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Aching Arms works with over 190 hospitals nationwide, providing the Aching Arms bears to midwives and nurses to give to parents who have lost a baby.

The bear provides a sensitive conduit for midwives and nurses to support and discuss the emotional and well-being needs of parents, particularly in the turbulent days following their baby’s death. The label attached to each bear will signpost parents to our website, where they will find support and information.

This scheme is completely free of charge to hospitals.  One of our volunteers will deliver the bears to your hospital, usually in batches of 12 or 24. All we ask is that your staff give parents the opportunity to take home a bear following the death of their baby.

We provide guidance on how midwives and nurses can offer the bears and we also offer a specific awareness training course, with two training options. We can either provide a three- hour face to face session or we have a 30-minute online option, which could easily be integrated into your hospital mandatory training.  The aim of our training is to give a greater insight into the experiences of parents whose babies have died, along with information on the benefit of parents having a soft object to cuddle as part of the grieving process. All our training is also free of charge, please contact us on the email address below for further information.

Since we started in 2010, we have ensured that more than 45,000 bears have reached the aching arms of bereaved mothers and fathers, either through hospitals or individual requests via this site or through our social media channels. We are now also able to support siblings and the extended family through the purchase of our Dandelion bears. Families can either purchase them directly through the website or hospitals can purchase a supply to give to the families they support. Please get in touch if you are interested in this.

We are aware that many hospitals already have many memory making options available for families and the Aching Arms bears can run alongside these. Our bears are a different way of supporting families, as they are a gift of support for parents from other bereaved parents, letting them know they are not alone. 

To download our Health Professionals leaflet please click here (PDF) or to see the leaflet in Welsh click here (PDF).

To download our Advice for Midwives and Nurses document, please click here (PDF). If you are a health professional who is interested in becoming involved in this scheme, or want to discuss our free training, please contact info@achingarms.co.uk

The charity is so valued by many bereaved parents and families, and the bears are a very welcome addition to further enhance the bereavement care that we are able to provide within the hospital.

Support for dads and our guide for bereaved dads

We are proud to introduce our new guide for bereaved dads entitled ‘You are a dad….you always will be’ and this is supported by our new support service just for dads. 

The dads guide has been written by bereaved dad, Tom Donaldson, and not only details his personal story of losing his son Joshua, but also shares some of the theories behind grief, what helps and what doesn’t and includes the practical strategies that helped him. We would like to offer your hospital these books as a free gift to give to dads whilst they are in your care alongside the Aching Arms comfort bear. If you would like some books for your department or have any queries please contact laura@achingarms.co.uk and we will arrange some books to be dropped off by one of our volunteers free of charge. 

Alongside this book we are also developing our support for dads. We continue to host a monthly online session which is run by a bereaved dad for bereaved dads, but we now also have a whats app group for those dads using the guide who aren’t ready to come to an online meeting and a 1;1 dads support helpline. For more information or if you want to pass these details onto any of the dads in your care please contact: dadsupport@achingarms.co.uk or 07754 436133 (these details are included within the dads guide).

Bereavement Research

Aching Arms has three aims. The first is focused on offering support, the second on training and education and the third, in the words of the charity’s constitution, is to:

Support and promote research into baby loss and the methods of alleviating suffering arising from baby loss and to disseminate the results of such research.

Aching Arms’ innovative approach to baby loss has been established through the: 

Offer of an Aching Arms bear – given as a gift from one bereaved family to another to let bereaved parents know they are not alone;

Health Professional Training – on how to offer an Aching Arms bear sensitively and gain a greater insight into the experience of parents whose babies have died;

Supporting Arms service - run by bereaved parents who give you the time and space to talk about the loss of your baby and the impact it has had on you;

Be Together Programme – for bereaved families to meet and relax with other bereaved families and friends in a range of indoor and outdoor activities;

Bereavement Workplace Training - structured around Acknowledge, Understand and Support to help bereaved parents return to work.

If Aching Arms is to maintain its innovative approach, it needs to keep up to date on current bereavement research and any potential impact that could have on changing practice in bereavement care and support.

How does Aching Arms do that? 

Strengthening - relationships with bereavement care charities in the UK and across the world through the International Stillbirth Alliance.

Informing – providing summaries on:

Research studies supported by Aching Arms:
Existing studies supported by other charities:
Varying approaches to bereavement care in different cultures, faith traditions and countries.

Promoting - by using Aching Arms national and international connections to recommend changes in bereavement care.

 

Pregnancy and Baby Charities secure Core Participant status on the UK Covid-19 Inquiry

On 28th February 2023, a group of 13 pregnancy and baby charities, including Aching Arms, told the UK Covid-19 Inquiry how all aspects of pregnancy, maternity, neonatal and postnatal care were dramatically disrupted during the pandemic.

Leanne Turner, Aching Arms Founder and CEO said, “In response the disruption to bereavement services during the Covid-19 pandemic, Aching Arms took a step change from its existing work and launched the Supporting Arms Service.  We knew bereaved families were feeling isolated and needed to know they were not alone.  I felt it was very important that we participate in Module 3 of the Covid-19 Inquiry, to represent our bereaved mums, dads and their families, in the hope that their experiences are heard, and change happens.”

On behalf of the group of charities, Jenny Ward said, ‘’While as individual organisations we support babies and families at all different stages of their pregnancy, birth and early childhood journey, we are united in our determination to ensure important lessons are learned so that policies implemented in future explicitly consider the full impact on new and expectant parents and their babies”.

Please see joint Press Release for more information.


Supporting Arms 07464 508994      support@achingarms.co.uk


  • Registered Charity No: 1153296