A COUPLE who lost their son to a miscarriage plan to use their experience to help others.
Gareth and Rachel Brann are setting up a local support group for SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal charity.
The group – to be based at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary – will bring vital help to parents not only living in the town but from further afield.
The Linthwaite couple were inspired to start a local group after their own heartbreak led them to a group in Oldham.
They lost their son Mason at 22 weeks, which was just over half way through the normal pregnancy period.
Doctors had not expected any problems and no reason for his sudden arrival was ever found.
The couple looked for support to help them cope with their sudden and unexpected bereavement.
Gareth, who works as a security guard, said: “Once you get past the 12 weeks stage (of pregnancy) you think everything is fine, you’re not prepared for things going wrong.
“It was the most awful time and we couldn’t really talk to family and friends because somebody hasn’t been through it they don’t know how you feel.”
The couple found SANDS and after reading about its work went to their first meeting.
Gareth said: “It wasn’t a charity we knew anything about, my auntie was a nurse and told us about it.
“My wife spent the first few weeks looking at the message boards. She would look at them for hours, reading about other people’s experiences.”
Gareth, 30, and Rachel, 31, went to the group a month after their son’s death and haven’t looked back.
Since then they have made some good friends, helped organise fundraisers from a sponsored walk to a masquerade ball to boost the charity by thousands of pounds.
Members have been there for them through not only the tough times but also the more joyous occasions.
In August 2010 the couple welcomed their son Ethan, now 18 months, to the world.
When their little one got a bit older, the pair’s attention turned to giving something back to the charity that had helped them so much.
They both completed befriender training and plan to hold their meetings at the Lindley hospital on the first Wednesday of the month, starting next month.
It will join a number of the charity’s groups, which are all over the country and run by volunteers.
But amazingly the group in Huddersfield will be the first for locals for some time.
Gareth said: “There used to be a group in the town but I think that was 10 years ago.
“There’s been nothing in West Yorkshire – apart from a group in Leeds – so this will be for people from Huddersfield, Halifax and further afield.
“Since the maternity services went from Huddersfield a massive 98% of people who lose their babies are at Calderdale.
“We have been helped so much by the charity and we wanted to give something back.
“It’s a catch-22 situation, we don’t want people to come to us because that means they have lost a baby and been through a terrible time.
“But hopefully we can use our experience to show them that things can get easier.”
To attend the group or for more information call 07867 912987 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.