Warning: This mum’s story may be triggering to some readers.
Everyone deals with grief differently, and one heartbroken mum had a unique and touching way of honouring her child’s memory.
Kim Stephens and Si Down from Cornwall, England, were heartbroken when their fourth child was stillborn in March, but Kim came up with a way she could always keep her late daughter, Olivia-Rose, close to her heart — and in her arms.
The mum had a cast made of her hands, that she then laid in her baby girl’s coffin so that she’d always be in her mother’s arms. The family also placed photos of their other three children with her.
“I had casts made of my own hands so I could cuddle her,” Kim tells news service SWNS, “I wanted to feel like she had me cuddling her forever and I thought that I couldn’t do it any other way.”
“I had casts made of her hands and feet, so I thought it would be a good idea to have casts of my hands made too.
“It makes me feel closer to her, makes me feel like I’m with her still. I’ve got her hand and she’s got mine, it’s like a link.”
Kim had a 4-D scan of Olivia-Rose just days before her birth, and at that point everything appeared normal, and she says that after her daughter’s birth, experts weren’t able to determine what had happened.
The family held Olivia-Rose’s funeral last week, and it was well attended by their local community. The event included a horse-drawn carriage procession with Olivia-Rose’s coffin, and attendees laid pink roses in her honour.
Kim says that stillbirths are still a ‘taboo subject’ and that she hopes her daughter’s story brings awareness to the issue’ She joins other mums sharing their experiences with stillbirth, and their stories are vital to the conversation, even if they’re difficult to hear.
A study on stillbirth’s impact published in PLOS One in January, saw four themes among grieving parents: “maintaining hope, importance of the personhood of the baby, protective care and relationships (personal and professional).”
The funeral and hand cast seem to fall into all of these categories, though no two people’s grieving methods are the same. Kim found a way to feel connected to her late daughter, even after her funeral.
For support on miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death you can visit Sands.