Baby Loss Awareness Week: The rainbow babies spreading a message of hope

Video report by Granada Reports journalist Zoe Muldoon

Two sets of parents from Lancashire say there is a "light at the end of the tunnel", after baby loss.

Amy and Martin and Megan and Jack spent time at Royal Preston Hospital's bereavement suite last year after losing their babies.

Just over one year later, they have gone on to have 'rainbow babies' - a child that is born after the loss of another.

The couples have shared their stories for Baby Loss Awareness Week, about how their rainbow babies are both a symbol of hope, and a reminder of past heartbreak.

Amy and Martin's story

Amy and Martin Ballatyne's son Louie passed away in April 2021, just two days after he was born.

Amy and Martin with baby Louie in hospital.

The couple spent four precious days with him at Royal Preston Hospital.

Amy and Martin said that the time they spent with Louie was the "best four days" of their lives.

Martin said: "We were even able to get him christened, the support we received was incredible."

Rainbow baby Nathaniel.

Amy gave birth to Nathaniel three months ago, and while overjoyed that their baby boy was born healthy, both parents struggled with feelings of guilt.

Amy said: "It was a rollercoaster of emotions.

"I could hold Nathaniel, kiss him, all the things I couldn't do before. The pain of losing Louie will never go away, but I know there is a light at the end of that very dark tunnel."

Megan and Jack's story

Megan and Jack's baby girl Ophelia is just one week old. But just over a year ago, their daughter Cassidy was stillborn.

The couple were able to spend time with Cassidy at the bereavement suite, thanks to a 'cuddle cot', which preserves a baby's body for up to five days.

Megan and Jack spent six days with Cassidy in hospital.

Jack said: "Knowing that we weren't going to take Cassidy home was really painful, but at the same time, it was nice to make memories with her."

Rainbow baby Ophelia is happy and healthy, but Cassidy is never far from their thoughts.

Like Amy and Martin, Megan and Jack have struggled with feelings of guilt.

Rainbow baby Ophelia.

Megan said: "Being happy about having her here, when my other child is's a strange feeling to feel happy about that."

Both couples want to end the stigma around baby loss, and they've have been fundraising for BabyBeat - a charity for Royal Preston Hospital's maternity unit.

Bereavement midwife Claire Braithwaite supported the two couples when their babies passed away.

She says reaching out to grieving parents can be a lifeline.

Claire said: "All parents want to talk about their baby.

"If their baby has died, please ask them those same questions."

Amy, Martin, Megan and Jack hope other families will take comfort from their experiences, as their rainbow babies help them weather the storm.

What is Baby Loss Awareness Week?

Baby Loss Awareness week takes place every year from 9 - 15 October and aims to raise awareness of baby loss in the UK.

Charity Sands describes it as "a time for everyone in the baby loss community and beyond to come together, to remember our much-loved and missed babies, and raise awareness of pregnancy and baby loss."

For support and help:

Baby Loss Awareness Week: Where to find support