Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Celebrating Christmas - Dominque

Merry Christmas to everyone and here’s to another year of hopes and dreams that we can witness and create.

This time of year can be quite bitter sweet for some. Though this is a time for gathering together with our loved ones and sharing fun times, laughter, gift giving and eating plenty of food, this is also a time of reflection for those that are no longer with us or didn’t get the chance to share the joy in the first place.

For those of us that have lost by miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, our little angels didn’t get to experience the joy of Christmas nor did we get to experience it with them. I explain my feelings of this, that we were robbed of this opportunity to enjoy this with them. So each Christmas, I always take a moment to remember my darling angel Jethro James Morcombe and light his candle with my husband and my two sons. This gives us the chance for the 5 of us to be together and reflect on Jethro’s short life. It allows us to wish him a Merry Christmas and tell him we love him and wish he was here. My eldest son always has a chat with his brother when we light his candle for occasions; it’s very sweet and innocent.

Our families also acknowledge him at this time and include him in the Christmas spirit by hanging a bauble on their own Christmas tree. We all had baubles made with Jethro’s name on it and it’s an opportunity for everyone to have their moment with Jethro when putting up the tree.

There is no doubt that in this lifetime, we all have our fair share of pain or trauma. For me, though at the beginning my pain was huge, it was with time and effort that I began to see another side to this. Life is one big lesson. Each chapter that is thrown at us, good or bad, is something we can learn from. I refused to live morbidly and in a negative space, as to me I know that Jethro would not want that for me. I feel as his mother, that I must live the best possible life I can and teach my children that are here with me on this earth, that life if AMAZING!! Life is beautiful and love is the answer to everything. If you have a bad day, surrender to it, but then heal it with love. Jethro did not come on this earth to make me feel sad and to throw away the rest of my life. He came to SHOW me how to live. He came to show me just how awesome that living can actually be. The comfort I also have is that he lives on in us and he is always going to be in my heart. He IS the love that I share as well as my own!

It was also important to ensure that Jethro’s life was acknowledged by as many people as possible and learn about this beautiful angel who once graced this earth. I have achieved this in many ways including fundraising for the children’s hospital. This was a huge thing for me as we were not only doing a great thing to support the hospital, but it helped me to heal! It was a reminder that we were not alone. Many parents are going through similar circumstances, if not worse, so I think of their strength which gave me a great deal of strength in return. Proudly, we have to date, raised just over $80k since Jethro passed away in 2010. It feels amazing to give back to those that helped us in more ways than one.  It feels so good to be able to do this and I’m such a proud mummy each time the event arrives and on that day, it’s about all these people getting together in honour him!! I love to show him off and his existence.

It is easy to stay in darkness when we lose a child. The pain can be so great, that we can just switch off from everything else. But when you can poke a tiny pin hole of light into that darkness, it will only get brighter with each step you take with the courage inside to live the best life possible! Christmas is a celebration and so is life. So for those lives taken suddenly, let’s celebrate their lives and fill the world with love and joy in their honour.
“Sometimes love is for a moment, Sometimes love is for a lifetime, Sometimes a moment is a lifetime”

