My husband has been in the RAF for just over two years, and life has been a little bumpy. The support we have received from the RAF, SSAFA & the Welfare Team during these tricky times has been second to none.
We found out in September 2017 that I was pregnant but at our 12 weeks scan our son Arthur was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome. Sadly at 30 weeks he died & was stillborn on 17th March 2018. All through the horrendous times we had access to the Padre as and when we needed, either together or separately. I can honestly say that I’m not sure if we’d be where we are not without that support.
The support ranged from the opportunity to talk to someone who’d been in our position, which was invaluable to conversations when we had to think of end of life care. Then, immediate support after our son was born, to the Padre officiating our son’s funeral.
We were also given access to SSAFA very quickly and again the support from them was excellent. We were assigned a support work to help us process our loss. The local military Welfare Team were also fantastic with helping us find accommodation for our families for the funeral.
The RAF staff themselves offered us incredible support. My husband was at work (Phase 2 training) and I was on my own when I went to a what I thought was a straightforward appointment, only to be told our son Arthur had died. I had to make the awful phone call to tell him and at this point his Sgts swung into action. They brought him to the hospital to be with me and visited us at home to offer support. They made sure my husband was aware that there was absolutely no pressure or time scale in returning to work.
My husband was posted to a new job, two months after our loss. Even though it took a little time, we were able to tap into the support at his new base too. This support was fantastic again as we’ve also had two miscarriages since arriving here.
There have been problems ensuring I have had continuation of care medically, however this is being addressed. In addition to this I’ve found purpose in working with another couple of military wives to develop a report highlighting some of the issues that dependants face with continuation of care and gaps in knowledge when it comes to The Armed Forces Covenant. The report is not a criticism of the Armed Forces or NHS, instead a way to highlight things that could work better with some change.
The ladies I’ve been working with kindly named the report after our son and the report has been picked up locally by the NHS, Army, RAF and local Member Scottish Parliament (MSP). We have been informed that our MSP will be giving the report the Minister for Health, likewise the Army and RAF are taking it up the chain of command to Whitehall. Lastly our local NHS will be looking into the issues & rolling out solutions locally with the aim of things being rolled out across Scotland & then Nationally. To find out more about the report you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would have drowned without the support we’ve been given, thanks to the RAF, SSAFA and the Welfare Teams.
To find out more about SSAFA click here: www.ssafa.org.uk