The Duchess of Cambridge met parents and charity workers during a poignant visit amid Baby Loss Awareness Week

By Simon Perry
October 15, 2020 01:22 PM
Kate Middleton at Imperial College

Kate Middleton showed special empathy towards a group of fellow parents who experienced pregnancy loss.

During an outing on Wednesday, the royal mom of three, 38, spoke with the group about the trauma of losing a child and heard their inspiring stories of how they are supporting others who go through the heart-wrenching bereavement.

Kate made her first visit to a London research facility to see the work of the non-profit, Tommy’s, which not only supports parents but helps fund research to find causes of pregnancy loss and miscarriage.

Staff from Tommy’s and another charity, Sands, which provides support to bereaved parents, told her about the importance of emotional support for parents and the whole family and the practical help they offer to anyone affected. One woman, Clare Worgan, spoke about how the loss of her baby girl, Alice, who was stillborn, inspired her to become a midwife.

Kate Middleton

“When we went home our lives had been turned upside down. We had been devastated," Worgan said. “A week after Alice’s funeral I decided I wanted to become a midwife, because the care I received was so amazing. I wanted to do what they had done for me.”

Chief executive of Tommy’s, Jane Brewin, tells PEOPLE that Kate was "impressed" the parents "were doing things to make sure that their child didn’t die in vain, that there was a legacy for their child.”

“She was very moved by that, by that personal sacrifice. And she was very empathetic to the suffering that parents had endured," Brewin says.

Kate Middleton

The visit – which came amid Baby Loss Awareness Week – to the Institute of Reproductive and Development Biology at Imperial College London is in line with Kate’s efforts to champion some of the issues that young families, parents and children face — whether it be mental health difficulties, addictions and the stresses of starting school.

“I think it just links into the work that she is already interested in," Brewin explains. "The link is around pregnancy and outcome determining so many other things in your future life. We now understand really well the link between pregnancy outcomes and the future health and wellbeing of the child."

“And there is a link with mental illness and it’s a natural extension of her interest," she says.

Her immersion in the subject area has also led Kate to visit scientists and experts on neuroscience.

And she was as fascinated to learn some of the thinking behind the latest research at Imperial College on Wednesday, Brewin adds.

“She was on a fact-finding mission and she was incredibly interested in the research side of things,” she says. “We talked to her about the whole pregnancy journey, from pre-conception to pregnancy, to pregnancy loss and subsequent pregnancies and, indeed, the welfare of the child. She was on a journey of discovery herself and showed great interest in the whole of that journey.”

Kate Middleton

Brewin adds that loss during pregnancy is like many other areas that Kate and husband Prince William have chosen to champion — in that they have "historically been taboo subjects."

One of the mothers described that after her baby was stillborn she found herself at a supermarket where she saw a friend in the distance. The person glanced over and turned her shopping cart around to head away in the opposite direction.

Brewin says, "I hear that commonly – not because people are unkind but because there’s so much taboo and they don’t know what to say and they worry about saying the wrong thing. The sense of loneliness that causes for parents and partners is absolutely enormous."

Kate Middleton

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"And the value that the duchess brings to making these things easier and acceptable to talk about brings huge value to organizations like ours," she says.

The story really struck Kate.

“She showed great concern as we all do. It resonates with all of us as you can understand how hurtful – unintentionally probably – that would be who has just lost a baby," Brewin says. "All people want to do when they have lost a baby they want to talk about that baby. They don’t want the memory of that baby to fade because they are no longer living.”