Steph Wild, is the founder of the charity, Beyond Bea. The Beyond Bea Charity operates in the field of baby loss and bereavement care training for healthcare professionals and students.
Steph is a registered and practising midwife, qualifying in 2015. In June 2017, she sadly became a bereaved parent herself when her daughter Bea was born on 2nd November at 23 weeks and 4 days’ gestation.
This personal experience drove Steph to challenge how health professionals receive bereavement care training and how to help families going through baby loss. Professionally, she has always been acutely aware that bereavement care training was severely limited, inconsistent in quality, and often expensive for students and professionals to access. Beyond Bea Charity was founded on 8th January, 2018, just 67 days after Bea’s birth. Steph established Beyond Bea with a vision to deliver high-quality, accessible bereavement study days and conferences for maternity and other healthcare professionals and students, anywhere in the country and most importantly with the vision that it would always be free of charge to all attendees. The study days are available to any healthcare provider or university. Whilst Beyond Bea cater primarily for maternity and neonatal staff - they can also be accessed by a range of other professionals including paramedics, A&E nurses, police, funeral directors and hospice teams.
The training for healthcare professionals tasked with supporting families affected baby loss is often undervalued and overpriced. 38% of maternity units do not have a specialist bereavement midwife. Only 46% of trusts have mandatory bereavement care training. The quality of care available in neonatal units paints an equally bleak picture. Just 12% of neonatal units have mandatory bereavement care training. Remarkably 23% of neonatal unit bereavement leads have themselves not received bereavement care training. This landscape presents a huge challenge when set against the tragic reality that 15 UK families a day experience the death of their child through stillbirth or neonatal death.
Beyond Bea study days bring together both Steph's clinical expertise along with her compassion as a bereaved mother. This allows Steph to retain credibility when discussing clinical matters (as a midwife) as well as human factors (as a parent), where other providers generally only maintain credibility with one or the other.
Beyond Bea became a registered charity in March 2019, and the study days received Royal College of Midwives (RCM) accreditation in April 2019 - a validation of the quality of the output from a vital national body. As demand increases, Steph remains committed to Beyond Bea’s vision of ensuring that training will always be free. Beyond Bea has functioned entirely based on donations, often from bereaved parents who recognise the vital nature of the service its offering.
Beyond Bea social media platforms are used as tool to raise awareness of this often-taboo subject. Bereaved parents want to talk and share their memories about their babies. Steph reminds us that talking with a bereaved parent, doesn’t remind them that their baby died – they haven’t forgotten. It reminds them that you remember that they lived, which means the world to them. Steph engages with her social media followers daily, creating engaging content, hosting live IG talks, comforting and educating others.