Lola, our inspiration
Our daughter, Lola, is the inspiration for this project.
We have created The LOLA Project to support bereaved mums and their families to take their first steps towards wellbeing after losing a baby.
LOLA is living memorial to our beautiful, missing daughter. We have poured love and energy into creating it in the hope it will honour her and, in some small way, reflect our deep and abiding love for her.
We have also created The LOLA Project to reflect what Lola taught us about the beauty of human kindness. With the help of some incredibly generous people who have given their time, expertise and energy, we hope to honour the ineffable kindness we were shown after Lola was born, by offering bereaved families much-needed support on wellbeing and healing following the devastating loss of their baby.
The prompt for The LOLA Project
In January 2010 we lost our first baby in an early miscarriage. We were devastated, and this first loss had a huge physical and emotional impact. Later the same year, in September, we lost our second baby. This time, a scan showed our baby had no heartbeat. We were beyond broken. This miscarriage didn’t occur naturally and we faced a long wait, a general anaesthetic and a procedure in hospital. Again, we were broken.
Our third pregnancy, the following year, was baby Lola. Early in her pregnancy we had been told she may be unwell. Really unwell. We had early tests which then reassured us, mistakenly, she was in great health. We were so relieved, and we couldn’t wait to get this pregnancy done, meet her and bring her home, safe and sound. Later, more tests showed she had a had a heart problem, perhaps with other disabilities and challenges too. Although we were terrified for her, we were both still really hopeful. We figured we might be spending a lot of time with her at our local Children’s Hospital, and that being Lola’s parents might be different to what we had expected, but we loved her – utterly – just as she was, and however she needed us. Shortly after, yet more tests showed that Lola wasn’t just unwell. We learned that she had terminal illness, that she would be unlikely to survive the pregnancy, and if she was born she would struggle to live before dying soon after birth. We were suddenly faced with a situation no parent should ever have to face. We were devastated and struggled to know what we could do to support her.
Lola was stillborn on Father’s Day in June 2011. The pain of her loss was indescribable. Afterwards, we struggled to function at all, and found it impossible even to do the most basic things. Things we would ordinarily be able to do simply – such as find information and read it – were completely beyond us.
In particular, we found it very difficult to find the practical information we needed to help us to deal with everything that was happening to us, and to Lola.
We found it hard to locate day to day information we really needed – information aimed specifically at us and which would help us begin to understand this awful and overwhelming situation we had suddenly found ourselves in. We also found it difficult to get help, when we were ready, to begin to recover.
What we wanted was a resource that would help us and those around us to find useful information on baby loss, and help us to to begin our road to recovery after losing Lola.
So, Lola’s project was born, in the hope that we could fill that gap for parents and families who would be suffering terribly after the loss of a baby in the future.
The aims of The LOLA Project
- Support, when you are ready, to take your first steps towards wellbeing after losing a baby. This is especially so for mums, but also for others who are affected by loss.
- Help in finding information about baby loss, whether you are a mum, dad, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, or work colleague who is affected by the loss of a baby.
For Mums, we hope this space will offer you support with things like giving birth to a stillborn child so that you know what to expect, as well tips and information on your health and well-being to help you recover from the enormous grief you are feeling and the physical stress you are going through. The site gives you useful information on therapies you might find helpful and provides you with access to downloadable Yoga and Pilates classes, which have been prepared by qualified practitioners specifically with you – mums who have given birth to stillborn children – in mind, to help you deal with your physical wellbeing post-natally, while also taking account of your deep and intense grief.
For Partners, whether you are dads or mums as well, we at LOLA hope this project will help you with some of the other practical things that you may take the lead in managing at this time, such as planning a funeral for your baby (if that is something you decide to do), or managing a return to work. The site also aims give you practical guidance on finding extra help for yourself or your partner, should you need it.
For Grandparents, other Family and friends, LOLA is intended to help you to understand your own grief, as well as help you to provide support – whether you live near or far from the baby’s parents – and when you might feel at a loss as to what you can do.
LOLA also has personal stories of other parents, their family members and friends for you all to read in the hope that, if you do, you may feel less alone. And it has links to other useful resources, including the wonderful range of charities offering different types of support that you may find helpful to retreat to, and books you may find it helpful to read.
Health professionals and co-workers can also find guidance which is relevant to them. For health professionals, The LOLA Project offers you information on supporting parents who have lost a baby as well as links to professional networks that you may find useful. For co-workers who don’t know what to say or do when their colleague returns to work, LOLA provides some guidance on things that are helpful, and less helpful, to say to any mum or dad who has lost a baby, when they return.
Finally, The LOLA Project has information for anyone of you looking for extra support under the Get Support section; which provides links to charities who you can get in touch with and who have the knowledge and expertise to help you, no matter what stage of pregnancy or parenthood you have lost a child.
At the time we lost Lola, had The LOLA Project been around, it might have helped us to find practical information on topics related to the loss of a baby and help us with all of the things we suddenly needed to think about and do.
It might also have helped Lola’s mum, dad, relatives and friends find ways to help them recover from the physical impact and emotional shock and sadness they were feeling because she was gone.
We hope you will find this space an easy-to-use and helpful source for the practical information you are seeking, while you are suffering so much.
We hope, now that The LOLA Project is here, it will support you in your time of extreme need. And with the help of our incredible practitioners – and Lola – we hope you might, in your own time, begin to recover.
And for our dear Lola, e te mōkai, aroha nui ki a koe. Haere atu rā, e hine, ki tō moenga roa. Kāre rawa koe e warewaretia. Much love to you, our dear little one. Go now, to your eternal rest. You will never be forgotten.