Since the onset of the coronavirus, I have been thinking of those parents who have recently lost their baby and how they might be affected by the pandemic.
Five years ago, when my daughter Mia died in utero, the consultants recommended that I continue with my pregnancy so that her twin sister Emma could grow some more. The hospital removed the visiting time restrictions for me.
This meant that friends and family could visit me at any time to offer me support while I waited for the four weeks for the twins to be delivered.
Visits from my family and friends made the wait a little bit easier as I worried about the well-being of Emma my surviving twin and the feared upcoming funeral for my baby Mia who had died.
When my twins were delivered four weeks after Mia’s passing. Our parents, my sister, and her family came into the hospital to meet them. They got to see and hold both Mia and Emma.
Our family meeting Mia at this time was so important for us as we knew it made her so much more real to them.
Our older daughter Alice came into the hospital to meet her sisters too. Two photographers from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Ireland took beautiful remembrance photographs of us all.
I remember the photography session only with feelings of happiness.
When we went home from the hospital, all of our immediate family came to our house the next day and they got the chance to be there for us and for Mia.
We had a small funeral service in our home, and everyone had a chance to see Mia’s little white coffin.
It was lovely to have our family there to comfort us at the most difficult time of our lives.
I cannot imagine how difficult it is to go through the loss of your baby amid this pandemic.
Bereaved parents will have to cry and mourn from a social distance. However, the pandemic has nonetheless encouraged people to think outside the box and develop ways to try to continue to support bereaved parents.
Like everyone else, bereaved parents will turn to technology to connect with other bereaved parents as well as services that offer support.
Everyone is just doing their best in these most difficult of times.
Niamh Connolly-Coyne is mother to three daughters Alice and twins Emma and Mia. Mia passed away a few weeks before she was born. She had a heart condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Niamh lives in Ireland. She set up an awareness / advocacy group for bereaved parents who have experienced loss in a multiple pregnancy called Peas in a Pod: loss in a multiple pregnancy @peasinapodireland. Niamh hopes also to create more awareness and inclusion of the needs of parents who have lost a baby from a multiple pregnancy through campaign and lobbying work.