A feature length documentary currently in production.
"A woman that loses her husband is a widow.
A man that loses his wife is a widower.
A child that loses its parents is an orphan.
There is no word for a parent that loses a child,
for there is no word to describe the pain."
How do you survive when the baby you've been expecting for months for dies before you had the chance to ever really know them? When on the day you were supposed to be bringing your baby home, you have to carry a tiny coffin and see them buried in the cold, hard ground? What happens to all the love you feel for your child? How do you move forward with your life with a heavy heart and empty arms?
This documentary goes right to the heart of the human suffering caused by the loss of a tiny life. There is no greater suffering for any parent to bear than the death of their child.
Our film is special because each of the stories within it has a powerful, life-affirming message, as the parents involved work through their suffering to accomplish something really spectacular in memory of their baby. The outcome will be uplifting and inspiring, and will highlight how even the most vulnerable of people can triumph in the face of adversity.
We will tell the parents' own stories, combining our footage with their own, powerful, photographs and videos of time spent with the stillborn babies, cuddling, introducing them to their friends and relatives, bathing and dressing them. Spending the only precious hours or sometimes days they will ever have with their child. We will document several very different types of families, with their own unique stories to tell. They show us how they not only survived the loss of their babies, but transformed their lives using creative expression and physical challenges to achieve something truly remarkable.
We will follow a subsequent pregnancy, with the fears and anxiety this brings. We will have a unique opportunity to film the birth with the uncertainty of its outcome.
We will find the light within the darkness, show the humanity and humour that enables the parents and our audience, to find their way through this sorrow to a place of acceptance, happiness and the joy of living.
Watch the Pilot and support us here
Director - Debbie Howard
Producer - Colin Pons - Studio of the North
Producer - Polly Perkins
DoP - Emma Dalesman
Sound Recordist - Grant Bridgeman
We are working with five families and their own unique stories. So far we have filmed with Mel and Baz Scott who lost their son Finley and Beth and Steve Morris who lost their twin daughters Harriet and Felicity. We are soon beginning filming with Nicola Harding who lost her daughter Emily and two other families.
We have shot a pilot which will be available on line very shortly. Thanks to our Editor Richard Hannan and Composer Asa Bennett.
This film is cross platform and will has it's own dedicated website to share other stories, help and support for those suffering the loss of a baby. Visit the website here
Please visit our new website for much more information about this film and read our blog.
With thanks to our sponsors:
The South London and Maudsley Charitible Trust
Christine Bell, Vanessa Thatcher and Alice Jolly and all those that have made donations and supported our film.
We have half of our budget in place and are now fundraising to raise an additional £45,000 to complete the film.
Thanks also to our wonderful production assistants:
Isla Badenoch, Cat Marshall and Amy Garrod
"The people we love become like ghosts inside of us. In that way we keep them alive."
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Seventeen babies die everyday from stillbirth and neonatal death in the UK alone. It's time to break the silence.
"People said 'Don't worry, you'll have other children. The point is we wanted this child'."
Reviews from our short film Peekaboo.
" Peekaboo powerfully resonates and endures. It is the latest film from Debbie Howard who proves that she is undoubtedly a talent to watch!"
Studio of the North & Fear Factory.
"A wonderfully tender and compassionate articulation of love and loss. Peekaboo unwraps the layers of grief and emotional reconciliation with heart breaking precision and sensitivity."
Caroline Cooper Charles
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"I wanted to write this review immediately after watching Peekaboo, so that I could recall my initial response to it. I was crying a lot by the end of this incredibly moving short film.
The film gets straight into showing the aftermath of the loss of a baby. Moving house must be a very difficult choice for any parents who have lost a baby, as the baby becomes inextricably linked to the house you have most memory of them in. The choice about keeping some items is one that most parents face, and stumbling upon those items produces great emotion which is accurately portrayed by the actors playing the parents.
I recall cradling Finley’s clothes just like that. The memory of holding my stillborn baby is so powerful, that cradling his clothes even now brings back those precious moments. People who have not been through a loss, may see the mother caring for the baby’s clothes and making bottles as extreme and perhaps illness. As a Mum who has lost a baby it is very easy to see how living in that fantasy world is easier than facing what has happened. I am sure that most baby loss parents can recognise elements of that behaviour in themselves. I know I can, I vividly remember a new routine in the early days of going into Finley’s room and drawing the curtains, turning on the light only later to return to an empty nursery with an empty cot and turn the light off.
The role of the Dad is portrayed so sensitively, showing his own private grief while looking at the memory box. And also showing the care and support he gave his wife, in helping her face up to what happened. The last scene is a very beautiful ending – a family together in mind and heart."
"Thank you for what you are doing. When I lost my little girl, I had no idea that losing my child in the way I did was even possible - not really. It wasn't mentioned, there was no warning. And then to go on to find out how common it really is really frustrated me. Awareness needs to be brought to this topic. Something needs to change.
I look forward to tracking the progress of your project. Strength and light to you as you embark on exploring one of the most cruel losses. And thank you again for taking it on."
With love, Cath Adelbert, Sydney, Australia