BEING a mother who experienced both a stillbirth and miscarriage, Army spouse Amy Woodbridge was keen to set up a supportive group in Germany for those away from their family and friends.
Amy found on a previous posting in Wiltshire that access to support, particularly unique to the military community, was not forthcoming: “My nearest SANDS (the stillbirth and neonatal death charity) group was in Southampton – an hour away – and driving back in the dark after an emotional few hours wasn’t a workable solution.”
Her experiences got her thinking about how families access help in Germany and so the BFG baby loss support group was formed.
“The group provides a comfortable space for those who do want to talk about their loss, regardless of the timeframe – be that mothers, fathers or grandparents – or simply to make friends and have a coffee,” said Amy.
“It can be difficult to know if you can or should mention it to new friends when you arrive on posting and whether the person you’re confiding in will feel uncomfortable if you do.
“It can also feel incredibly awkward when people ask you if you’re going to have children or another baby.”
Amy began promoting the new group through BFBS and a Facebook page. “I’m currently trying to set up an evening meeting for families who are working,” she said.
Normandy Barracks welfare centre has also been supportive and welfare officers have helped to spread the word.
Amy has received good feedback. Attendee Emma Jane said: “Amy is such a lovely and kind person. Setting up the group and reaching out to parents like me who have also lost a child was so needed.
“Amy has made the community a better place by introducing a safe, comforting group, which has helped me so much.”
Amy hopes to set up more groups and influence others to start their own throughout the military community.
“I hope that wherever military families are posted, there will always be support and an instant connection with those who have similarly suffered,” she added.
AFF’s Paderborn Co-ordinator Gemma Richardson added: “Amy has gone the extra mile for families.
“She has provided a support service for people at their most vulnerable, for the most heart-rending issue we as parents, or prospective parents, dread and face.
“The BFG baby loss group is a wonderful environment where those who are affected can freely talk about their experiences and feelings.”
If you are affected by this story and would like support, the following organisations can help:
Amy is our spring Community Champion and wins a Rosie-Lee DAB Digital Radio & Bluetooth speaker (RRP £129.99) from British brand VQ.
VQ has also offered all Army&You readers an exclusive offer to save £30 on a Rosie-Lee. Visit MyVQ.co.uk and use code ARMYVQ on checkout.
Celebrate your community champion
Do you have a person who works hard to improve Army family life in your area? To nominate them for this award, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Community Champion’ in the subject and a summary of why you think they should win.