It was great to see Petals in the news this week as we near the launch of our virtual Land’s End to John O’Groats Walk.

The article below appeared on the ITV news website on Tuesday 28th March.

Baby loss charity Petals turning away two grieving parents a day

Hannah Hackett lost baby Noah after giving birth at home at just 20 weeks. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A grieving mother has described how she gave birth to her son in her bathroom at just 20 weeks – as a baby loss charity revealed it was having to turn away two families in need of help every day.

Hannah Hackett was pregnant with her second child when she woke in the middle of the night in pain. After wandering through to the bathroom, her waters broke and she found herself in labour.

“I ended up giving birth to our son,” she explained. “I wasn’t quite 20 weeks.

“He was alive and moving but too early and tiny to breathe on his own.”

Mrs Hackett, who has a seven-year-old son, Josh, with husband Chris, said losing baby Noah was devastating.

“You feel like everything has been ripped out from under you and you don’t know what to do with yourself,” she said. “You find yourself crying all the time.

“And it’s quite difficult to sleep – especially because it happened at home, so you are trying to sleep in the same place it all happened.

“You feel like once you get a certain way through the pregnancy that everything’s going to be ok – but it isn’t always.”

Hannah Hackett will be taking part in a fundraiser to benefit the charity Petals. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In the weeks after Noah’s death, Mrs Hackett, from Over in Cambridgeshire, realised she and her husband were struggling to deal with the trauma and the couple was advised by a friend to talk to baby loss charity Petals.

It offers counselling to parents who have lost a child at any stage of pregnancy or in their first few weeks of life.

“That opportunity to talk through stuff helps you to process what’s happened,” said the mum. “It doesn’t all stay in your head, bottling up, with you ruminating on it.

“You can let it out in a safe space with someone who will just listen and not say the wrong thing because they’re trained.”

Cambridge-based Petals wants to offer counselling to families across the UK and receives funding from a dozen hospitals including Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals, Guys and St Thomas’, Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, and Oxford University Hospitals.

For families not under the care of one of those trusts, the charity is reliant on donations to fund treatment.

But with so much demand for support, it said it had to turn away more than 700 parents last year – the equivalent of around two a day.

The charity said it was “heartbreaking”.

Petals founder and chief executive Karen Burgess said: “Our clients often have unique mental health needs.

“They aren’t only grieving the death of a child or the loss of a pregnancy; many of them have also suffered sudden, deep trauma, which can have a range of long-term consequences if left unprocessed.

“It is our aim to make our service available nationally to all parents who need our help, no matter where they live or the type of loss they have suffered.”

The charity has launched a campaign to help expand its service, kicking off with a sponsored virtual walk.

Supporters, including Mrs Hackett, will walk the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats, tracking their progress with an app.

Mrs Hackett said walking throughout lockdown had helped her mental health and she was keen to combine it with a way of helping other mums.

We want to say a huge thank you to ITV for spreading the word about our fundraising campaign and an even bigger thank you to Hannah for sharing her story so openly.

If you would like to find out more about our Pay it Forward Campaign click HERE.