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Mother of stillborn baby channels grief into helping others with Random Acts of Kindness advent calendar

PUBLISHED: 18:00 09 December 2018

Jenny Whatling, from Harleston, who is raising money for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in memory of her son Jude. Picture: Jenny Whatling

Jenny Whatling, from Harleston, who is raising money for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in memory of her son Jude. Picture: Jenny Whatling

Jenny Whatling

A mother who lost her son after he was stillborn is channelling her grief to help others by encouraging children to carry out random acts of kindness.

The Random Acts of Kindness advent calendar created by Jenny Whatling. Picture: Jenny WhatlingThe Random Acts of Kindness advent calendar created by Jenny Whatling. Picture: Jenny Whatling

After a textbook pregnancy, Jenny Whatling, 30, from Harleston, and her husband Tom were left heartbroken after losing their son Jude at 41 weeks in May this year.

Their grief was further compounded by the sounds of babies and mothers in the maternity suite at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

“We were incredibly well cared for during our time at the NNUH,” said Mrs Whatling.

A memory box given to Jenny and Tom Whatling by the hospital, which includes Jude's hand and footprints and photos. Picture: Jenny WhatlingA memory box given to Jenny and Tom Whatling by the hospital, which includes Jude's hand and footprints and photos. Picture: Jenny Whatling

“One of our most precious possessions is the memory box we were given by the hospital. The midwives took Jude’s hand and footprints, we were given special blankets and supported to take photographs while we spent time together.

“But we were on the main delivery suite and could hear babies crying, visitors had to sit in the main waiting room.

“Walking out around people who are preparing to take their babies home is really awful.”

Jenny Whatling has been raising money for the NNUH in memory of her stillborn son Jude. Picture: Jenny WhatlingJenny Whatling has been raising money for the NNUH in memory of her stillborn son Jude. Picture: Jenny Whatling

In Jude’s memory, Mrs Whatling decided to raise money for the maternity department at the hospital to have a designated bereavement suite on the delivery unit, which will create a comfortable atmosphere for parents to mourn their loss.

She created the Random Acts of Kindness advent calendar, made up of 25 envelopes with 25 challenge cards for children to spread kindness and love.

The cards have a range of simple little tasks such as make a donation to the food bank, play with someone you don’t usually play with, call a friend or family member you don’t speak to very often.

The calendars were a huge success - with 800 calendars sold raising £4,000 towards a new £35,000 bereavement suite.

“The success has blown us away,” Mrs Whatling said. “Families have really been on board with the importance of spreading kindness during the festive period.

“We’ve had lots of lovely feedback and people have been sharing photos of their acts of kindness on Instagram using the hashtag #forjude.

“Altogether we have raised £9,000 in Jude’s memory.”

Mrs Whatling has set up the Norfolk and Norwich Baby Bereavement Group, aimed at connecting families who have been supported by the NNUH baby bereavement team.

To donate to the NNUH baby bereavement appeal, visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/nnuhbabybereavement.

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