‘The pain never goes away’ - Mother describes the heartbreak of losing her stillborn baby 50 years ago

PUBLISHED: 09:19 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:35 30 September 2020

Fifty years on, Catherine Flanagan (pictured) describes the long-term heartbreak of losing a stillborn baby. Her son is buried at Eastwood Cemetery. Pictures Archant / Catherine Flanagan

Fifty years on, Catherine Flanagan (pictured) describes the long-term heartbreak of losing a stillborn baby. Her son is buried at Eastwood Cemetery. Pictures Archant / Catherine Flanagan

Archant

Ahead of Baby Loss Awareness Week, a mother whose stillborn baby is buried at Eastwood Cemetery describes how ‘the pain never goes away’.

Catherine Flanagan's baby is buried at Eastwood Cemetery in March. Photo(s): HARRY RUTTERCatherine Flanagan's baby is buried at Eastwood Cemetery in March. Photo(s): HARRY RUTTER

Fifty years ago, Catherine Flanagan experienced complications during her pregnancy and was rushed to Bowthorpe Maternity Hospital in Wisbech.

Very sadly, her first baby was stillborn. And every day, she still thinks about him.

She said: “It’s an experience I will never, ever forget. The pain never goes away.

“I’m always thinking of him. Every year, on July 4, his birthday, I wish him ‘Happy Birthday’. This year would’ve been his 50th.”

Fifty years on, Catherine Flanagan (pictured) has described the long-term heartbreak of losing a stillborn baby. Pictures: Catherine FlanaganFifty years on, Catherine Flanagan (pictured) has described the long-term heartbreak of losing a stillborn baby. Pictures: Catherine Flanagan

At the time Catherine was living in March and her baby, too young to even be christened, was buried in Eastwood Cemetery.

She later had another son, Wayne and a daughter, Lisa. They all now live in Ireland.

Last year, they visited the Fens and Catherine took her children to the cemetery for the first time since she left March in the 70s.

And they were devastated to discover the area where her baby was buried was overgrown with trees and looking untidy.

Catherine, 71, who lives in Limerick, said: “It was so disheartening to see the area in such a terrible state.

“As he died stillborn, he didn’t have a memorial or a grave stone. But when I lost him, I still knew where he was buried.

“However I stood in that cemetery with my children and I couldn’t tell them where their brother was.

“It feels as though that part of the cemetery has been completely forgotten about over time.

“In my opinion, with the state the area was in, you wouldn’t have buried an animal there never mind a tiny and beautiful human being.”

She added: “This may have happened over a year ago, but I’m still terribly upset by it.

“So I want to get in touch with other mothers who went through a similar experience and had their babies buried in Eastwood Cemetery in or around 1970.

“I’d be interested to know if they’re also upset with how that area looks now.

“Then, if there’s quite a few of us, maybe we can put some ideas together to get the area tidied up or a memorial placed there.”

If you would like to contact Catherine, email her son Wayne at wayneflanagan38@gmail.com.

“I may be in Ireland but I’m determined to try and find out if I can make this happen,” Catherine added.

• Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place between October 9-15. For more information, visit the campaign’s website.


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