This page was created in memory of Roseanne Joni Tait who was stillborn on 27 June 2016.
“I came to see Lucy for a 1:1 session almost 4 months after Roseanne died. I knew I wanted to access some practical yoga but having no previous experience and having postnatal needs I knew I needed more guidance and instruction. Obviously attending a postnatal class would have thrown up many more difficulties for me.“Dawn, 2017
In our first session together, Dawn told me her story and my eyes were opened to a world of unimaginable suffering that is often swept under the metaphorical carpet – something many of us simply don’t want to have to talk about (and yet as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss).
Yoga is not about sweeping things under the carpet – quite the opposite in fact – through a steady practice of yoga we are able to shine light on every experience, and every aspect of our being – even the parts that are hard to be friends with.
To bear our own suffering we have to be willing and able to see it, to feel it, to acknowledge it – and then we can hold it tenderly and not be destroyed by it.
So, as I listened to Dawn’s story, of pregnancy, birth and loss, the tears literally just rolled down my face and on to my clothes.
The yoga practice we began together focused in the beginning on relaxation and restorative practice. Sometimes grief is SO HEAVY and SO EXHAUSTING there is no energy left for ‘exercise’ in the regular sense. Our initial focus was on self-care, deep rest and the idea of ‘becoming bigger’.
Practicing yoga allows us to become a bigger container in which to hold our suffering. It is as though each of us were a river of thoughts and feelings. At times in our lives we flow like a gentle stream and at other times we are a deep, wide, rapid and rushing channel. It is in times like these that we require the strong, wide banks that are created through our practice of yoga – loving and living in our bodies, befriending our breath and able to see the flow of our thoughts and feelings without being swept away by them.
Gradually our sessions together became more active and focused on the physical aspects of postnatal recovery that all postnatal classes address – pelvic floor awareness, joint stability, postural balance and fluid, efficient movement.
What I did not know then was how much more yoga would provide for me emotionally in my grief journey and ability to parent a child in heaven whilst learning my new normal. Lucy has guided me with her unwavering support, patience and expertise to a place where yoga is a part of my daily routine and integral part of my grief toolkit”Dawn, 2017
With love and gratitude to Dawn and Roseanne for allowing me to share their story.
Dawn and Keith are pictured here holding newborn Roseanne close to their hearts.
They have both worked tirelessly to improve services for other parents that find themselves in their position.
Dawn has used her Instagram account “postcards_to_roseanne” not only to remember her daughter in a most beautiful way but also to raise awareness about still birth, neonatal death and parental bereavement and raise funds for the people who are doing their best to help.
Dawn and Keith have also helped make practical changes to the way bereaved parents are cared for in Cramlington hospital – ensuring that no one in the future who loses their baby will be required to attend check-ups in the maternity ward where they are presented with harsh reminders of all they have lost. They also stocked the hospital with supplies of many books to support grieving parents and also children who have lost their younger siblings. This Amazon wishlist is a great resource for anyone looking for some supportive reading for themself or a grieving friend or you can purchase a book directly from the wishlist to have it sent via Dawn to Cramlington Hospital.
In 2020 Dawn and Keith welcomed their ‘rainbow baby’ Roman and have since been working closely with bereavement midwives at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to develop stickers for the maternity folders of fellow parents expecting a new baby after loss. This will enable medical professionals at the trust to see very quickly that the baby is not a first pregnancy for the couple and avoid asking triggering questions like ‘is this your first baby?’ The Northumberland Gazette ran a lovely article.
Dawn’s story is also included in a beautiful collection of essays called Milestones of Motherhood, compiled by fellow yoga teacher Clare Cooper.