Merry Christmas everyone. Love and light to you all. xxx

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas 2016 - Kristina

Today I awoke with a sense of blackness. That’s how it happens now.
I can be ok for weeks, sometimes months. I remember them every day. Yet some days like today it’s all I can think of.
It’s Christmas so I should be getting excited to spend the holidays with my two rainbow children. In some ways I am.
To see their faces when they open their presents and the look of wonder at Christmas lights.
Yet I’m always reminded there are 2 not here.
There are two I cannot watch as their faces light up to hear Christmas songs. They won’t be any extra feet running down the stairs to see what Santa left.
For 10 years Christmas has never been the same.
It’s also ten years without my mum. My mum who was Christmas in itself. She would cook the big English turkey dinner and have all the treats.
Without her and my babies, Christmas has become a mixture of sadness and some joy.
I have become an expert in hiding my pain not only from my two rainbows but also everyone.
Unless you have walked this path you could never begin to understand the sheer heartbreak that time does not heal nor simply goes away.
How could it? Whether you never met your baby or like me got to see and touch and smell them. They are a part of you. That instant love and joy you had for them never leaves.
The moment I knew I was pregnant I loved them. I talked to them, chose names, watched them on the ultrasound.
These memories and feelings don’t fade.
People have told me I need to move on and to be grateful for my two living children. What they could never understand is that I am fully aware of how lucky I am to have carried to term and brought these amazing souls home.
As I know what it’s like to carry a baby and feel it kick you, to give birth and then to bury them both.
But could they move on and forget if one of their children died?
I love all my children. I will always love all my children. I will never forget.
As I drove my daughter to school this morning all I really wanted to do was to go home and go to bed.
To sleep and to lay in my grief.
I can’t though. My youngest is home. He needs me to play lego and watch Christmas movies with him.
Somehow I will have to struggle through and wait till their dad is home or hope this blackness lifts.
Christmas for me is harder than their birthdays. I chose to celebrate their birthdays as a happy occasion. Don’t get me wrong, I still cry.
Christmas is supposed to be a joyful season of parties, carols, Santa photos, gift swapping and family.
Yet for us that have lost it’s not. It’s another yearly reminder that they are not here.
I try every year to find a new ornament to put on the tree in their honour. We have their feet and handprints on there too.
For me it’s a little sign they are here and we remember.
Honestly though I wish someone other than me would remember them. To write their name in a card or comment on the tree. In 10 years no one ever has.
Sometimes I wonder if I don’t mention them or wish them a happy birthday would anyone but me remember?
My husband very rarely mentions them.
That’s hard for me as I don’t want to upset him with my pain.
He holds me when I cry and tries so hard to comfort me but really I want him to know without me telling him.
Grief is at times so cruel. It can bring you to your knees with a smell, memory, name or a song.
When it hits me it hits hard and can take my breath away. I can’t say what it was today especially but all I know is it hurts.
So if you are reading this and know someone who has said goodbye to their baby or child, tell them you remember by saying their child’s name or expressing your awareness that this time of year is difficult for them.
Today I will be gentle on myself and try to put that brave smile on.
I hope if you are reading this, you realise you too are not alone and your baby or child are important.
We as their mothers remember them every day and those memories never fade.
I wish us all some love and gentleness this Christmas season. Xoxo

Merry Christmas Charlie and Neve 

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Kristina Riley

Kristina is a children's nurse and a counsellor.
She has four beautiful children.
Charlie and Neve are her two angels who are the  inspiration for raising more awareness about stillbirths and pregnancy loss.
Her two miracles Maya and Zack are the reason she keeps moving forward on this journey of grief.
Her husband Curt is also her inspiration to raise awareness for fathers and their grief.

There needs to be more awareness for us all.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas is fast approaching - Barry

Following on from my previous entry:  life had started to get back to some degree of normality. Life will never be the same again, but Sarah and I had started to come to terms as best we can and we both were back at work. Some days were still too much, however we start to spend more time at work and less time away. I start to feel useful at work once more not just showing up.

Then I started to think about Christmas. Phoenix was due in early January, so if everything had gone to plan he may have come early,  or if not Sarah would have been heavily pregnant during Christmas celebrations. Either way he would have been a part of our celebrations and I am sure he would have got lots of presents.

Unfortunately Phoenix will not make it with us to Christmas in person, we will remember him and think of him in spirit. One night I was thinking about this and feeling down: I took some time to grieve and thought I had processed it by the next morning.  Sarah suggested we take the day off anyway just to be sure, but I think if I take a day off work every time I am feeling a bit blue I will never be at work. So off I went to work, thinking everything was good and dealt with last night.

As I prepared for my day as a school teacher, all is going well until the first bell for home group and I feel the grief rising but it is too late to deal with. I go in thinking I only have 20 minutes to deal with then I have a free lesson and can manage my grief then.  As I enter the class it must have been written on my face a student asks me “Are you OK?” I believe in being honest with my students and I shake my head but I don’t have the words and that’s it - I break down.

Luckily there is an office to the side of my classroom filled with teachers and I take refuge in there and a teacher kindly offers to take over. I spend most of the home group time in there to compose myself and worry what will happen when I have to show myself to my students. However I realise I have some important information to relay to my students and decide to face the music. The students don’t say a word about what has happened and take the information in as normal as I take over the class for the remaining 5 minutes. Some students even come up to me throughout the day to check that I am ok. It’s funny, I teach in a pretty rough school but the students constantly surprise you with kindness and compassion, I think some may relate to grief and loss.  I take my free lesson to compose myself and continue to teach for the rest of the day. It certainly was not the most successful day, I still feel raw all day but I manage to get through. After a stressful day I decide to take the next day off to recover. 

