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Jenny Whatling channels grief into acts of kindness




A grieving mother from Harleston has set up a support group for bereaved families.

PRECIOUS: The memory box which contains Jude’s hand and footprints, a teddy he held and other keepsakes. Picture by Mecha Morton.
PRECIOUS: The memory box which contains Jude’s hand and footprints, a teddy he held and other keepsakes. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Jenny Whatling’s son, Jude, was stillborn at 41 weeks in May, after what she described as a textbook pregnancy.

“On that day, our world crashed to the ground around us. We were hit by a kind of shock and grief that words simply cannot describe,” said Jenny, 30.

Jude was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), where Jenny and her husband Tom were cared for by a team of doctors, midwives and health care assistants.

With the help of specialist bereavement midwife, Jenny set up the Norfolk and Norwich Baby Bereavement Group last month.

Jenny, of Wilderness Close, said: “Our aim is to connect families who have been supported by NNUH’s bereavement team, share support, remember our babies together and support fundraising.

“After losing Jude, our friends and family rallied together to raise money in Jude’s memory. We found out that the maternity department was planning a designated bereavement suite, but needed funds for it.”

To raise money, she created a Random Act of Kindness advent calendar, consisting of 25 envelopes, with each envelope containing a little challenge for children, such as donating toys to charity, or making Christmas cards for neighbours.

Jenny sold 800 calendars and raised £9,000 in Jude’s memory and for the maternity department.

“We were incredibly well cared for during our time at NNUH, but we were on the main delivery suite and could hear babies crying,” recalled Jenny.

“Walking out around people who are preparing to take their babies home was really awful.”

The new bereavement suite will create a comfortable atmosphere for parents to mourn their loss.

Jenny hopes to raise even more money and is planning to have the first group meeting in February.

To donate to the Baby Bereavement Appeal, visit this website.



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