The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Imperial College London’s Institute for Reproductive and Developmental Biology to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week and learn more about the National charity’s ongoing efforts to prevents miscarriages and stillbirths. Tommy’s fund research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and provide pregnancy health information to parents. It works with a belief that it is unacceptable that one in four women lose a baby during pregnancy or birth.
Led by Sands, the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance is a collaboration of more than 90 charities taking place between 9-15 October every year. Baby Loss Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about pregnancy and baby loss in the UK. Throughout the week, bereaved parents, and their families and friends, unite with others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy. Sands is the UK stillbirth & neonatal death charity working with many other organizations to break the taboo and to drive tangible improvements in policy, bereavement care and support for anyone affected by the death of a baby.
During the visit, The Duchess was received by Tommy’s Director Prof Phillip Bennett and Chief Executive Jane Brewin. About the visit, Kensington Palace said, “The visit comes during Baby Loss Awareness Week, which aims to provide connection, recognition and commemoration for bereaved parents, in addition to increasing a national understanding of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss. In the UK, it is estimated that one in four pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth. Tommy’s funds pioneering medical research to discover the causes of baby loss and help women at every stage of their pregnancy journey, supporting them and their partners with expert information and care.“
At Tommy’s, Catherine met with the medical experts and learnt more about the research work being conducted at the centre to make pregnancy safer for all. She was also told about the COVID-19 trials being conducted at the centre to understand the risks of COVID-19 to pregnant women and babies. The Duchess of Cambridge carefully peered through microscopes to study cells from a reproductive tract during the tour of the facility.
Catherine also met with parents who are being helped by Tommy’s and heard their heartbreaking stories. Tommy’s have been asking the Brits to light candles during the Baby Loss Awareness Week to remember all the babies lost due to the miscarriage and stillbirth and to stand in solidarity with bereaved parents. Catherine was presented with a candle before she left the centre. The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to many parents during the visit. Their moving stories tell the effects of losing a baby and the traumatic impact it’s had on their lives. From Daily Mail’s report,
Kate met Clare Worgan who admitted that the day her daughter Alice was stillborn was both the best and the worst day of her life, as though her grief she decided to re-train to offer to help other women suffering the same loss. Ms Worgan, 39, who now works for the bereavement charity Sands, which funds research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage, told the duchess that she spent three days in the hospital in Manchester after Alice was born in September 2017.
‘We spent those three days cramming in a lifetime’s worth of memories,’ she said. ‘When she was born, she was absolutely perfect. Her birth was literally the best thing that ever happened to me. And also the worst thing that ever happened to me.
‘When we went home our lives had been turned upside down. We had been devastated. A week after Alice’s funeral I decided I wanted to become a midwife because the care I received was so amazing. I wanted to do what they had done for me.’
The duchess told her: ‘It’s so brave of you to be able to talk so openly. A lot of the research, a lot of the support for organisations, is being driven by parents who have been through this experience, and want to help others. It is so inspirational.’
Kate also met Sarah and Adam Carrick, who suffered four miscarriages after the birth of their first son. The second time she went into labour at 20 weeks and delivered the baby on the bathroom floor. ‘It was very traumatic,’ said Mrs Carrick, 26, a child minder from Tunbridge Wells, Kent. ‘We were told it was bad luck.’
The duchess, she said, was “quite thrown” that she was allowed to have a second miscarriage. ‘You could almost see it in her face, “Are you OK?” I’m fine. I sometimes think to myself, if I hadn’t had the second miscarriage, I would not have heard about Tommy’s,’ she said.
Mr Carrick, 26, a sports coach, told the duchess that as a man it was difficult to find anyone to talk to about it. ‘You go out with your mates, you are playing football… people you see all the time, they find it hard. They end up dodging you a bit,’ he said.
Tommy’s chief executive Jane Brewin said, “Baby loss is often dismissed as “one of those things” and something that “wasn’t meant to be”. This fatalistic attitude contributes to a failure to bring about change. Baby loss is one of the most heart-breaking things any family can experience – and one that’s endured all too frequently, but often quietly, because of this persistent stigma in society.“
Professor Phillip Bennett, director of the research centre, said, “One in four women experience a miscarriage at least once in their reproductive lifetime, and most never find out why because healthcare professionals often simply don’t know: this can and must change. By finding the root causes of miscarriage, we can take steps to stop it from happening… Around half of all early miscarriages are not due to genetic abnormalities, so there must be underlying causes that we can treat“.
A video of the day.
For the day, The Duchess of Cambridge brought back her Emilia Wickstead Kate Dress in Navy Blue.
Catherine first wore the dress in November 2019 at the launch of the National Emergencies Trust in London. The Duchess owns this stunning dresses in lavender too that she wore during Germany visit in 2017 and Mental Health Summit in 2018.
The Duchess of Cambridge brought back her Prada Suede Pointy-toe Pumps.
Catherine was wearing her Spells of Love Alia Hoops that she first wore in August 2020 when she visited Barry Island in Wales with Prince William.
The Duchess of Cambridge chose Amaia Kids Adult Reusable cotton face mask – Blue Pepper during the visit.
In other news, the Royal British Legion has announced today that due to the COVID-19 the annual Remembrance Sunday, March Past the Cenotaph will not take place this year. This decision has been taken by the Government based on expert advice to protect the health and well-being of those who would have been travelling to and participating in the event. At the time being, The service is expected to go ahead with representatives of the Royal Family, the Government, the Armed Forces and the Commonwealth laying wreaths at the Cenotaph and this will be televised.