IT was the news that any pregnant woman dreads.
Some 12 weeks into her pregnancy, Wilna Strydom was told that the foetus she was carrying had an incredibly rare genetic abnormality and would not be able to survive.
She had a termination, and has paid tribute to the hospital staff who helped her through a difficult time and praised Benson Suite, the special facility at Salisbury District Hospital for bereaved parents.
The suite opened last April thanks to a donation to the Stars Appeal from Sir Christopher and Lady Benson.
Mrs Strydom said: “The Benson suite is just amazing; it made such a huge difference. People should know about it. In the last two months it was only ray of light.”
The 35-year-old and her soldier husband Ian, who are both Christians, had been looking forward to the birth their first child. When they were told about the foetus’ abnormality at the end of January, Mrs Strydom understood the diagnosis immediately because she works in hospitals as a sonographer, using ultrasound equipment to scan patients, including pregnant women.
But being a health professional did not make it any easier. She said: “This was the worst trauma in my life; there has never been anything like this in my family. We have only been married for a year. For me to go through a termination was traumatic and really frightening.”
Mrs Strydom, from Tidworth, said being admitted to the suite meant she did not have to be around women experiencing the joy of having a healthy baby when she was going through such an ordeal. She also had her own midwife throughout.
Her husband and mother, who came over from South Africa, were also able to stay with her.
Mrs Strydom said: “I don’t even have words to explain how amazing the Benson Suite is. I thought a national charity must have built it and was so surprised to discover it was a local charity that funded it. I hope everyone will support it.”