Little loves

We discover how a mum’s painful story turned into a beautiful journey towards helping other parents grieve and find happiness again

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In 2011, I gave birth to two perfect and beautiful identical twin boys, Elliot and Emmet Sullivan.” The beginning of Alexandra Sullivan’s story was similar to many others we had heard before, but we were struggling, knowing it wouldn’t end as beautifully as it started.

“Both of them died in my belly and they classified it as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome),” Sullivan continues. Undoubtedly a tough and heartbreaking situation to be in for any mother, Sullivan’s sadness gave her the push to try and help other mums who have gone through the same tragedy. “I struggled a lot in the beginning of my grief. When I started to emerge out of the haze called shock I started to feel the need to talk about my boys. All of a sudden, I wanted the world to know about them as opposed to previously hiding from the world,” she adds.

Sullivan then came across a support group in Sweden, inspiring her to take another step, opening the doors to where she finally felt like home, no longer struggling with guilt and feeling alone.

“We all shared our stories about our babies, cried and listened. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my grief journey. Later the same year, I moved to Dubai and quickly realised that there weren’t any support networks for problematic pregnancies and infant loss,” the mum adds. “I started planning a non-profit support group and it came into being in 2015, after the birth of my forth child.”

The group, Little Angels – Love Through Loss, had its first meet-up in 2017 and the gatherings have been happening once every month ever since. “It has grown very quickly and our little community members are so supportive towards each other. I also encourage dads to come to the meetings as I think it’s equally important for them to express their grief too,” says Sullivan.

Little Angels – Love Through Loss is available both on Instagram and Facebook. On the former, it’s mostly grief support and event announcements. On Facebook, there’s one open page and a closed private group where parents can chat openly with each other about their experiences. All Little Angels’ social media platforms publish information on when the next group meeting would be. “I also chat privately with a lot of parents on Messenger, WhatsApp and over the phone as well. Whatever they need. I’m constantly inspired and touched by their strength and courage,” highlights Sullivan.

The main aim of Sullivan’s group is to reach out for and take care of families after they’ve left the hospital following the loss of a baby either through pregnancy, NICU, stillbirth or SIDS. It’s a safe space for parents to grieve their children and talk openly about it with no stigma and judgement attached. They can say anything that comes to mind, says the founder.

However, Sullivan’s aim also involves healthcare providers. “My long-term goal is to educate hospital staff on how to meet parents and families when this happens, what to say, how to give the memory box the right way and to have a process in place so that it’s safer for families who have experienced loss here in Dubai,” she adds.

“I think I’ve helped mums in a way that I show them that it’s ok to talk about their babies. A bereaved mother wants to talk as much as a mum who has her baby in her arms. I want to eliminate the stigma around pregnancy and infant loss”

Sullivan believes that there’s something beautiful about how people connect through their shared pain. “I want every UAE mum to know that, if this has happened to them or someone they know, it’s safe to contact Little Angels for support. I always got their backs and will be there no matter what.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/littleangelssupport.

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