Baby Loss Awareness Week: How Chestnut Tree House Hospice Supports Families


In 2017, Fiona became pregnant with her third child, Joshua. Throughout the pregnancy, Fiona, who then had two children, Benjamin and Lottie, knew something was wrong. “I was complaining about not moving throughout my pregnancy, so, eight months pregnant, I went for a private scanner,” Fiona said. “They quickly rushed us for an MRI where we discovered Joshua had brain damage from toxoplasmosis. “

Toxoplasmosis is an infection that can damage a baby’s eyes, nervous system, skin, and ears.

“We found that Joshua’s brain had started to deteriorate from toxoplasmosis,” Fiona explained, “and that he would die during childbirth or a few hours after labor.”

Fiona and her husband

“When you hear that your baby has no chance to live, it seems like you are the only person in the world in pain. The silence around you becomes intense and the outside world becomes blurry.

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During this difficult time, the family was supported by the children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House, which supports families in East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South East Hampshire.

The family was able to spend a special time with Joshua and say goodbye to him in their own way.

“I will always be grateful for Chestnut Tree House. They gave me time to spend with Joshua and do everything I did with my other kids – read a book, change clothes and spend time cuddling him, ”said Fiona.

“The staff were amazing, they had so much respect not only for me but also for Joshua. It’s the simple things that made such a difference. They talked to him, spent time with him, and even knocked on the door before entering the room.

“Chestnut Tree House is so special to us. We have a pebble in the gardens over there with Joshua’s name on it, and that’s where we’re going to think about it. This is where Joshua spent his last days on earth.

“Giving birth to a precious child that you have carried and dreamed of raising, knowing that he has no chance to live, is the worst thing there is. I don’t think we would have been through what we have been through without Chestnut Tree House. They gave us the strength to go through such a difficult time. “

Each year the family celebrates Joshua’s birthday in his memory: “We have a cake, candles and a tea party in his memory. Joshua is an integral part of our family home and we are fortunate to have his birth certificate and photos of him in our home.

Expressing why she wanted to share Joshua’s story, Fiona said, “The hardest thing I’ve ever faced was leaving the hospital after birth without my baby. There is always and there is will always have a void that I carry, but I want to let mothers and fathers know that they are not alone.

If you are touched by Fiona’s story and would like to speak with someone, please send an email [email protected]

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