Bereaved dad takes on London Marathon so The Whittington can support more parents of stillborn children

Jonathan and Amy with their children Zoe and Annie. Picture: Michael Bertolasi

Jonathan and Amy with their children Zoe and Annie. Picture: Michael Bertolasi - Credit: Archant

A bereaved dad is running the London Marathon for The Whittington – so other parents whose children are stillborn can benefit from the support he did.

Jonathan Abrams and his wife Amy hope to create a legacy for their daughter Arella, “angel” in Hebrew, who died in 2012.

They want to break the taboo on stillbirths, which happens in about one in 200 births in the UK.

The Hampstead Garden Suburb solicitors have had two more daughters, Zoe, three, and Annie, two, but Jonathan thinks of Arella every day.

Amy went for a routine check-up a week before the due date, when she was told the tragic news that her daughter had no heartbeat.

Jonathan described: “We were catapulted into an unknown world which was the opposite of where we should have been.

“It was almost like a ‘sliding doors’ moment where really we should have been planning to have a newborn baby, but we were transported to an alien world which was almost like a nightmare, of planning for the total opposite.

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“Really from then on, our life changed.

“I had a very acute understanding of how fragile life is.”

Jonathan is very grateful for the “amazing” support from The Whittington, especially as not all hospitals have a bereavement midwife – a midwife who is specially trained in supporting parents who lose a child.

Their bereavement midwife, Jane Laking, was a great friend and support for Amy following Arella’s stillbirth and went on to deliver her daughters Zoe and Annie.

Jonathan wants to raise money so that The Whittington can train midwives how to give support in the event of a stillbirth.

The solicitor will also buy equipment such as a cold “cuddle cot”, which allows bereaved parents to spend more time with their child, as well as for friends and family to visit.

When Arella was born, Jonathan described how she had “beautiful dark hair” and looked as if she was sleeping.

The couple were able to take some photographs of her, and were given some fingerprints and a lock of her hair to take home.

Jonathan is happy that because he is running a marathon for Arella, more people are thinking of her and writing her name in messages.

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