I recover and go back to work for another week and all is well until again the thought of Christmas surfaces in the car on the way to work and I think the 25th of December will be the 4 month anniversary of Phoenix’s short time on this earth.   The grief starts to swell again but I think I have it under control again. Unbeknownst to me it is just building and biding its time. I manage to get through homegroup, however in the grief and confusion I have confused my days and planned a lesson for a different class. I get to my actual class after a short detour to tomorrow’s class and start to madly think of what I can do with this science class that was supposed to be PE.

I stand in front of the class (most of whom are socialising waiting for me to call their attention), and I realise the grief is about to explode once more in front of a class.
I try deep breathing to calm myself however another kind and thoughtful student asks again “Are you ok?” and it breaks me once more. I rush out of the class luckily again another teacher is nearby to relieve me for a few moments.  I compose myself again and retake my class a short while later. On this day I have no free lessons to calm myself just recess and lunch. Again it is not the best day but I get through. I notice myself being snappy with the students and I have to apologise on more than one occasion. My students know my story and they are mostly kind and compassionate.

I decide I need to take action to try and prevent future outbursts in class. I call Dorothy from Red Nose and we discuss some strategies around preempting those bad days and using music to bring the grief on early before work. We discuss using a phrase like “thank you for asking” as a shield if someone asks “Are you OK?”. I also discuss with my partner Sarah and she tells me she talks to Phoenix every morning and that helps her.

The next morning I try many of these strategies. I feel I want to get back on the horse again immediately unlike last week when I took the day off. I think everything is working fine until I am about to leave and I realise everything is not fine. Now I know this will be a huge disruption and it will be difficult to cover my lessons but I feel I have no choice but to call in sick.  I apologise profusely and explain the circumstances of why I am calling in so late.

After another interaction at work I fall into a deep depression for most of the weekend. I was able to function:  I went Christmas shopping with Sarah but the usually joy I felt around Christmas and buying presents was not there. This felt different to the grief I had experienced up until that point. I decided I need to discuss this with a professional although admitting to potential mental health issues was not something I wanted to do. There is still a stigma attached to such an admission. However after talking to supportive friends and family I decided it is better to check it out rather than wait for it to get worse, so I set an appointment for early next week.

During the weekend however I talked about it more and discovered there are other things I could be doing for my mental health. By the end of the weekend I was feeling much better however I decide to keep my doctor’s appointment just to keep everything in check. We discuss the differences between grief and depression. I know I want to try and avoid at all costs some of the feelings of that weekend just gone. I want to be able to recognise if I am going to that place and to develop strategies to get out.

On a lighter note Sarah and I found out on Monday we are expecting twins. This delightful if slightly terrifying news has brightened our lives. As for Christmas I am sure there are ups and downs to come. We will take time to remember Phoenix on the day. Like Sarah I have been talking to him every day, and our family brought us a wonderful Christmas Tree Bauble to remember Phoenix. Next Christmas we will have two little ones to share Christmas with Sarah, Phoenix and me. One day when they grow older we will tell them the story of Phoenix on our tree. 

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 14 000 72637

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Remembering Precious Jethro James short life - Dominique

Whenever I get an opportunity to write about my angel, Jethro James Morcombe, it is not something I shy away from, but yet I embrace this time to breathe even more life into my son’s short lived life.

I shake my head in disbelief that soon we will celebrate what would have been his 7th birthday, my goodness me!

My sweet child was bought into this world on the 14th January 2010. This was also my father’s birthday and we were so delighted that we were going to give Poppy the best birthday present ever. However, quite the opposite happened, as on this very day, my world changed and was to never be the same again.

I had a beautiful pregnancy with Jethro. No morning sickness, no health issues, just a lovely pregnancy.

We were induced early upon request and all was fine to do so. Then commenced what was to be a 25hr labor and then it was time to push. I pushed and pushed but needed help. So in came the vacuum suction and few times without success and then the forceps. On the third attempt of the forceps Jethro became stuck. The look of horror came over the obstetrician’s face and next minute I’m rushed into to have an emergency caesarian. At this point I had no idea what was going on, I was just doing as I was told. My husband on the other hand, as he later told me, knew something wasn’t right.

