Baby Loss Retreat
1712. Julie Morrison
1713. Bryan Morrison
Julie and Bryan Morrison, from North Lanarkshire, run ‘Baby Loss Retreat’, providing free breaks in Galloway and the Scottish Highlands for families who have lost a baby to help relieve the emotional and psychological suffering they have faced from early birth bereavement.
Julie and Bryan lost their daughter Erin in 2003, who was stillborn at 37 weeks. They struggled to find the support and aftercare they needed, but found that taking time away together after the funeral was beneficial in allowing space to reflect. The couple wanted to provide similar benefits for other families experiencing the loss of a baby, whether through miscarriage, stillborn, IVF, neonatal death or medical termination. Since establishing ‘Baby Loss Retreat’ in 2018, they have helped over 450 parents from across the UK, offering not only two days respite on a chosen retreat but also counselling and trauma therapy.
In a personal letter to Julie and Bryan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I wanted to write to thank you for the extraordinary courage you have both shown in helping other families who face the heartbreaking loss of a child, through ‘Baby Loss Retreat’.
“The breaks you offer to bereaved families will not lessen their grief but will provide the space away from day to day lives to spend time together in the darkest times. In doing so, you have created an enduring tribute to your daughter Erin.”
“I am absolutely delighted to be given the recognition and being named as a Point of Light. Everyday I do this to make sure that every parent gets the proper care and support as I didn’t get this when I lost Erin. This has been a challenging time during the lockdowns and COVID restrictions with parents who lost a baby and are sitting in isolation. The charity adapted to this through counselling online or over the phone. We also set up a welfare check on the chats to make sure they had someone to talk to. Thank you very much for this award. When we receive these it makes me feel happy that the charity is doing the right thing.”
“I am immensely proud of receiving this award and want to dedicate this to everyone who helps the charity as well. Their support, when we are really busy, is very welcome. As a Father who lost a baby I found it hard to open up about my loss. I understand the pain the fathers are going through and how hard it is to open up and express your feelings. Men are sometimes seen as the strong ones to make sure everything is okay but it’s not the case. They need the help and support as much as the mother. Thank you for this Points of Light award and making the charity plus myself and Julie important.”
Fulton MacGregor, MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, said:
“I have known Bryan and Julie since they first set up the ‘Baby Loss Retreat’. Using their own experiences they realised that there was a gap in provision of services – namely supporting families to have a short break if they desired this following baby loss. They have quickly grown and expended their services to include counselling an advocacy and I am very proud that this Scottish and UK-wide service started and is still run in Coatbridge where I represent. I can think of no better organisation to receive such an award and the charity continue to have my full support.”