Parent support group at Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath to hold last meeting

Pamela Parsons with helpers from Midwives and Parents Support (MAPS)
Pamela Parsons with helpers from Midwives and Parents Support (MAPS)

A group which offers support and counselling to parents who have lost their babies will be holding its last ever meeting next month.

MAPS (Midwives And Parents Support) has been supporting parents in Mid Sussex since 1991.

Pamela Parsons

Pamela Parsons

It has been holding free monthly meetings at the Princess Royal Hospital aiming to offer a ‘safe environment’ for parents to come and meet with others who have had similar experiences.

The group was set up by Pamela Parsons, who worked for the NHS as a nurse and midwife for 40 years at the old Cuckfield Hospital and Princess Royal.

Pamela, who is now 72, said unfortunately the time had come for her to leave, due to ill health in her family.

She said: “With great sadness this is the time to go, I would like to thank everybody for trusting me with this part of their lives, that they never envisaged, and that they felt they could share with me. I feel very privileged.

“Unfortunately the ladies who help me do not feel qualified enough to carry on so MAPS will come to an end on December 31.

“When we started there was nothing like us around but there are now many groups like us.”

READ MORE: Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill to be demolished and turned into car park

Pamela started the group while working as a midwife. She said a woman came in to hospital to have her second baby, but tragically it was stillborn.

She said the two of them bonded in hospital and when the woman went home she would phone her, but she could not give her the time she needed.

Pamela said she wanted to support people like this, and she went on to do three counselling courses before starting the group.

She continued to work as a midwife and run the group until 2010, when she retired.

MAPS, which has supported woman who have lost their babies through stillbirth, late miscarriage, neonatal death (cot death) or termination for fetal abnormalities, has held a memorial service for lost babies every year.

It held its final one on Sunday at Gateway Baptist Church in Burgess Hill.

Pamela said around 250 people attended the ‘wonderful and emotional service’. The 72-year-old decorated 88 candles herself for the occasion.

The last MAPS meeting takes place at 7.30pm on Friday, December 7, in the room adjacent to the antenatal clinic at the Princess Royal.