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Army Against Stillbirth

Written by Till Heike-Woods for Still Aware I thought stillbirth was just that; stillbirth. Then I learnt there is a very important word that changes everything, PREVENTABLE Stillbirth. Before our family became one of the 6 Australian families per day that experience a baby’s death from stillbirth, I never knew just how prevalent this type of death a baby continues to be. Don’t get me wrong, I knew what stillbirth was; I knew that it happens, and you should monitor your baby, look for changes, be aware. Well, I thought I knew, but I didn’t – only after the fact did I understand just how critical more information and awareness can make to the outcome of a pregnancy. So that’s why I stand and join with those who are seeking improvements to policy, improvements to care and awareness that have the potential to affect real change. We can improve how … Continued

The deadly question

Written by Danielle Pollock for Still Aware. I just wanted to be a normal mum. One who didn’t have to navigate the general rules of conversation and what is appropriate. I sat in that pregnancy fitness class with other pregnant mothers, all of us rubbing our bellies with a sense of pride. I sat there with a small amount of self-satisfaction: this is what it feels like to not know any fear in pregnancy. For a brief second, I forgot. I had forgotten that I am high risk. I forgot that no matter what happens or what I might wish, I am forever a bereaved mother. This brief moment of satisfaction (and somewhat joy) was shattered when I realised that the instructor, in a completely innocent way, had started asking everyone in the room that deadly question. The one that sparks a sharp breath to all bereaved mothers. She asked; … Continued

Stillbirth, still beautiful

Written by Zoe Lent for Still Aware.   What another bereaved mother wants you to know In our society, there are many negative connotations attached to the term ‘stillbirth’. Which I suppose is understandable. To lose a life which has barely begun is, after all, one of life’s most devastating, soul shattering tragedies. We know this. But while stillbirth is heartbreaking, gut wrenching and beyond tragic, what people often forget is that in the midst of all the loss, stillbirth is still beautiful, because it is a reflection of the life and the love – and the love came first, and the love is what remains. So I want you to remember this the next time someone recoils when you speak your child’s name, or shies away when you talk about your pregnancy or birth experience, which is just as real and just as valid as theirs, or minimises or … Continued

Understanding the Support needs of Bereaved Dads

Written by Til Heike-Woods for Still Aware. For those looking in, the role a bereaved father takes in grieving for their baby may seem to them an afterthought; a supporting role, so to speak. We see the bereaved mother’s emotion, we see pictures of the beautiful babies gone to soon: but for those of us that have experienced the death of baby, or have witness those close to us be affected, we know the picture in its wider and truer form. Physically a mother has been through a singular experience, but emotionally both the mother and father have experienced a common grief; they have both lost a child. The father’s life has been just as devastated by the experience and his reality just as broken. His need for understanding and support at this time is just as real. The impact and quality of the bereavement support the father receives can … Continued

Stillbirth through the eyes of a child.

Contributed by Natalie Oldham I’m Cora, and my sister is Maisie. We are twins and we were born on the 19th of January 2012. I’m the older twin by a whole 30 seconds and boy, do I know it! Mummy and daddy aren’t together, but they are friends and they get on really well, especially for me and Maisie. Mummy tells us all the time that we are her life. That we are her strength. That we are her reason for laughing when she doesn’t even feel like smiling anymore. I don’t think mummy would be getting through this without the cuddles and kisses from me and Maisie. It was hard, learning that my baby brother wasn’t coming home from the hospitals with my mummy. I don’t like hospitals anymore. I’m only four years old. Mummy tells me that losing our little brother is something we shouldn’t have to endure – whatever that word means. She also tells us that she … Continued

Stillbirth Support – What do I say?

Stillbirth support – How can I be there after loss? Traveling the journey of grief after a baby is stillborn is unique and unravels with every passing moment, hour, day, week, month, year. The journey is a rocky one that every person will navigate in their own way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. You can help by supporting those you love and care about through being there after the loss their beautiful baby, just as you would have been if their baby were here to hold, you can dote on the beautiful life that was and is. The best thing you can offer: An understanding ear A shoulder A note of support A laugh A cry You can be a true friend Some suggestions on how best to honour the little life lost to stillbirth and be a supportive friend though the grieving journey.   Things … Continued

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