Wigan mum breaks taboo on talking about infancy death

Lisa Sharrock with baby Archer
Lisa Sharrock with baby Archer

A Wigan mum whose daughter died at birth is reaching out to people across the globe to change the way people talk about infancy death.

Lisa Sharrock, founder of Still a Mama support group, has touched the lives of people all over the world thanks to her openness about the death of her daughter Gracie-Rose.

The 34-year-old from Appley Bridge set up the group after discovering a huge lack of communication surrounding the subject of infancy death, miscarriages and stillbirths.

Since launching the site three years ago, Lisa has made big steps in bringing people together and has even jumped out of a plane in memory of infants who have lost their lives.

“When it happened to me, I just thought stillbirths were something that happened years ago,” she said. “Because no one talks about it.

“It was a massive blow and how society in general views it is awful. I think a lot of people think because it’s a baby, it’s not a real life, they think you can just have another one.”

Lisa, who is also mum to six-month-old Archer, said that she started to realise that the subject was taboo when she told people about Gracie-Rose.

“I had one woman pick up her child and walk away from me,” she said. “Someone told me they would far rather lose a baby than her son, who was 19.

“I set up the page on Instagram as an outlet, I didn’t know what to do with my intense grief.

“It is really isolating. It’s quite common with baby loss that people just don’t understand, they think it’s not as significant or they don’t know what to say.

“It isn’t anyone’s fault, it is just due to the fact there is no understanding or awareness about how to deal with it.

“The page managed to break that taboo. I have had women who are 70, 80 years old messaging me saying that they hadn’t talked about their experiences.”

In July, to mark what would have been Gracie-Rose’s third birthday, Lisa wrote the names of babies from across the world onto hundreds of freeze-dried petals and released them during a sky-dive.

Each parent sponsored their petal and the money is being put towards creating DVDs of documentary Still Loved, a film about stillbirth that was deemed too sad for mainstream TV.

“The aim is to get the film put onto a DVD to be included within a training pack so that it can be used in universities and hospitals for education purposes as well as raise awareness and break the silence of stillbirth in society,” she added.

On top of this, Lisa has been working behind the scenes with Whitworth Art Gallery to set up creative workshops for parents to express their feelings about baby loss.

Starting in October, which is baby loss awareness month, the Manchester-based art gallery will host a monthly workshop with a view to the art being exhibited next year.

“The idea is that it will be national,” she added. “Hopefully it will involve people suffering in other countries too.”

Since launching her Instagram page Lisa has amassed more than 7,000 followers, with another 1,600 on her Facebook page.

To find out more about Still a Mama visit www.facebook.com/stillamama or www.stillamama.co.uk

To donate to the Still Loved campaign visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lisa-wil