IN 2009 Lowton mum Michelle Codling suffered the heartache of giving birth to a stillborn baby.

But despite a search for answers to her terrible tragedy, she found a lack of support groups in the Leigh area.

After travelling to a group in Chester for the past 18 months, Michelle decided to set up her own playgroup in a bid to offer support to other parents who have suffered a similar loss.

The 37-year-old mum-of-five said: “My daughter Emma was stillborn in July 2009.

“During my search for answers I found a support group online and became friendly with a small group of mothers who had also lost babies late in pregnancy, during childbirth or shortly after they were born.

“We all subsequently have gone on to have other babies and these babies are called ‘rainbow babies’, as they are said to be the sunshine after the terrors of the storm.

“You don’t forget the damage of the storm but the rainbow makes things brighter again.”

The Lowton Rainbow Babies group has joined forces with others being run in Chester and Wirral, and membership is free.

“It offers support to people in a similar situation who may feel excluded from traditional groups,” said Michelle.

“It is hard explaining to others that you have lost a baby, and the grief doesn’t go away just because you have a new baby.”

Michelle and husband Darryl, aged 41, have daughters Anna, aged 11, Ella, 10, Isla, two, and seven-month-old Paul.

The group meets on the last Wednesday of each month from 9.30am to 11.30am in the Sure Start Centre, Lowton J&I School, Newton Road, Lowton. For more details call 01942 776077.