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Chaplain helps families find graves of babies

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A hospital chaplain helped three families find the graves of babies lost in tragic circumstances in the 1970s.

Each of the families contacted the Rev Martin Abrams, chaplain at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals, after seeing a television programme encouraging parents to discover where their babies were buried.

“Each family’s story had common elements,” said Martin. “Their baby was stillborn, or only lived a few hours and following their death there was no follow up care and no choice or explanation about what happened next.

“None of the families knew where their baby was buried, if at all. A doctor told one mum simply her baby ‘had been disposed of with other clinical waste’.

“This is very shocking to us today but decades ago it seems to have been common practice.”

No records exist of what happened to the babies. However, working with local churches, funeral directors and Sefton crematorium and cemeteries, Martin was able to locate the exact or approximate burial site of the babies.

Each family took up the offer of a short service at their baby’s burial place. The final of these services took place in the spring.

“The feedback from each family has been hugely positive,” said Martin. “Each family has spoken of a sense of closure, being able to move on and peace after all the years of anxiety.

“Thankfully, the bereavement support we offer today after a pregnancy or baby loss is very different.  Within our own trust the Bereavement Focus Group has brought things on a long way.”

There is further information about bereavements and baby loss on the hospital’s website.

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