Jethro was pulled out fairly quickly…but something was wrong. There was no cry, however there was lots of people in the room by this time. Doctors and nurses rushed to his aid, then a few minutes later the obstetrician came over to tell me that he was very sick and that he had lost a lot of oxygen during delivery: we later found out that this would cause his death. At this point, I just figured he would be fine and that he would recover. All the same my body went into shock and I could not stop myself from shaking. I was incredibly scared. He was later take to the Children’s Hospital. The next day I was bandaged up, catheter in and off I went to visit my son. As I walked into the ward, there was Jethro, the only child attached to all these machines and I just broke down and wept. I was heartbroken to say the least.

The day was just a blur and that pains me, as that day was 1 of only 2 days Jethro was alive and I felt like I’d missed out on an opportunity to hold my boy a little longer, to stroke his face, touch his skin, play with his little fingers and toes and talk to him and tell him how much I love him, but I had no idea that he was about to be taken as soon as he was.

That night my husband told me that the doctors had asked us to make a decision. Because Jethro was so sick we had the option to take him off life support and let him pass away peacefully. The next day we sat and spoke with the doctor and they had explained to us that he would never recover and that there was nothing more that they could do from him. He would be brain damaged forever and by letting him stay on life support meant that he could actually survive, but basically be a vegetable. There was no way we would do that to our son, it would have felt selfish. No one should ever have to live like this so of course we agreed to do the most humane thing possible and take him off life support. This was the hardest decision of our lives, but knew that it was the right one. After the family said their goodbyes, the doctors took Jethro of all the machines. He was then brought to us in a room at the hospital. And there he was, our gorgeous boy, no machines, just him. I kissed him and talked to him and held him. We understood that he would be gone in a few hours, but our strong little man stayed on for 9 hours. And then..I heard his last breath! A moment I will never forget. I saw my son be brought into this world and then I saw him go.

I believe that Jethro was brought to us for a reason and taken for a reason. He has enriched my life so much and has helped me open my eyes in a big way. He’s thought about every hour of every day and I love and miss my son so much.  


If you require support after reading this blog please contact  

Sands on 13 000 72637

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A Dad's Story of Stillbirth - Barry Williams

Today I feel like sharing my story. So,  on the 23rd of August my partner Sarah and I went in for our 21 week scan. Everything was fine, great even. We found out we were having a little boy and according to the ultrasound he was normal and healthy. The radiographer decided to check Sarah's cervix and from there our life was turned upside down. She spotted something but needed a radiologist to check so a nurse went off in search of one. Soon we had not one but two radiologists, the radiographer and a  nurse all in the room. They had discovered Sarah's cervix was open; we didn't know what that meant but they wanted us to go off to the Women’s Assessment Unit to check further. Before we left, we asked and were given some information. Sarah got up to walk to the assessment unit but was promptly told she would need to go by wheelchair -  surely this was  just a precaution. 

We get to the Assessment Unit and are greeted by Ben, our first doctor. He takes a look and confirms Sarah's cervix is open; he gives us more information, he tells Sarah to lie down not sit up. Blood is taken from Sarah and we wait. Two more Doctors come to explain in detail to us what is going on and our options. We will deal with Kate for the next 3 days:  she says she is the doctor on call tomorrow and will be primarily dealing with us. They explain to us exactly what is meant by “an open cervix” and some options and scenarios. Kate is very straight forward and honest -  I like that about her. Our situation is not great, if we could make it to 30 weeks (24 - 26 weeks is safe but possible disability), then we have a chance of a healthy baby but we have a few things that may stand in our way. Kate says if there is no infection there is a chance they may be able to stitch Sarah's cervix but as it is already open it will be very difficult and may not hold. 

The results of the blood test come back and Sarah has an infection. Sarah seems healthy so it is likely the infection is with the baby, this is not good news. We cannot go ahead with the stitch as it will become a site for the infection to grow. They admit Sarah and monitor the infection levels. I stay with her but need to leave that night. I go and get her some things to stay at hospital. I cry that night, still not really sure what is going on. 

The next day I return to the hospital.  That morning, Sarah has more blood taken and we await the results from the doctor. Sarah did not sleep well on the uncomfortable hospital bed. We take comfort in each other through waves of emotion trying to make sense of what is going on.  Kate comes later that morning to see how we are, she does not have the results of the second blood test yet and has learned her lesson not to make plans without all the information. 

