Beyond Bea: Online Training (Review)

For those that saw this post with no writing, I apologise! For some reason, all my writing hadn't saved so this is the second time I am writing all of this but I am so happy to because Beyond Bea is an incredible charity and I am so honoured to have been in the very first online training class that they gave on bereavement care. Given the current coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the world globally, all in person classes have been cancelled for the immediate future, yet Beyond Bea have gone out of their way to continue to support those wanting to learn more about bereavement and I for one, could not be more grateful. 

Given that Steph shared the story behind the charity, I felt I wanted and needed to too. Steph gave birth to Beatrice who sadly died in November 2017. In her honour, Beyond Bea the charity started in January 2018 as Steph realised health professionals needed to be taught more about bereavement care and how to support families in her situation; as a midwife herself, she saw that there was a real need as there is minimal training in job roles. Now, 2 plus years into the training, the charity has gone from strength to strength and with regular training study days and an annual conference (which will - hopefully - be held at University of Nottingham this year!) they are kept very busy. Amazingly, all the events they put on are free of charge. There is a £10 charge to book but then they will refund it if needed. Luckily, most don’t which means they can continue to invest in study aids and support the charity itself. 

The sessions started by discussing different definitions of pregnancy loss and some of the reasonings behind why women need ongoing support, for example anxiety with recurrent miscarriages. It is really shocking and moved to hear how many babies don’t count in the figures reported, despite the fact that to the family that baby is a massive deal, like in molar pregnancies. Plus, that involves a huge amount of extra complexities with extra risks involved due to the high risk of cancer and infertility. One of the nice things I thought, was that they mentioned other charities and how the two link together. In regards to cancer, they spoke about Mummy Star which was sadly a study day I couldn’t attend, due to having my SNTA interview on the same day. Interestingly, I learnt that they are involved with families where any cancer diagnosis has been made during or up to one year after pregnancy, regardless of whether it result in miscarriage or other.

I learnt so much more that I just can’t fit in here so I’m going to write another post with my top learning lessons soon!

While there was a couple of technological difficulties in that at first we couldn't see the PowerPoint and during the demonstrations, the microphone was blocked, Steph happily took the feedback on board and quickly changed the set up to fix the issue. It was amazing the effort she went to. Although, seeing the demonstrations wasn't quite the same as what it would have been like if we were there doing it for ourselves, it was great to see it in detail and have the opportunity to watch it be done up close, without being completely insensitive to parents and family in a real-life situation. One of the things I loved is that the babies used for the demonstrations are sponsored by families who have lost loved ones and therefore have name bands in memory of the babies; it made it even more special.
At the very end, Steph read out a poem she wrote following the loss of her daughter. Honestly, listening to Steph talk was so eye-opening. As an midwife, she had the insider knowledge to understand what little experience and training we really do have. Despite the loss she faced when she lost Beatrice, her Bea, she wanted to make something from Bea's legacy and so become Beyond Bea. She wanted to support midwives and professionals, in supporting other families going through her pain. I loved the brief moments she talked about Bea, especially her elephant and how that came the mascot and logo for the company. I am in complete awe of Steph's strength and drive. I felt very privilege to be trained by her and I although I hope I will never have to put my new found teachings in practice, I am glad I have the knowledge and can now consider the perspectives discussed. 
Overall, I really enjoyed the session. Steph was very knowledgeable and gave a useful insight into bereavement care. It was really eye-opening to hear about some of the practical elements, and although not quite the same as being at the study day for hands on experience, the effort of showing things being done and put together was really useful and much appreciated. I really liked the focus on the current care in the pandemic, having not really thought about that aspect myself. Fascinating, sensitively discussed and well-organised. 

Ps. Within moments, I'd already shared with my cohort and posted on the University of Nottingham Midwifery Facebook groups, in the hopes of getting more students involved too!

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