very helpful to have someone you can talk to,” says Andy. “Sometimes your family are too close.  The bereavement support practitioners have experience of all sorts of situations, and your family don’t.  They understand more and have the skills to listen and give you some advice, so it helped a lot.  You feel exhausted after you’ve done a session but I’m glad we did it.”

 Before we came, we just kept it all in, there was no one we could speak to.  After a few sessions we felt less tired and agitated. It all drains away. because you’ve spoken about it and you’ve made your feelings clear.  You feel like you’re moving forward with life, speaking more and reaching out for the help that you need, instead of bottling it up.  It makes a big difference.

“Before we came, we just kept it all in, there was no one we could speak to.  After a few sessions we felt less tired and agitated. It all drains away. because you’ve spoken about it and you’ve made your feelings clear.  You feel like you’re moving forward with life, speaking more and reaching out for the help that you need, instead of bottling it up.  It makes a big difference.”

 Samantha and Andy have a son Freddie, aged two.

 “It was a blessing that Freddie didn’t know the baby was coming,” says Andy. “He kept us going.  You had to get up and get out in the morning, having that boy kept us going.”

 “It gives you a routine so you’re not dwelling,” says Samantha. “If you don’t get up, he’ll get you up!  When he goes to bed, then you can sit and grieve.  When he’s up you don’t have a chance to sit down, you have to get up and face the world.  You put a mask on and cover your feelings until he goes to bed.”

 “You can take your mask off and be yourself when you come to Child Bereavement UK,” says Andy. “When you get up in the morning, and go out in public, you put your mask on.

At Child Bereavement UK you can take the mask off, let out the tears and chat. Be yourself basically. Sometimes when you know a session is coming up, you feel you only have a few days to go and then you can let it all out. At the time it’s not the nicest thing, but you leave feeling better and it’s not bottled up anymore.

  “At Child Bereavement UK you can take the mask off, let out the tears and chat. Be yourself basically. Sometimes when you know a session is coming up, you feel you only have a few days to go and then you can let it all out. At the time it’s not the nicest thing, but you leave feeling better and it’s not bottled up anymore, “says Samantha.

It’s like the feeling when you have a good cry, you feel you can walk out the door and you can face the day again. It’s not like we talk about anything new, or there’s big discoveries, but it’s just being able to talk without someone thinking: ‘I don’t know what to say to you’.  Someone who gets it and lets you know that you’re not thinking mad things.  That takes the weight off, knowing that you’re not going mad.

 “It’s like the feeling when you have a good cry, you feel you can walk out the door and you can face the day again. It’s not like we talk about anything new, or there’s big discoveries, but it’s just being able to talk without someone thinking: ‘I don’t know what to say to you’.  Someone who gets it and lets you know that you’re not thinking mad things.  That takes the weight off, knowing that you’re not going mad.”

 Samantha is currently on maternity leave, but Andy went back to work after three months off.

 “I had to go back,” he says. “I’d let myself go, not shaving not getting up.  I needed go get back into my own routine, get back to being my old self; well, half and half.  When you go to work, you’ve got your mask and you’re keeping busy, you’re someone else for a few hours.

 Some days it’s good to be busy but, sometimes, you can’t just switch off. I see little girls in the park when I’m with Freddie and think: ‘It should be your wee sister there’. You just keep yourself going for him.”

We weren’t going to do it at first because we thought ‘What’s the point of talking to a stranger? What can they do?’ Once you go, you feel good after. You feel like you’ve achieved something by speaking about it. You’ve let your frustrations out.  I’d recommend it to anyone, it helped us.  If you do it once and don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. It’s not going to make it any worse.

Andy and Samantha both feel that coming to Child Bereavement UK would benefit other bereaved families:

 “We weren’t going to do it at first because we thought ‘What’s the point of talking to a stranger? What can they do?’” says Andy. “Once you go, you feel good after. You feel like you’ve achieved something by speaking about it. You’ve let your frustrations out.  I’d recommend it to anyone, it helped us.  If you do it once and don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. It’s not going to make it any worse.”