Finally Kate has the results of the second blood test. Strike 3 - more bad news. The infection has increased overnight significantly. There is little chance this baby will survive and a real chance it may die inside Sarah in which case Sarah will get sick. Again we appreciate Kate's honesty. She looks at us as we remain composed and says "this is not right, you shouldn't be so together". She lets us take in the news and we fall apart. We hold each other. We decide we need to do what is right for Sarah's body. We need to terminate.   Kate comes back comments that our reaction is now more appropriate. We tell her we want to terminate, she agrees it is for the best. 

There is more waiting as Sarah will take one tablet now to stop the pregnancy, then more in 2 days to induce labour. As these tablets terminate life, there is a process and paperwork that needs to be done. We just want to go home spend some time away from the hospital.
Finally all the paperwork is done, Sarah takes the tablet and we go home and begin to grieve. Sarah's sister, husband and child come to see us and we catch up with them for a while. Later that night Sarah gets pretty bad pain.  I ring the hospital, explain what is going on:  they say it could be the drug working but to monitor it and come in if it gets worse. I pack a bag ready to return to hospital. We go to bed with Sarah still getting regular pain.  At 10:30pm Sarah wakes me and informs me her waters have broken.

She is cool calm and collected, and calls the hospital, they tell her to take a shower and come in. I put the sheets in the wash, make sure everything is in the bag and generally run around in a panic. We arrive at the hospital and are admitted to the labour ward. Sarah is in pain, they give her a shot but it barely takes the edge off;  later they give her some more pain relief and a sleeping tablet. They set up a bed for me next to her and I fall asleep. At 4:10am, Sarah felt she needed to push. She wakes me up, calls the nurse and reaches over to grab my hand. Not wanting to disturb her I remain in bed holding her hand (the way she tells it, I lay there almost still sleeping). She kindly suggests I get up. I do so and sit next to her and hold her hand.

At 4:45 our child Phoenix Ian Christopher Williams is born. The hospital staff  wrap him and hand him to Sarah first, then to me as Sarah still has work to do. We both see signs of life, a little wriggle, a beating heart. We know they won't last long and we treasure them forever. The hospital staff take him, clean him up and dress him. They take many photos and hand prints. The staff  are amazing. We spend some time with him then it is back to sleep. He stays with us in our room.

We wake a little later:  now is the painful process of telling family. We break down on every phone call. We decide it is going to be easier to use Facebook. Over the course of the next few days many people come out of the woodwork sharing their story. We begin to realise how common this little secret can be. We decide to be open and public.

Phoenix stays with us that day, we love him and watch over him. He has Sarah's nose which is a blessing as the Williams schnoz is prolific. We do all we can to take care of each other; Sarah needs to stay in hospital for a day on a heavy course of antibiotics to clear the infection. I stay in hospital with her and we watch movies and cry. My Mum comes later that day (Sarah's Mum and Dad are in the country and we tell them not to come down just yet).

We decide we have kept Phoenix long enough it is time to say goodbye. We both hold him one last time and wish him well wherever he is. We cry again. Then call the nurse to take him. She tells us we can ask for him back if we need. 

We leave the hospital the next morning. It is hard to leave without our son. What do we do now? We go home and cry. There are flowers at our door. Sarah's parents come down to help around the house. We hug and cry. We need some groceries so Sarah's Dad and I go off to the supermarket. Ian goes to get some fuel while I go to the shops. I walk through the shops in a daze, I get the food on the shopping list plus extra and head to the checkout. While I wait to be served I overhear the next checkout talking about the customer’s children and how big they have grown. I begin to cry. I carry out the transaction with tears streaming down my face. I just want to get out of there as quickly as possible. So I leave without a bag of shopping. Ian comments on how two bags of shopping doesn't seem like enough for the list Sarah made. I think nothing off it I just want to go home.

When I get home I realise I am missing a bag of shopping. Sarah's Mum and Dad go back to the supermarket explain what happened, it seems someone else picked up my bag of shopping by mistake so they recollect all the items missing on my receipt and also get us flowers.

Over the next few weeks we meet and talk with our awesome friends, each time we tell our story it gets easier. We get so many flowers we run out of vases. We get out when we can and stay home when we need to. We check in with each other regularly simply asking "are you OK". We keep Phoenix's room set up and put in the keepsakes from the hospital and our friends. Our puppies look after us also. Sarah's Mum and Dad offer us a few days away by the river in Barmera and we go down to get away from things. We have good days and bad days but we have them together and it brings us closer. 

