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We’re delighted to have launched a new counselling service in Harlow….

Petals, the baby loss counselling charity, is opening a new branch of its service at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) today in Harlow.

After seeing the devastating psychological impact of baby loss on parents coming through the hospital, local bereavement midwife Debbie Bridgewater launched an ambitious plan to raise the funds needed for a pilot year, and to secure a counselling room within the hospital.

“So many of those who have supported us have been bereaved families who want to ensure that Petals is available for anyone who might need them in Harlow in the future. It is always so inspiring to see parents who have suffered the loss of a baby act so selflessly at such a difficult time”, explained Debbie.

Fundraising efforts have included an abseil down Harlow Water Tower which many PAH Harlow staff and supporters took part in. To celebrate the launch, there is a 34-mile fundraising walk taking place this Saturday from Petals’ original service at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge to their newest at PAH, organised by local couple Catherine and Sam Dodd in memory of their daughter Grace.

As a result of all of these efforts, Petals counsellors will now be able to offer support to any parents at PAH Harlow who experience miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss.

PAH Harlow joins other progressive hospitals in Cambridge, London, Oxford and Ipswich that have all recognised the fundamental importance of psychological care for bereaved parents after the loss of a baby. Petals services in those areas have all proved hugely successful and the charity has high hopes for the latest addition.

Karen Burgess, Chief Executive of Petals said, “This project is an inspiring collaboration of hospital staff, bereaved parents, community and charity supporters.  Everyone involved can take pride in the launch of Petals counselling service in Harlow with the knowledge that bereaved parents at the Princess Alexandra maternity service will now have the option of our specialist counselling support”.

The launch coincides with Baby Loss Awareness Week, which runs every year from 9-15 October.