Birmingham Poet Laureate and friend of our charity, Casey Bailey, has thrown his support behind our Woodland House Appeal to bring a standalone bereavement centre to our hospital, by penning a poignant poem which conveys the pain, anguish and heartbreak experienced by those who lose a baby.

He says: “I started writing poetry to express things that I didn’t know how to process. When writing this poem, I reminded myself how indescribable baby loss is, and how life changing. This is something that many people will never know, and I hope for them that this never changes, but I wanted to use this opportunity to convey the importance of Woodland House and the amazing work that will be done there.”

We have just £1m left to raise to break ground on this much-needed safe space and urgently need your support to make Woodland House a reality for our bereaved families.

 Guidance: this video contains content that some viewers may find upsetting.

Poem Transcript:

Silence isn’t always golden

You haven’t heard the violently loud scream of silence

Until you’ve listened for the words of a sonographer

Who doesn’t know what to say

Or the doctor and the midwife pause for just a little longer than is natural

Until the heartbeat you came to listen to is lost

And your own heart stops for a moment in solidarity


When you look across into the eyes of the person you started this journey with

And see tears rolling like hopelessness into lungs, falling like dreams onto reality


What do you do?

When the world that you’ve been building for months ends before it begins?

There are mothers and fathers who planned paths for their children that will travel beyond their lifetimes to see them live only for hours.


In that room, it feels like more than one life has ended

That room, filled with an emptiness that takes up space in a way that emptiness never should

What do you say?

When a mother has to give birth to a baby that she knows has already lost their fight for life

And she walks down corridors where people tell her “good luck” and “congratulations”

When the world has taken everything from you and doesn’t even have the decency to swallow you whole

When you have the sleepless nights that they promised you, but the tears that keep you awake are your own

Who carries the parents who were meant to carry their child?


When you hold your lifeless child on a maternity ward and hear the cries of babies all around

How should you feel?

How can you feel anything?


At these times we need sanctuary

We need Woodland House at Birmingham Women’s Hospital and we need safe havens just like it everywhere

Where candles flicker and fade

Everywhere that a permanent light was promised and an ever present shadow is left


We need sanctuary

We need space

We need each other, sometimes in person, sometimes in spirit or thought

We need to care for those who only ever wanted the chance to care for another.