I ride my bicycle when I can. A mix of emotions washed over me on my first ride. Sadness for I will never get to teach my son to ride a bike but also happiness for he will always ride with me. I could imagine him on the back of my bike shouting "faster daddy, faster" with glee. I am glad when a SIDS counsellor told us grief is tiring and some days we are both so exhausted. 

Today was my first attempt at going back to work. Over the weekend I had some anxiety over how the day would play out, added to regular anxiety I have as a new teacher wondering if I have adequate and engaging lesson plans. Sarah and I couldn't sleep Saturday night and we both shared our concerns. This helped and Sunday night and this morning I felt fine. However as I was driving to work I broke down for no reason in particular. I decided to use today as a first step. I went in and spoke to my colleges and my home group. It helped and I hope tomorrow will be a better day. 

When I got home Sarah received a package from her cousin. They named a star after Phoenix Ian Christopher Williams in the constellation Phoenix, so I was glad to be home to see that. 
Going forward there have been good days and bad but we have faced them together. We have faced our niece and nephew’s 1 and 2 year old parties. Both of us wanting to quit work but getting through it and just life moving forward when sometimes I feel it should just stand still. 

Recently my work banded together to buy us an amazing telescope so we can view Phoenix's star. Sometimes people don't know how to react or don't react in the way you want but sometimes they do amazing things.                                                         Barry

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Two Years Jess

I’ve had the words rolling around and around in my head for months, I’m finding it particularly hard to articulate my thoughts 2 years on. There may be no real point to the following, it may seem like rambles, but here goes…

How can it have been 2 years already?!! 2 years since you entered the world so silently, 2 years since we looked on your beautiful face, kissed your closed eyes and ruby red lips. 2 years since we held your hands and said goodbye. 2 years since a little piece of me died with you.

I never thought I’d feel truly happy again, never thought I could experience contentment again…I’m still on the fence about contentment but we have been blessed enough to feel pure joy welcoming your little sister into the world! She was the spitting image of you, seeing her sleeping soundly in that hospital cot was both elating and unsettling. Walking her through our front door and placing her in the bassinet we made up for you felt the same. You would adore little Belle Emma. You would have been a doting big sister, so proud of your little baby…I suppose. We’ll never know. Most likely Belle would never have been born had you lived, we would probably have carried on with life as normal. Complaining of the lack of sleep, the cost of nappies, the seemingly trivial day to days of raising a family. Losing you gave us a perspective that you can only gain from losing a child. That’s not to say that we don’t complain about the sleep deprivation, we’re only human after all.

Since bringing our 3rd child  Belle home, every second of my day is filled with some form of craziness and yet I still think of Emma every one of those seconds. After she died all I wanted was to be pregnant again, thinking it would fix or at least help repair the hole in me. About 13 months after Emma was born I finally fell pregnant and it was beautiful. My pregnancy was such a breeze (physically, not emotionally) and really in a way, healing. I proved to myself that I could do it, that my body could get through it.

When I look into Belle’s eyes I look for Emma and she’s not there. Belle is a little version of me just like her big brother (now nearly 4), only she has her Dad’s beautiful blue eyes instead of my brown. Those eyes kill me. They are the most beautiful eyes you’ll ever see, when I look into those eyes I feel her love for me and I feel our connection. I also feel that hole inside me opening back up. I never got to look into Emma’s eyes. Would they have been brown like mine or blue like her Dads? Another unknown.

Bringing Belle home was a monumental moment. We finally brought our baby home…but it also brought home that Emma will never come home. Belle, Adam, any other children we might have are not Emma, they never will be Emma. She is lost to us forever. It sounds ridiculous but I never realised it until I placed our precious bundle into that bassinet that I lovingly made up for Emma but never used for her. She’s never coming home. For the rest of my life I’ll miss her and I’ll be missing a piece of myself. Adam will be missing his little sister and Belle will never have her big sister to grow up with.

Some days I’m ok with this, some days, like today, it’s more than I can bear to think about.

Happy Birthday baby girl xx  

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

Jessica Lawless

Jessica lives in Victoria. She is the wife to Shane and a Mum to 2 beautiful kids - Adam, nearly 2 and Emma, born sleeping August 2014.
I like to practice yoga, cook, read and spend all my time being a SAHM with Adam. My family and friends are my whole world, there is barley a distinction between the two.
I hope by being so open and honest about my experiences I can help raise awareness and provide support for others.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Grieving Still by Therese

I often wonder why I still grieve for the baby I miscarried over 30 years ago. I then say to myself: why not? If I don’t understand this how can anyone else?

