Bereaved Shoreham mother raises funds for new Worthing Hospital suite

Becky Cobden from Shoreham with Tom Underhill
Becky Cobden from Shoreham with Tom Underhill

A mother whose son Bobby was stillborn is turning her grief to action and raising funds towards the new bereavement suite in the maternity department at Worthing Hospital.

Becky Cobden, 27, of Shoreham, said she had experienced a healthy pregnancy with Bobby, her first child, in the final months of 2016.

She went to hospital to be induced at 41 weeks and five days but, tragically, Bobby was stillborn on December 21.

Becky said: “It was awful, there are no other words to describe it. It’s the most heartbreaking thing.”

A non-invasive post mortem later revealed there had been an infection in the placenta and a blood clot.

Bobby was kept in a cold cot on the ward with Becky, who said she was ‘so grateful’ to be able to spend time with him.

“The time I spent with him was never going to be enough, those moments I had when I was able to hold him, that was just the best,” she said.

Bobby was then taken to Chestnut Tree House where Becky and her partner, Tom Underhill, 33, could see him over Christmas.

Becky said: “It was amazing. His first Christmas was the first thing we had planned, so to be able to go and see him was really important to us.”

She said the following days were ‘‘a blur’ as the couple organised Bobby’s funeral, which was held on January 11.

It was not until a few weeks later that Becky contacted SANDS, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity, which she had been told about at hospital.

She and Tom attended the charity’s monthly meeting in Shoreham and have been going back ever since.

“It’s a place to talk about your baby and what happened, to let your emotions out,” Becky said.

“Everybody there has experienced the loss of a child, they can relate to how you feel without judgement.”

Becky has now decided to hold a charity fun day to raise funds towards Worthing Hospital’s new bereavement suite, which is still in need of a bathroom.

The suite was not available when Becky was in hospital and she was kept on the delivery suite after giving birth.

“Seeing other new mothers on the ward was ‘quite traumatic’ she said, adding: “They tried to keep me separate from everybody else, but there’s only so much they could do.”

She said of the suite: “I think it’s a really good idea for the sanity of the bereaved parents and to have the privacy to spend time with their child.”

The event from 9.30am to 4pm on Saturday, October 6, will include a cake sale, raffle, tombola, face painting and games.

The Co-op in Shoreham High Street, where Becky has worked for the last three years, is helping to organise the event, which will be held at the Co-op Community Space in Ham Road.

The event follows a quiz held by Becky last year, which raised more than £800 for charity in Bobby’s memory.

Becky said: “It gives me something to focus on. I feel that if I’m doing something for other people, it keeps his memory alive.

“I find people forget over time, they mention him less and less, so it’s nice for me to acknowledge his existence and put it towards something good.”

The fun day will also raise awareness of SANDS and what they can do to help bereaved parents.

Becky said: “It’s the worst time of someone’s life and just knowing you are not alone really does make the world of difference.”

Maggie Davies, nursing director of Western Sussex Hospitals, said: “We are extremely grateful to Rebecca Cobden and her family for planning their marvellous fun day in Shoreham to raise funds for our new maternity bereavement suite in Worthing Hospital.

“We always appreciate the community support we receive, but it is especially touching and very humbling when a family wishes to help others after experiencing such a tragic loss.

“Our thanks go to Rebecca and we wish her and everyone involved all the best with their fundraising.

“The new facilities will make a huge difference to other families going through such difficult and distressing circumstances. Thank you.”

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