A young mum is using the pain and heartbreak of the loss of her baby to help other parents who endure the same tragic experience.
Ashley Stevens lost her baby Noah Webster, who was stillborn when she gave birth at Ninewells in January 2019.
The 24-year-old, from Douglas, struggled to cope with the loss and found that support and advice was hard to come by.
And she is also aware that had she gone through this experience in recent months the pandemic would have made the situation even more difficult to deal with.
She said: “This was a terrible time and it is very difficult to come to terms with a still birth.
“I had some help from a bereavement midwife but there are not many of them available, especially now that we are in this pandemic situation.
“I know of babies who have been lost as a result o still birth during the current crisis and there is nowhere for mums to turn.
“It is also surprised me how many women who suffered a still birth many years ago still suffer because they never had the chance to talk about their loss.”
Ashley had spent a month in Ninewells because of concerns about her pregnancy, she was later admitted to hospital on Christmas Eve before going into premature labour.
She then suffered placental abruption, when the placenta separates early from the uterus, and tragically little Noah didn’t survive.
Not long after Noah’s death Ashley began making up special baby packs for premature and stillborn babies and delivering them to the neonatal unit at Ninewells Hospital.
Now Ashley has decided to expand Itty Bitty Baby Things For Angel Wings Tayside into a support group for mums who lose their babies, so they can get help each other get through the heartache together.
She said: “I know I got some help at the time thanks to bereavement counselling but if you lose a child there isn’t too much ongoing counselling unless you are having another baby.
“At that stage there is counselling available but I think there is a gap where ongoing counselling is needed even if you don’t go on to have another baby.
“I know it stopped for me. I suffered numerous complications so I don’t know if I will be able to have another baby and I don’t feel there is enough guidance and help out there for people in similar situations to mine.”
And Ashley has already had a huge response to her group, which is also aimed at dads and other family members.
She added: “I want to offer support not only to mums and dads but also to grandparents in Tayside who all suffer heartbreak because of a stillbirth.
“The response has been amazing but a little overwhelming, but we know how much this is needed and the response tells us all we need to know.”
“I think the greatest need is for follow-up bereavement counselling.
“I felt that if we could form a group of people who have all suffered in this way we can support each other.
“We understand what it is like and by forming the group there is somewhere for others to turn where they know they will be understood.”
The initial aim was to ensure that mums who have had a stillbirth have suitable clothes to dress their newborns.
She said: “The aim is to provide babies with clothing so they can be dressed with dignity like they deserve, and to bring the families facing this devastation some comfort if possible.”
An online fundraiser has previously been set up and the group has already donated several garments to Ninewells Hospital.
Donations can be given by searching for Ashley Stevens in the crowdfunding section of JustGiving.