It is amazing how much self-talk we do in life but even more so I feel during a grief episode.  However, what could be more heartfelt a grief than the loss of a child? After all a child is part of a mother from the time it is conceived. Not only is there a physical emptiness when the womb is no long carrying a child, the possible illness that may have resulted plus the emotional pain of self and baby’s father just adds to the mix. Throw in grandparents to this and the grief can become overwhelming.

I remember feeling somehow responsible for the loss of my baby, although intellectually I knew this was wrong. I had no support to turn to especially in the hospital as they were quick to release me home after one night’s stay. At the time of my miscarriage there were no support groups such as SANDS and the midwives were not trained in the grief process, so couldn’t possibly give the support that was needed. Going home to a house in emotional turmoil with two lively children and a grandmother who was rather cranky added to the mix of devastation I was feeling, didn’t do well for my recovery. So is this an explanation for why I still grieve for my little lost soul?

Every year on the due date of my baby, I do some sort of remembrance for it (I didn’t even know its sex). Sometime after the 25-year anniversary, I bought my favourite flower, a rose, which turned out to be the Jane McGrath rose, something I thought of as rather fitting given that she had died and left such a legacy. My two daughters came to support me with this and I did a reading and played a special song.

Did this ritual help when I had not been allowed a burial or other form of memorial at the time of the loss? Yes, but only in part as there will always be that missing link. Do other mothers feel like me? Other Dads even? It would be nice to know this.

There is still no support I have found for such support in my area and wonder what happens to parents who experience miscarriage or a still birth? There is no information in the doctors’ surgeries or other public spaces, something I am remedying, while I wait for SANDS brochures. Will this information be enough? I hope so.  At least it is more than I had when I lost my baby all those years ago.

Do I still shed tears, I hear you ask? Sometimes. It can be a song or an article on television that sets me off. When others close to me have gone through a miscarriage or still birth, this was enough to bring my loss to the forefront again.

But having now written my thoughts to paper, I realise that what every form my grief takes, it is all okay. For you out there reading this, your grief is yours to experience and while no-one can do it for you, it is okay for you to experience. Sometimes it is just too hard to have others understand when they haven’t been through this experience, however, while it might add to the grief at the time; I feel it is best to let it go. I forgave my mother because as I matured I knew she was grieving in the own way. After all we all grieve differently and it is all okay.

Therese  27082016

Gifts given but often hidden
Love freely given
To angels such as you
I thank you.

Therese Bryant (Murphy) © October 6 2010

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

About Therese 

Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.

Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.

Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.

Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

How Can This Make Me a Better Person? by Tennille

I never understood why people said “losing my baby has made me a better / stronger / kinder person”

After Oscar was born, (stillborn at 33 weeks) I read books by other bereaved parents, read the literature given to us in the hospital, cover to cover several times, wondering how I was going to get through the next day, I wondered how other parents survived, or went on to have other children. I wasn’t able to believe I would ever hold a living breathing child in my arms or that I could create a “new” life where I felt genuinely happy.

One comment which cropped up repeatedly on blog sites, from other bereaved parents and in stories I read of family who had lost a child was “this tragedy has made me a better person” or “it has made me stronger”. I remember thinking “How could this tragedy change me so profoundly” or “”I’m so upset that my baby died, why would I want to show compassion to others?” When friends commented that I had been so strong, it really felt very awkward because I didn’t have a choice in what was happened to my baby, I did what I had to do at the time to survive.

Nearly five years on, I still think I am not necessarily more compassionate or am a better person because of my experience but perhaps I now have a better understanding about what these people were trying to say. When your baby dies, you have to dig deep to live every day. Nothing is as you imagined and you have to reorder your life again. Oscar was our first child and I had planned to take time out of the workforce and become a stay at home mum for a period of time, enjoying my new baby and relishing in all that parenthood had to offer. When all of that was suddenly taken away from me I needed some way to keep Oscar’s memory going. I felt like losing my child was like being scrubbed raw with a wire brush, your skin is red, scratched and tender. I knew that I wold never forget my son but I needed to know that our family and friends were not going to forget him either. This was critically important and while friends would comment our willingness to discuss stillbirth and our son as strength it was more a way for me to share my son, just as any new parent wants to and to make sure that people would not forget him.

