Sheffield woman backs call for a miscarriage and stillbirth memorial in the city

A Sheffield woman is backing a call for a miscarriage and stillbirth memorial space in the city and says more should be done to curb insensitive medical care for women who have lost their babies.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 10:40 am
Updated Monday, 22nd November 2021, 10:40 am
Cheryl Ellen at home in Shefffield

Cheryl Barnett Ellen, aged 41 and from Greenhill, experienced a miscarriage 16 years ago and struggled with the loss for a long time.

She supports the efforts of Sheffield equality campaigner Chrissy Meleady, who with Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake, has held meetings with Sheffield Council concerning the creation of a dedicated memorial space for people who have had miscarriages and stillbirths.

Cheryl said: “I strongly believe the memorial space is important. “It means you have somewhere to go - when you have a miscarriage you literally walk away with nothing.

Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council Coun Julie Grocutt

"You walk in pregnant and leave with absolutely nothing. I think you should be given something - it’s a life at the end of the day. “You should have some sort of recognition that you have had that child and that they did exist.

"If it had been an option I would have happily have used a memorial space. It will help people to deal with that trauma.

"My husband was really supportive all the way through, he was upset, but he was trying to be strong for me. A memorial space would help all of the family, grandparents, siblings and husbands.”

Cheryl said she was told by a medical worker that she should be grateful that she already had a child and that it may have been a blessing that she had a miscarriage as the child could have been born with health problems.

Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake has spoke in parliament in support of improving miscarriage care.

She added: “That’s not a very nice thing to say to someone. I want anyone else that has to go through what I went through to have a better experience than I did.

"They kept sending through the post reminders that we have these hospital appointments.

"I was even having health visitors knocking on my door asking if I had had the child six months down the line. There’s no communication between departments which causes more upset.”

Chrissy Meleady has supported families through miscarriages and stillbirths. Sheffield Hallam MP Ms Blake has also campaigned on the issue after experiencing a miscarriage herself.

Chrissy said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that the council have agreed to the request to have a dedicated memorial space in the city.

"It is something greatly needed and will bring a lot of solace to grieving parents and their families who may wish to avail of it.”

Coun Julie Grocutt, deputy leader and executive member for community engagement and governance of Sheffield Council, said: “Losing a baby is a devastating and painful experience that sadly many, many families are affected by.

"Pregnancy loss and baby death can happen to any family at any time, and it is so important that we are open and honest about the grief and loss families face.

“We are committed to ensuring that we provide appropriate services to bereaved families in the city so that they feel supported, seen and know that they are not alone.

“We will review the services we currently offer to identify opportunities for how we can support these families even better. “Once we have this information, we can then start to explore the most appropriate options for honouring baby loss in Sheffield, that meets the needs of those who have tragically experienced it.”