Any parent will tell you there is no pain like losing a child. The most incredible thing about it is, that love never dissipates. Even when a baby is stillborn, the love a mom feels for her child is unwavering. She will likely spend every day of her life thinking about her baby, what could have been, or who they would’ve become.
Imagine though, living in a time when you had no idea what happened to your baby after birth. Marjorie Bigby has spent the last 76 years wondering what happened to her first-born baby, Laura and now the baby’s grave has finally been located.
Powerless in Finding Her Baby’s Grave
Marjorie Bigby made great strides in the world working in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in World War Two. She was a strong woman with determination and perseverance on her side. However, nothing could prepare her for the heartbreak she would endure in early Fall of 1946. After 3 days of painful labor, she heard a conversation between medical professionals stating that her baby had died. She only knew that she would still have to give birth but what happened after she never knew.
Left Without Compassionate Guidance
It’s a truly heartbreaking story to find that a woman had gone through such a painful, traumatic, and confusing time, only to be left in the dark about the whereabouts of her baby’s grave. Subsequently, she was left with no support and treated with very little compassion. “I was just taken back to my room and left. No-one came to talk to me and tell me how to get on with life.” Marjorie said of the experience.
As standard practice during that time, Marjorie was sent home 2 weeks later. Somehow, she found the strength to carry on and ended up having 2 more daughters. However, firstborn Laura was always a part of her heart. For this reason, she had wondered for years where the baby’s grave was located. “Every year I get a new diary at Christmas and the first date I put in is 3 September – Laura’s birthday,” she said. “Every year for 70-odd years.”
Mothers Never Give Up
This seems to be a common occurrence for women who gave birth at that time. BBC Northwest Tonight covered the story of another woman, Lilian Thorpe. After 61 years of searching, finally found her baby’s grave. Marjorie’s daughter, Angela, watched the segment. She followed up with them thinking, they may be able to help her mother find the missing baby’s grave.
She contacted Brief Lives Remembered. An organization located in the UK, helping families of those who were stillborn. Furthermore, they have a reputation for supporting bereaving families. As well as, getting them the resources, needed to gain some sense of closure.
Locating the Baby’s Grave
The organization was able to trace the baby’s grave. They also gave the family advice on how to go about getting her stillborn certificate. As a result, the missing baby’s grave was found in Stockport, a mere 8 miles from Marjorie’s hometown of Dukinfield. Angela had much to say about the discovery of her sister’s grave. She stated, “We found out that our sister had her own little coffin and had been buried with five other babies and an adult in an unmarked plot.”
Angela reflected on the conversation in which they told her mom of everything they had learned. Stating, “we told mum, and we went to see the plot and just took a little bunch of flowers from the garden. The look of peace on mum’s face was worth everything. It was just amazing.” Marjorie, now having a sense of peace, weighed in on how she felt about locating the baby’s grave. She stated, “It’s really been a big relief to know where she is and that she was actually put in a coffin with other babies.”
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