SUZANNE Maguire is a mother of three, but she holds one of her children in her heart instead of her arms.
In April 2015 the Belcoo woman, originally from New Zealand, was 39 weeks pregnant when she noticed that Patrick’s movements in the womb had changed.
“I went to the hospital with reduced movements and unfortunately, after a number of tests, I was sent home. Patrick died the next day,” says Suzanne.
The immense loss was insurmountable for Suzanne and her husband.
“Since his death, life has been tainted with sadness,” she says, “We still do a lot of things we did before, but Patrick’s loss is felt in everything. I notice the gap in my two surviving children. People either ignore the fact that we have another child, or they tell me that I should move on. 
“After having a daughter last year, people automatically assume that Patrick has somehow been replaced and that his death is no longer of any significance or importance. It is very difficult.”
But determined that his death should not be in vain, Suzanne became a local Befriender with Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths) in February this year and is now spearheading a new counselling and support service for families dealing with life after the loss of a child.
“I wanted to talk about my son. I wanted to do something of importance,” she says, “I also did it to challenge myself and show that I am capable of stepping out of my comfort zone. Professionally, I see this path as my career now.
“After my son was stillborn, my life changed immensely and I cannot see myself working a job that does not involve my son or involve creating a legacy for him.”
As a Befriender, Suzanne runs support meetings in the Killyhevlin Hotel every month (the next one is tonight, June 8) from 7.30pm until 9.30pm.
“The meetings give parents the opportunity to chat, or listen, to other parents in a similar situation,” Suzanne explains. 
“Losing a baby is a painful and lonely experience and the hope is that these meetings will provide support to families.
“It is also an opportunity to connect with other people in the area. I am also trying to organise events in Fermanagh so that families can gather together to remember their babies and do something positive in their memory.”
On a regional level, Suzanne is also a committee member for Sands.
“Last month I spoke at Queen’s University for an Improving Bereavement Care workshop to a group of third year midwifery students.
“Today (Thursday) I will be speaking in Antrim at the Joint Royal College of Midwives/SANDs Conference. This will be about the dissemination of knowledge and sharing stories so that best practice can be encouraged and lessons passed on.”
Suzanne has found the silence around baby loss, particularly in Fermanagh, disappointing.
“Baby loss is a very devastating loss and it is often viewed by society as an ‘invisible death’.
“But, it is not invisible to those who experience it. Just because we do not have a baby at home, does not mean that we do not have a baby.
“I think the fact that Fermanagh is so rural and spread out impacts on the amount of attention that baby loss gets.
“The population is small and people have to travel so far to seek support services.
“In society, I think people do not mention baby loss because they worry about upsetting the parents.
“But, if I get upset, it is only normal and natural. If I get upset, allow me to. I have just buried a child; I should be allowed to show grief. The societal silence takes away the permission to express sadness; it implicitly says to me that I should not cry and shed tears, that I am wrong to do so.”
Like any other family, Suzanne and her husband had so many hopes and dreams for Patrick, which sadly can never now be realised.
“With death comes a lack of faith in the world,” says Suzanne before adding. 
“Nothing is safe, nothing is secure anymore. A baby dying does against the natural order. It is natural to mourn our old, not our young.These unlived hopes and dreams and the stigma around baby death makes the mourning process more complex.”
Suzanne also found that her husband’s feelings were often set aside after the loss of Patrick.
“My husband returned to work a few days after Patrick died because he had just started a new job. These practical issues are often overlooked. The support for the father is less than the mother and it is often society’s idea of how a man should handle these things which impacts on the father’s grief process also.”
This month is Sands awareness month and to mark the occasion locally, Fermanagh’s first ever ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’ event was held in Castle Coole last Sunday.
To close the Awareness Month, she has organised a free public screening of the movie, Return to Zero, on June 30 in Fermanagh House from 7pm, open to everyone.
Anyone wishing to contact Suzanne can do so through the SandsNI Facebook page or call her on 07518543156.
Suzanne has just launched a counselling/support service called, Hope After Grief: Families Living With Loss after recently gaining qualifications as a counsellor and psychotherapist. 
This is another avenue by which people can get in contact with her and find support. 
Specialising in pregnancy after loss, Suzanne will be holding the first support group on June 20 in the Killyhevlin from 7.30pm until 9.30pm. This group, called Growing A Rainbow, is for women and their partners who are pregnant after losing a baby at any gestation.