I think what I understand more now when people say it made them a better person, was that it gave them a grit and determination they may not have known they had, it also gave them a purpose for doing something:  that purpose could be to make sure this never happened to anyone else again, that another bereaved family did not have to have the same lonely experience they had or that by discussing their child and helping others keeps the memory of their own children alive. Whatever the reason, I think this experience has taught me not to shy away from death, dying and grief. I have learnt to accept that bad things can happen to good people and we don’t always get a say in the outcome, even if we do all the ‘right’ things.

When your baby dies, you lose your innocence. Children and babies should never die, but they do. When you lose your baby your trust and belief in all that is good is shaken to the core. Each person who has been through this has to rebuild themselves from the ground up and sometimes that rebuilding process leaves a hole, a scar or completely rebuild a new person from the rubble. So rather than being more compassionate or stronger perhaps I have become more accepting of other people’s choices in how they live their life and less presumptuous about people. Because sometimes people have a story they don’t want to share because it is just too raw for them.

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Tennille Welsh

Tennille Welsh is a mother to three beautiful boys. Mark (her husband) and Tennille experienced the stillbirth of their first son Oscar, at 33 weeks gestation in 2011, cause unknown. Tennille is passionate about raising awareness of the high incidence of stillbirth in Australia and shares Oscar's story in the hope that it may help other grieving families.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

One Year ago - Miscarry No 2 but Baby No 3 😭

Today (7/8/16) one year ago Heaven got another angel. The loss of Tristan was the worst out of my two miscarriages and I’ll tell you why.

On the 7th of August my husband and daughter were supposed to go to WWE that was in Melbourne that night and due to bleeding that day my husband decided to stay home and care for me. I was begging him to go and not let out 5 year old down but as a husband he must have known. At 2am on the 8th of August I had a huge bleed, what felt to me was the size of a newborn slipping away and then I got dizzy. My husband rang the ambulance and I went to hospital. I went to the hospital on my own and for the next 8 hours was a nightmare. I was in so much pain, every inch I moved blood would pour from me like a bucket getting tipped on my bed and even the endone wouldn’t ease the pain and the bag of blood I was receiving wasn’t catering for what was coming out.

It was a night I wanted to end as soon as I could. It got to a point where I knew deep down I was losing my baby and asked if there was a way to hurry it along and they didn’t want to because they said he might be ok.
At 10am that morning the pains got worse and I needed to push. I finally got a cleaner’s attention and she got me help. I was pushed up to the birthing suit and given gas as well as a tablet to help things along. By the time I got up there and comfortable I had a puddle of blood and something bouncing off my legs. That’s when they looked and saw my little man laying there in his sack.

Within a few minutes I was holding my little man I was devastated: 3 boys and I wasn’t even entitled to keep one. That’s when I noticed his little heart beating through his chest and I didn’t know what to do or think. So what I did was covered him up and placed him in the cot next to me to let him go. I couldn’t stand watching. It was giving me false hope.

By the time my husband and kids came in he was cold and resting. And I remember the girls saying mum he is sticky. But they were still so proud of him.

By night I was finally aloud to come home. I was so excited to relax but Luke needed to help me around because I was feeling rather dizzy and almost falling over. I was confused as to why I was so bad until I got a phone call saying my blood levels were far too low being on 70ish and needing to be on 120. So I had to go back.

When I went back I had to go up to birthing suit. And that is where they left me. In a room across from a screaming baby until lunch the next day to receive my 3 bags of blood. I remember one cleaning lady come and ask where my baby was “in care?” she asked ever so nicely and I just replied “no my baby didn’t make it.” She was shocked she was very sorry and I said it wasn’t her fault.

But that is why this miscarriage was the worst.

I seem to do great until these little days where no one remembers and they wonder why you’re are not in a happy mood or why you say your day hasn’t been great. Or little comments like don’t loose this one (being pregnant again) or on anniversaries you want to talk and you get oh one of your kids died.  I miss my boys each and every day but I go on living for the princesses I’ve got but days like today are always the hardest. 

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

Tiffany Aghan

Wife to Luke and mummy to Tamara and Summer, in her arms, and Wade, Jax and Tristan, in heaven. I have recently completed certificates in law and in psychology and in the process of completing certificate in medicine. I am having time off at the moment to spend more time with my girls. But I am hoping one day I will continue where I want to go.