At 102, Marjorie Rigby, has lived through many decades wondering about the location of the resting place of her daughter, who was born stillborn in 1946.
As the BBC reported, during a three-day labor, after a consultation, Rigby overheard the doctor say to the matron on the ward: “This baby is dead. We’ll get her into hospital.” To add to her suffering, “he just spoke to her really, rather than me.”
After having to go through the whole birthing process, the centenarian had no idea what had happened to her child, Laura. As she explained: “I was just taken back to my room and left. No-one came to talk to me and tell me how to get on with life.”
Rigby, who served with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in World War Two, went on to have two more daughters, but little Laura was always in her thoughts.
“Every year I get a new diary at Christmas and the first date I put in is 3 September – Laura’s birthday. Every year for 70-odd years.”
Thankfully, the senior heard the story of another elderly woman who’d been through a similar experience and this spurred Rigby’s daughter, Angela, to do a little investigating. She came across the charity Brief Lives Remembered and reached out to them.
They were able to find the location of Laura’s grave, and explained to the family how they could go about getting the stillborn certificate, which was of great importance to Rigby.
Angela explained that her big sister had been buried in a tiny coffin, and there were four other babies and an adult in the same burial plot.
“We told mum and we went to see the plot and just took a little bunch of flowers from the garden. The look of peace on mum’s face was worth everything. It was just amazing.”
For Rigby, the discovery of her daughter’s resting place has brought much comfort, and she feels a “sort of peace.”
Thankfully today, the medical profession has acknowledged the importance of helping mothers and families grieve the loss of a stillborn child. Often parents get to spend time with their little ones, and to capture meaningful momentos from their short life.
But for the millions of mothers who haven’t had that opportunity, hopefully Rigby’s story will encourage them to try and find not only their own baby’s resting place, but a little comfort, too.