The Zephyr’s centre, at Nottingham City Hospital, receives over 1,000 visits per year from bereaved parents and families. The centre, which is run by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, provides support for families who have lost a pregnancy, baby or child of any age.
This week, local mum Charlotte Kingsbury, from Lambley, has been speaking about the difference the Zephyr’s centre has made to her, after she went through years of fertility treatment and several pregnancy losses.
Charlotte, who now has a 17-week old son called Ansel James, said: “My pregnancy with Ansel was my ninth pregnancy, the twelfth baby that I have carried however briefly (due to losing three sets of twins) and one of almost twenty embryos that we either conceived naturally or through IVF in the nine years we’ve been trying to start a family.
“The anxiety and strong emotions I felt throughout my pregnancy are hard to articulate. I have been living with PTSD for years now and it has been hard to find spaces where I have felt safe and able to express my feelings.”
Charlotte was pointed towards the HOPE Pregnancy After Loss support group, which is held at Zephyr’s, while pregnant with Ansel. She explained: “Zephyr’s welcomed me at monthly meetings where I got to connect with other women with experiences like mine, where I could learn about maternity services and baby care in a safe way that recognised how triggering these topics can be, that not only allowed but encouraged me to talk about my miscarried babies, and they introduced me to bereavement midwives and specialist mental health providers as well as offering advice and support at every turn.”
Zephyr’s was created thanks to Carly Williams and Martin Sommerville, from Nottingham, who together with hospital staff, other bereaved parents and local families, fundraised to set up the centre, named after their first son Zephyr who was stillborn in 2013. The centre offers counselling, peer support and creative activities.
Carly, who is now Project Manager of Zephyr’s, said: “Time and again I feel humbled at how Zephyr’s centre plays such a huge and special part in people’s lives through their grieving. Families like Charlotte’s, and so many others, come to us, pour out their hearts, they sob, smile and share in the precious moments and memories of their little ones who have died. Yet far from sombre, the love and compassion that flourishes at Zephyr’s (and digitally as we continue our support online) is absolutely unique, uplifting and beautiful.”
During October, Zephyr’s is inviting people to get active and raise funds by taking part in the ‘Step up for Zephyr’s’ campaign. Participants can get involved by running, walking, cycling, swimming, or taking on any other activity, and raise money for Zephyr’s at the same time. For more information please click here.