All for Jessica – mum’s Foundation aims high

The Jessica Sherman Foundation supports bereaved parents of stillborn babies
The Jessica Sherman Foundation supports bereaved parents of stillborn babies

A MOTHER is working to help comfort and support bereaved parents of stillborn babies in the city.

Ruth Sherman set up The Jessica Sherman Foundation in memory of her second daughter, who was stillborn in 2007.

Its main aim is to raise enough money to open a retreat providing counselling, a day centre and memorial garden for bereaved parents, friends and family.

Ruth, who lives in West Bletchley with her husband Graham, was already mother to two-year-olddaughter Amelia when she and Graham discovered she was pregnant.

The pregnancy was perfect until a slight scare at 36 weeks, she said.

Sadly, during a check up at 38 weeks, the midwife could not find the baby’s heartbeat.

Ruth remembers: “I kept imagining it was all a dream.

“The consultant confirmed that our baby had died and went through what would happen next.”

Jessica Lillie Grace was born at 39 weeks, on July 21, 2007.

It is for her daughter that Ruth is determined to make the Foundation the best it can be. She said: “Jessica would have been five this year and I finally feel ready to fulfil a dream since having her.

“We wanted to go away shortly after Jessica died but could not find anywhere that catered for bereaved parents.

“I want to help other parents and their friends and families, give them somewhere to go and stay, where people understand what they are going through.

“Unfortunately, stillborn and neonatal death is still a huge taboo subject and a lot of people can be very cruel so we also want to raise awareness.”

The Foundation holds monthly gatherings for anyone affected by the loss of a baby.

They are held on the first Tuesday of the month at Rectory Cottages in Bletchley, starting at 7.30pm.

Upcoming events include a sponsored 30-mile walk/ride from Dunstable to Olney Green Burial Ground on October 28 and a Christmas fun day at DeVere Harben in Newport Pagnell on December 2.

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