Mum Frankie Brunker has written a book about infant death or stillbirth to help siblings cope with their grief.
These Precious Little People tenderly and carefully explains why babies die during pregnancy or soon after birth and is aimed at the youngest people in the family.
"These Precious Little People is a book that explains in honest but gentle language how and why babies die during pregnancy or soon after birth, and touches on the impact this can have on those left mourning them," Frankie tells Mother&Baby.
"It has been designed so that anyone in need of it can use this book as a way to provide a more positive focus during times of grief – to bring comfort but also help them remember a precious part of their family with love and pride."
Frankie adds, "The book has been written using clear-cut language that avoids the euphemisms often associated with death that can be ambiguous and at times unnecessarily frightening for children. The text is written in poetic verse so that it flows well for adults reading it with their children who can follow the rhythm present on the pages but, equally, time can be taken to pause and linger over the stunningly beautiful artwork drawn by Gillian Gamble (and there's plenty of gorgeous little details throughout the book to seek out with children who will enjoy finding them)."
There are a very limited number of books available that offer a bereavement support resource for this circumstance, yet this is not an uncommon experience when an estimated 650 babies were miscarried each day in 2017, an estimated 145 babies were born preterm each day in 2017, there were 3,200 stillbirths in 2017 and there were 2,131 neonatal deaths.
Frankie writes from experience and sadly her first-born Esme died unexpectedly at 38 weeks.
"My first baby died suddenly at 38 weeks and 2 days into a low risk and problem-free pregnancy, and no explanation could be found for her stillbirth."
"The young children in our families needed to be told the tragic news, and it was very difficult to know how to guide them through what was a confusing and upsetting time."
"My instinct was to turn to a picture book to help, and I was inspired to write one myself when I struggled to find one suitable. I wanted something that used straightforward & honest language, imagery that reflected our situation and beliefs, but most of what was available back then just didn’t feel ‘right’, or good enough.
So I decided to write my own and find someone to draw the pictures. I was lucky to connect with an experienced, incredibly talented and generous illustrator, Gillian Gamble, who supported my dream and helped bring this book to life. It’s a creation that we are so proud of."
Frankie now has children Jago, aged 5, and Ayla, aged 2. She hopes the book will help other mums who are going through a similar loss.
"The positive feedback we have had from families has meant the world - it has allowed adults and children alike to start coming to terms with what has happened. It has made them feel less alone, and it has brought them hope that there will be brighter days ahead even though they will always have a 'missing piece'.
"We have also had medical professionals involved with supporting bereaved families contact us to let us know how much they value having access to a bereavement support resource such as this."
You can buy the book or find out more information, below.
(All proceeds go to the charity Joel The Complete Package)
For further advice and support, please visit sands.org.uk