New children's book inspired by a Gosport family aims to raise awareness of baby loss
Children’s author Clair Maskell from Locks Heath has published her latest book The Lost Bear, which sensitively covers the topic of baby loss to help families have conversations about it.
Seven years ago, Sarah and Matt Overy from Bridgemary lost their daughter Keira who was stillborn at 32 weeks on October 9.
Matt and Sarah, who is a friend of Clair, wanted to keep their baby’s memory close to their hearts so they put her ashes into a white teddy bear – who is the main character in the new book.
Keira’s bear has appeared in family photos alongside their five-year-old son Sebastian, and even accompanied the group on holiday to Cornwall.
Sarah, 41, said: ‘We were completely blown away when Clair said she wanted to write a book about Keira and Sebbie and when we finally read it there were tears rolling down my cheeks.
‘It was just perfect and the illustrations were so personal to us and it’s a nice way to keep Keira’s memory alive and raise awareness for baby loss.’
Baby Loss Awareness Week starts today - Keira’s birthday - so Clair and illustrator Katie Everett are donating all proceeds from book sales to baby loss charities which have supported the Overy family. It includes ‘rainbow children’ – those who are born after an elder sibling has been stillborn.
Clair said: ‘I wanted to write a story that not only was personal to the family, but one which could be shared with rainbow siblings and their families who have lost someone close to them.
‘Having rainbow children herself and a passion for creating beautiful works of art, Katie has poured her heart and soul into bringing the book to life. Her personal touches to the characters and themes in the book have me in absolute awe.’
Katie, who met Clair during their time at Cams Hill School in Fareham, has had four miscarriages as well as giving birth to her two children so this subject means a lot to her.
She said: ‘Miscarriage is sadly a common occurrence so it’s a very important topic. Not only did I want to support Clair but it’s a personal topic for us.
‘I’m really thrilled, I think it’s come out amazingly well. The pictures are really bright and colourful and engaging.’