Our music therapist, Sarah Bradley-Adam, shares how music can help capture beautiful moments at the saddest of times.
“Sadly, some of our families are faced with the devastating news that their unborn baby has a syndrome or a condition that means the only time they have together might be while their baby is in the womb.
They want to find a way to make the most of that time and create as many memories as they can. One of the ways we help families do this is by making heartbeat music.
Parents will take a recording of the baby’s heartbeat at a scan and then the family come and join me in the music room at the hospice. Mum and dad might bring the baby’s siblings, grandparents or cousins along too so that everyone is involved in the activity. We want it to be as fun and engaging as possible - a special moment the family can share and look back on positively.
During that session, I’ll spend time finding out what music they like, if they have any particular songs that mean a lot to them – perhaps the music that was played at their wedding. Then I’ll use that to create a bespoke piece of music that incorporates their baby’s heartbeat. I’ll then record this onto a CD which they can add to their memory box to treasure forever.
Heartbeat music is so meaningful because these families don’t have a lifetime of memories with their child so the memories they do have are all the more precious. Heartbeat music is a magical way to help them celebrate their baby’s life and capture those memories forever.”
Faye, whose daughter Amari-Grace was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition 12 weeks into the pregnancy, had heartbeat music made. For her, “it’s a comfort knowing that I can listen to my daughter’s heartbeat music whenever I want. And unlike other reminders – like the music we played at her funeral, which I think would just make me cry - hearing her heartbeat music can only give me pleasure. Because it is Amari-Grace, isn’t it? I’m listening to my daughter.”