Support bereaved families in Baby Sasha's memory

Our magic baby boy, Sasha Pantelic Pilard, was born sleeping on 21st January 2022, three weeks before his due date. It was both the saddest and most beautiful day of our lives; we knew this was our goodbye to Sasha but we got to see his beautiful face for the first time. We call Sasha our magic boy because, despite his short life, he brought immense love and joy to those he met and he continues to inspire love, care and kindness after his passing.
We would like to help Sasha continue reaching the hearts of others by raising awareness around stillbirth, and fundraising for a bereavement suite  in a hospital that needs it, so that other bereaved parents can soak up their babies’ magic. We are in contact with bereavement midwives and SANDS to find the right hospital in need.
Before Sasha passed away, we lived in a world where stillbirths didn’t happen, or so we thought. We had a physically easy pregnancy, and our anxieties which then seemed immense were quite simple – What kind of parents would we be? How much parental leave could we afford? On the evening of the 18th January we went into hospital expecting to be reassured about Sasha’s reduced movements, thinking we were just being our overly anxious selves. We will never forget the sonographer’s look in her eyes when after desperately searching for Sasha’s heartbeat she said ‘I am so sorry’. Our lives fell apart with four words.
We were then brought into the hospital’s bereavement suite, which had a bedroom, ensuite bathroom and an adjacent clinical room for birthing. We had another two days before Sasha could be induced and it was in this space that we were able to come to terms with Sasha’s death, start grieving and prepare for the birth with the invaluable support of the midwives. This care and space meant that we were able to have a surprisingly positive birth experience. After Sasha was born, we had time and privacy to cuddle him, kiss his beautiful face, smell him, and make precious memories that we will cherish forever.
All around the UK there are still many hospitals where grieving parents have to birth their sleeping babies surrounded by joyful cries of parents and living babies nearby. This can compound the trauma of losing a child and is incredibly distressing. We were so lucky to have had our own space with Sasha and cannot imagine how devastating it must be for those who do not have the privacy to connect deeply with their baby’s magic, people who feel rushed and have to say goodbye to their babies on busy labour wards. Bereavement suites are designed in consultation with bereaved parents, paying close attention to detail so as to prevent further aggravation to families experiencing stillbirth or neonatal loss. For example, a cold cot is provided so that the parents don’t have to visit their baby in the mortuary, and a double bed allows the birth partner to stay in the suite.
Many people have said to us that nothing can ease the pain of stillbirth but we truly believe that having stayed in the bereavement suite is helping us grieve. People also say that there is nothing worse than losing a child but there is: it is the possibility that they might be forgotten. Parents who do not have access to a bereavement suite are less likely to be able to make the most of the short time they have with their babies; to take photographs, make foot and hand prints, to hold and kiss their precious new-born faces. These memories are a lifeline for bereaved parents, and they can be shared with family and friends. Bereaved parents need time, support and space to make memories with their sleeping angels.
We loved the nine months we spent with our baby Sasha. Though our hopes of raising him and caring for him through his childhood are no longer possible, we hope that we can share some of his magic with others.
Marija, Louis and baby Sasha
  • Eilidh Hendry 
    • £50 
    • 26 d
  • Laura Murray 
    • £20 
    • 27 d
  • Jacqueline Baird 
    • £50 
    • 28 d
  • Katie Hendrix 
    • £50 
    • 28 d
  • Alessandra Centola 
    • £10 
    • 28 d
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Marija Pantelic 
Brighton, UK