My Visit To Zephyr's Nottingham
In the midst of busy hospital grounds, there stands an oasis of calm.
Having never been to Zephyr’s before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
I had heard the name Zephyr’s being mentioned in various places, but I wasn’t fully sure of its purpose in the community.
I then met Carly initially when I attended a midwifery conference and heard her speak of her story relating to the birth of her son who gained his angel wings far too soon.
My heart was changed that day, and I was in awe of what a beautiful service she and her partner Martin had provided borne out of their own experiences and in memory of their son Zephyr.
Then again, in doing some research for an Infant Loss assignment that I was writing, I came across Zephyr’s again and realised how blessed we are to have such a service on our doorstep as so many others do not have anything like this to turn to.
I also saw that there were ways to fundraise for them.
I signed up to the Sunrise 5K and lots of friends and clients sponsored me. It was wonderful to do something completely out of my comfort zone and to raise the money as well.
But it wasn’t until I stepped into Zephyr’s myself that I fully understood the impact and the significance and the full importance of this space being in existence.
Walking in, there is an overwhelming feeling of love that you envelops you.
This is a space where a grieving family can be held, supported, feel safe and remember their babies, who should be with them but for many reasons are not, with no fear of judgement and for however long the family needs and wants that support.
I was greatly touched by the care in the little details; slippers by the door to wear, each room beautifully and cosily decorated so that you feel like you are stepping into the home of a dear friend who is there for you through your grieving process rather that stepping into a hospital building.
Carly and Martin even chose the most non-toxic eco-friendly paint for their walls which struck me just how much they care.
So what does Zephyr’s currently provide?
Zephyr’s provides a space where families and consultants, bereavement midwives and nurses can meet in a non clinical space without the need to go through the maternity wards as was the case in the past.
It also provides a day a week of bereavement counselling and two days where someone is there to sit with and talk to those whose lives have been forever changed by the loss of a baby.
The centre organises crafting activities which give bereaved families a chance to connect with others who are travelling the same difficult path so that they can be a support for each other.
There is also a group called Hope which runs and provides a space for families who are expecting babies after loss to come and seek help and ask questions relating to any issues and fears this might raise.
While there, I asked Carly what the hopes of the charity were in terms of future development.
Some of the things she said she would love to see is the centre being available with someone there in the evening hours as well so that people who have had to return to work can still access support at a time that is convenient.
Another service that she would love for Zephyr’s to be able to provide is play therapy for the siblings who have lost a baby brother or sister. The nearest local centres for this are quite a distance away and often with very long waiting lists. It would be wonderful to be able to have this service available locally.
All of these things take people power and money to be able to bring into being.
Perhaps you feel that you have some skills or time that you would like to give and volunteer, or maybe you feel that you would like to donate money to further the development of this valuable resource for grieving families.
If so, you can contact and donate to Zephyr’s here.
If your life has been touched by losing a baby or maybe a family member or friend has lost a baby, Zephyr’s is currently running the October Spiral In Honour Project where you can have the name of the babies or children gone too soon added to the handmade spiral art piece that will be on display at Zephyr’s and raise funds so that the charity can continue to provide and expand the service for grieving families. They are half way to their target of £500, and it would be wonderful to see them reach and exceed that while honouring those babies.
Special thanks to Carly for inviting me into the space and for allowing me to use the images from the centre.