Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

When Our Baby Died My England Mates Were Great ... but We Needed More Help; World Cup-Winning Rugby Star Will Greenwood, Now in New Zealand with the British Lions, Explains Why the Child Bereavement Trust Means So Much to Him ME AND MY CHARITY

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

When Our Baby Died My England Mates Were Great ... but We Needed More Help; World Cup-Winning Rugby Star Will Greenwood, Now in New Zealand with the British Lions, Explains Why the Child Bereavement Trust Means So Much to Him ME AND MY CHARITY

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH EWING

ON FRIDAY 13 September 2002, my pregnant wife, Caroline, suffered a ruptured membrane, and six days later our son, Freddie, was born more than four months premature. He weighed just 1lb 2oz, and was too small to stand a chance. He died an hour later.

After Freddie died, Caroline found out that she had what doctors call an "incompetent cervix", which means her cervix cannot carry a child more than 20 weeks into a pregnancy. Apparently, she was born with this problem.

Losing Freddie was a difficult time for our family. As a parent and a father, you never expect to have a funeral for your child and to carry their coffin. For Caroline to have given birth, only for Freddie to die an hour later, was hard. She felt empty and useless because she believed her job as a mother was to nurture and carry her baby, and she couldn't do that. We couldn't help blaming ourselves.

Everyone tells you how time is a great healer and we had huge support from our friends and family.

My team-mates at Harlequins and England were a great help, both as a sounding board and by trying to lift my spirits. But it can be difficult for friends and family to know what to say. The Child Bereavement Trust is a lifeline. You don't just need help on the night a tragedy happens, it can be for months afterwards, and the trust is there for you.

We knew Jenni Thomas, chair of the trust, through my friend Ben, and she jumped to our aid when Freddie died. That gentle support is what I needed.

Jenni and Ben made sure Caroline and I spent time with Freddie at the hospital where he was in the chapel of rest, before we took him to Nor folk for burial. She made sure we took photos of him and took fingerprints - things we wouldn't have thought to do in our grief. These are our most treasured possessions.

We were looked after well by the staff at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Part of the work of the Child Bereavement Trust is to make doctors and nurses in hospitals aware of the grieving process, to make it as easy as possible for parents who've just lost a child.

Sadly, not all families get the level of support we did because staff don't know how to handle the situation properly. …

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