HOLDING her baby tight to her chest, Sharon cried uncontrollably.
She had been desperate to meet her son but tragically he had died in her womb just days earlier.
The first-time mum, from Warwickshire, carried him to full-term & gave birth knowing that he had already sadly passed away.
Sharon said: “A parent’s worst nightmare is to lose their child.
“We were beyond devastated, our world had fallen apart.
Sharon & her husband were told that their son, who they named Luca, had died from ‘growth restriction’ & years after went on to adding his name to their surname to keep his name & memory alive as Sharon had promised him.
It can happen when the placenta is not working well enough to provide the baby with the nutrients they need to grow normally & increases the risk of stillbirth, it is preventable, if it is picked up in time, tragically this was missed for Luca’s parents.
Sharon & her husband Jas Luca-Chatha weren’t prepared for the next blow – the limited time they had with Luca, knowing they would never see him again.
“After holding onto Luca as long as we could – just a few hours – we had to hand him over to be taken to the mortuary,” she said. We just cried uncontrollably.”
Six years later in 2018, following a breakdown – that Sharon says she vowed to help other parents in their position spend longer with their child.
The mum-of-two also suffered a life plagued by trauma & has be left with a crippling illness, fibromyalgia, which was caused by a car accident in 2016 & has left her unable to walk unaided which contributed heavy to that breakdown
The neurosensory disorder, which includes chronic symptoms such as pain & fatigue, has also dashed hopes of having a third child.
She launched her own non-profit charity in Luca’s name aimed at raising money for the purchase & repair of refrigerated cuddle cots.
Sharon said: “The cot acts like a refrigerator so it keeps the body cold which allows the parents then to have up to a week with their baby…if they wish to even take them home with that equipment.”
A few months after their tragic loss, Sharon fell pregnant with the couple’s son Ky, now eight. “We toyed with the idea for ages. “My arms felt so empty, I felt like I had no purpose in life anymore. I was a mother but nobody saw me as a mother.
Sharon has written a book called ‘Why Did Grandad Die’, based on her real-life conversation with Ky when he was 4 years old & asked how his older brother Luca died. At this point, she realised there is nothing available to support the difficult conversation & protect children’s mental health. It is available to purchase on www.thelucafoundation.org.uk where all proceeds go to the cause.
“It’s as realistic as possible,” said Sharon. “It shows a mum and dad crying and that that’s OK because they are crying for love, for the person they cannot see.
“It’s important for children to be able to understand these emotions and not to be upset by them, for them to realise this is normal.
“Ky still asks about Luca and about our dog and my grandad. I say they are in the sky and that when you see the stars that’s them saying hello. You know they are saying hello when the stars shine brightly.
“In the book, there’s a picture of Luca, his great grandad and his dog all in the sky having fun and the sun’s shining and it’s really green and full of flowers. It’s really lovely.
“At the end it also talks about it being OK to miss them and OK to cry and that if you feel sad you should talk to your mum and dad or your teacher. There’s also a bit on how it’s nice to look at old photos to remember them.”
Sharon says she has received a really positive response to her book.
“A headteacher asked me if I could donate a copy to her school after they lost a teacher to Covid,” she said.
“She said that it had really helped the children in assembly and that each class had had the book to help them understand and that she would welcome it being in all schools.
Sharon said, “I also sent a copy to Kensington Palace when their dog died. I received a reply acknowledging the charity and the book, wishing all success to acquire funding to donate the book to all primary schools across the UK as well.”
Sharon, now a motivational speaker, inspiring others to achieve their goals, was named as one of the most ‘Amazing Women’ in the UK along with 29 other women, by Take a Break magazine for her charity work & her accomplishments from such adversity in December 2020.
The Luca Foundation is now an ‘Award Winning Charity’. The ‘Woman Who UK’, national awards judging panel chose the charity as one of their winners this year. Their comments saying ‘Sharon is so passionate about no-one else having to go through the pain that she and her family suffered when Luca died. She is totally dedicated to ensuring that as many maternity units as possible have working cuddle cots so that any parent who faces losing their baby can have that extra vital time with them.
She is totally driven and another of her goals is she wants to break the silence and break down the barriers on people being able to talk about bereavement of any type – the publishing of her children’s book and the donation of these to primary schools will be a great start for this next goal.
Sharon is an amazingly strong, determined and very kind woman who works tirelessly for The Luca Foundation whilst living with an debilitating illness – she is a true inspiration to all women’.
Wanting to restore her independence, Sharon set about launching her own clothing brand in August 2020, called LK Eco Style, selling fair trade T-shirts and hoodies with slogans like Simply Be Kind, Peace Love Hope, Shine like the Stars, Live the Life you Love, C’est La Vie and Te Amo.
“My ethos with the charity is about trying to keep things eco-friendly and I wanted to do that with this too,” she said.
“I wanted it to be empowering and inspiring. Mental health is a big thing. Having suffered with it myself with Luca and fibromyalgia, everything needs to be very positive. I love a good slogan!
“Live the Life you Love is what I live by now. It’s all about being kind to other people because you never know what someone is going through behind closed doors.
“And I couldn’t bear the thought of clothes being made in a sweatshop so everything I sell is fair trade, made in ethical, humane conditions.”
Sharon says she has learnt a lot from the last ten years and has now published her memoirs in a book called ‘Angel Warrior’, along with her Angel Warrior clothing range available on www.lkecostyle.com which given 10% back to The Luca Foundation.
“I never take anything for granted anymore,” she said.
“I just hope I can inspire others to fight their adversities and find new ways of living life the way they love. Ultimately, that’s the only thing you can do.”