IN the UK today, it’s estimated that one in four pregnancies end in a loss during pregnancy or birth.

That’s about 650 miscarriages every day, more than 3,000 stillbirths a year and more than 2,000 neonatal deaths.

Southend Standard:

Strong - Emma Cox

Southend Standard:

Support - Kaylee Sheils

This week is baby loss awareness week, which aims to mark the lives of babies lost.

It’s a week that is particularly important - and hard - for mums Emma Cox, 40, of Ashingdon, and Kaylee Sheils, 31, of Southend.

Earlier this year Emma, along with Lynsey Garrick, 34, established ABC (Angel Babies and Children) Social Support Group.

They meet on the first Friday of every month at Southend’s Seven Hotel, after Emma’s son Alfie was stillborn at 21 weeks in 2016.

Emma, who is also mum to sons Jamie, nine, and Eden, one, says: “Baby loss week is important as it raises awareness and highlights that people are not alone in their experiences.

“In fact the sharing of experiences with other bereaved mums was how the idea of this group came about.

“I felt that there needed to be a ‘social’ group that was different to a support or counselling help group, where bereaved mums could get together in a relaxed environment and be able to chat openly with other mums who had been through similar experiences.”

One of the mums that has joined the group is Kaylee, whose son Harry Thomas Sheils was stillborn at 26 weeks in 2011.

She says: “I joined ABC because I felt there wasn’t anything in our area that can offer support for the type of loss we have gone through.

“Our son was stillborn in Turkey while on holiday, I went into labour early and unfortunately the hospital wasn’t able to deal with the situation.

“We were forced to leave Turkey without our son and I was taken into hospital from the airport very poorly for over a week.

“I was offered no support because our son wasn’t born in UK.

“I didn’t speak to a bereavement midwife for weeks.

“I then went months trying to deal with coroner inquests and a funeral.

“I eventually saw a counsellor for six sessions, but that made no difference.

“I struggled for years to deal with the emotions and loss and although my friends and family were amazing I just felt alone and no one understood.

“I don’t feel that with the group, they know the feelings as they felt them themselves.”

It’s difficult to begin to imagine the heartbreak Kaylee and her family have gone through.

“The loss of Harry had a huge impact on my life, I gave up on everything, it broke me,” Kaylee explains.

“When Harry died a part of me died with him.

“It reshaped my life and how I saw the world.

“Having my daughter Poppy, two years after his death became a struggle.

“I got post natal depression and was convinced I was going to lose her.

“I have a very strong bond with my daughter now and we talk about Harry and enjoy looking after his little memorial garden with flowers and decorations.

“Poppy will decorate pretty stones and place them there for him.”

So how has ABC helped?

“The group has become a big part of my life, and I look forward to our monthly meets,” she says.

“The girls are very supportive and non-judgemental.

“I am comfortable to openly talk about my son or just everyday stuff with them.

“I feel the group is important and beneficial to any grieving mum, the mums in the group are all at different stages of their grief and as a group we are able to offer support and comfort to everyone in a relaxed environment.”

The group meets on the first Friday of every month, from 7pm until 9pm. For more details, visit the ABC Social Support Group on Facebook or contact Emma at emma_2_clarke@yahoo.co.uk