Pregnant woman forced to take care of tragic sister’s baby after shock death weeks after birth
Lorena Ferreira, 31, is having to take care of her sister’s newborn baby after she tragically died falling from a flat
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A heavily pregnant woman is having to take care of her tragic sister’s newborn baby after her shock death just weeks after giving birth.
New mum Mariana Ferreira, 29, fell to her death from a flat near Putney, southwest London, on 25 March, shortly after welcoming her daughter. A probe has been opened into the incident, but her death is being treated as unexpected and not suspicious, police say.
Now her sister Lorena Ferreira, 31, who is struggling to make ends meet and is expecting a child of her own in a few weeks, will now have to care for her young niece.
The 31-year-old admitted she is still grieving and trying to come to terms with the death of her “best friend”. She said: “It’s been really hard for me. She was my best friend and my only sister. My heart hurts so much. These days have been so difficult. Only my husband is working and we’ve been struggling.”
Lorena and Mariana moved to the UK five years ago and both picked up odd housekeeping jobs to survive. As well as being inseparable themselves, they also married brothers from the Brazilian city of Goiânia.
In November last year, the two sisters found out they were both pregnant at the same time, with Mariana three months further along. The 29-year-old sadly died two months ago, just two weeks after giving birth to her baby girl. Her devastated sister has now been left to look after her and, unable to work, admitted she needs help.
Patricia Wilson, 37, who previously employed Lorena has set up a JustGiving page to help support the soon-to-be mum. She said: “Lorena had been so excited for the birth of Mariana’s baby. I’d even seen photos of their baby shower - it looked like a really happy day.
“I was getting into my car and I received a text from Lorena to tell me Mariana had died. I was breathless. My brain wouldn’t accept it, I just kept thinking: ‘No, this hasn’t happened. This can’t have happened’.”
In the days after Mariana’s death Lorena told Patricia that she wouldn’t be able to work for her anymore. Patricia said: “She offered to try and find her own replacement, which is just a testament to how hardworking she is. I told her not to worry at all.”
After hearing about Mariana’s death, Patricia informed a network of people who also employed Lorena and a group of them banded together to donate her some toys and equipment for her new babies.
She said: “We contacted a mum’s WhatsApp group and, in the end, we filled one car with donations - including a really nice buggy, clothes, toys and a baby carrier. We drove to see Lorena with the donations and it was incredibly moving. She was, obviously, distraught. She really is such a gentle woman, she was crying and so were we - it was such an emotional time.”
Inspired by how much others wanted to help, Patricia decided to start a small crowdfund to help with Lorena’s childcare costs in any way she could, and initially set up a JustGiving page with a target of £2,000. Donations have already well surpassed this target, with more than £10,000 raised to support the mum-to-be.
Patricia added: “I wanted to be able to do something else. I decided to create this fundraiser. I initially set a £2,000 goal because I just wanted to reach other mothers who might be touched by this story. But it really picked up quickly, and seemed to strike a chord with how difficult those early days can be for first-time mums.
“It’s impossible to wrap your head around it - within the space of weeks, this woman has lost her sister, who was also her best friend, and is now having to look after her two-month-old niece while expecting her own baby.
“Lorena was so touched by the gesture, and believes this money is really going to help. In terms of what happens next… I don’t know. They came all the way from Brazil, and hopefully this money will allow Lorena some breathing space, and comfort in knowing a lot of her childcare costs are now taken care of.
“This was a household of four people all working - but since Mariana’s death, her husband and sister have given up work. Now, the only person with a regular income is Lorena’s husband.”