On December 13, the 1st CuddleCot in Quebec was officially inaugurated at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). This important piece of equipment, which is recognized internationally as best practice in hospitals around the world, facilitates the grieving process for families who experience infant loss.

A CuddleCot is a cooling crib that lets mothers and their families spend more time with their infant after their passing. The inspiration behind bringing it to the MUHC came from Désirée McGraw, Annick Robison, Stéfany Corey and Rosa Caporicci, a group of young mothers who have each experienced perinatal loss. In collaboration with the MUHC Foundation, they launched Cradles for Cuddles, a $30,000 fundraising campaign to purchase a CuddleCot for the MUHC and to establish free therapy sessions to support bereaved parents.

Dr. Tuong-Vi Nguyen, a reproductive psychiatrist at the MUHC, sees the purchase of the 1st CuddleCot in Quebec as a tremendous step forward is shedding more light on this topic, which is often difficult to discuss publicly. “I see between 300 and 400 new cases per year and 10 to 15 percent of the women I treat have experienced perinatal loss,” Dr. Nguyen explains. “These are among the most challenging because no two cases are alike and the grieving process is very different depending on the person. The use of the CuddleCot will allow mothers and their families to have extra time with their infant after their passing and those precious moments are critical when dealing with such a profound loss,” she says.

The group of mothers echoes Dr. Nguyen’s sentiments. “So much about losing a child is deeply traumatic and isolating; the grief may soften with time, but it never goes away. One of the things that becomes unbearable is the thought that every day, other parents in our community are experiencing this same loss, alone and in silence. The Cradles for Cuddles campaign is a first step in ensuring that the mothers who come after us have the gift of time through the use of the CuddleCot, and better on-going support. We also hope that by raising our own voices and sharing our stories that we can help break the silence around baby loss and kick start an important dialogue within our community,” they say.

Thanks to this courageous and dedicated group of mothers and the community’s support, the Cradles for Cuddles campaign has already surpassed 50 percent of its objective. “We are so grateful to Désirée, Annick, Stéfany and Rosa for bringing awareness to this very important cause,” states Julie Quenneville, President of the MUHC Foundation. “They have each taken an unfathomably sad situation and turned it into positive change for the community and we cannot thank them enough for sharing their stories and for raising these important funds,” she says.

To donate to the Cradles for Cuddles campaign, please click here.

Interview with Dr. Tuong-Vi Nguyen and Désirée McGraw on CBC Homerun with Sue Smith