Friday, 29 December 2017

Surviving the Loss of Your Baby by Catherine

Through all of this craziness the only moments of calm I had were when I was holding Benjamin.  I had looked forward to holding him for so long but I had never thought for one minute that he wouldn’t be alive when it finally happened. When the nurse rolled him into our room I couldn’t believe how perfect he was, it took my breath away.  He just looked like he was sleeping.  I thought that holding him would be strange and unnatural but it was quite the opposite.  My heart was bursting with love for him.  He was where he belonged, with his Mummy and Daddy.  I think that is where the calmness came from – it is the most natural thing in the world to hold your newborn baby.  It just so happened that ours had already left this world for the next.  

The weeks that followed were the worst of my life.  I would wake up at 5am every morning and wonder how I would make it through to that evening.  Every minute felt like an eternity.  After saying goodbye to Benjamin for the last time at his funeral the desperate longing to hold him again tortured me each day.  The tears would not stop and yet I had this strange yearning to be pregnant again.  Nothing made sense.  Nothing made me happy.  My life felt like nothing.  I had no idea how to live in this new world where I carried my baby in my heart instead of in my arms.  All I wanted was for someone to tell me how to get through the days and how to re-integrate back into life.    

I had no structure to my day and I had no interest in doing anything but I needed to start somewhere.  So I started with small wins.  Each day I would try to do something small.  It started with getting out of bed and having a shower and progressed to blow-drying my hair and even cooking a meal. At the start it was hard for me to do this.  I was so used to my big job and being busy, busy, busy that the small wins seemed silly and trivial.  I had gone from managing the finances for a billionaire dollar business to celebrating blow-drying my hair.  An important thing that I have learnt on this journey, however, is that I need to be kind to myself and I need to be patient with myself.  Most people will never go through as traumatic an event as losing their baby.  Whether we like it or not it takes time to heal.   

I am now 5 months on from losing Benjamin and the small wins have snowballed into big wins and dare I say it a new life.  A life that is very different from what I had imagined but still worth fighting for.  I have good days and I have bad days.  I still cry all the time and I miss my boy desperately.  But I think that by trying to live life again I have found hope again.  I have found an amazing love in this world and the knowledge that my son is always and forever in my heart keeps me going each day.


If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 72637

Catherine Travers

Catherine was born in Ireland but moved to Perth, Western Australia with her husband almost 10 years ago.  She is mum to baby Benjamin, who was born sleeping in April 2017.  Since losing Benjamin she has taken a keen interest in raising awareness for stillbirth and trying to help those who follow in her footsteps of loss.  Catherine blogs about her experiences of stillbirth and grief at 'Benjamin's Light' and through her Facebook page 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Losing My Potatoes by Alison

It never plays out the way I imagine it. Yes I do imagine it. Every scenario flashes through my head, I suppose in preparation for coping with the worst. I wouldn’t know, I’m no psychologist. My imagination tells me I’ll collapse, perhaps scream so loud the medical staff will feel awkward. Maybe I’d need to be restrained for threat of ending it all right there. Instead I am silent - the news registering but not processing. “Don’t take it off my belly,” I say to the sonographer. “Now’s the only chance to see what went wrong.”

They never find anything. 

The first night at home is always odd. There’s a baby inside me, but she’s gone. Yesterday I was pregnant, tomorrow I won’t be. But what am I now? I sip a glass of wine, hating that I’m allowed to, and welcoming the numbness it promotes. 

Necessary Processes

The car trip is silent. The occasional hand on my knee, which I usually can’t acknowledge. Sometimes I place a hand on top of his. It sucks for him too, I’m not completely self-consumed. Mostly I can’t think about it, I just have to survive. Everything about these days etches in my memory. The warm sun on the car, the sound of my footsteps upon the hospital floor. My trackies are dragging, I should pull them up. I look like a bogan. All the other day patients look better dressed – but I’ve been here before. After your hopes and dreams have been torn from your whatsies, the last thing you want to put on is your diesel jeans.

I hand my drivers licence to the clerk, knowing that if words are uttered from my mouth I’ll cry. A nurse gives me the hospital gown and shuts me in a cubical. Then the tears come. Right on cue. They ask me if I’m ok, I can’t answer. 

They hand me the chalky stuff and offer me pain killers in preparation for the cramping it will produce. I refuse. “I prefer the pain,” I lie and they look at me with sympathy. In truth I can’t swallow those enormous tablets with water. I can’t be bothered explaining.

I used to make ridiculous jokes with the anaesthetists. Some weird nervous response, I suppose. I don’t do that this time and I miss that little part of myself.

I wake up feeling groggy, but also better, as though my body feels relief my daughter has been removed from it. I hate myself for feeling like this.

The Healing Process

I sleep the first day. The second we get sushi and drink wine. Sometimes I even laugh, still numb to what I’ve just been through, enjoying the consumables I had to refuse only days earlier. I’m productive. I clean out cupboards, sort through junk. I’m keen to get the weight off, feel good about myself for once. I can’t sit still. Then it’s night and I have time to think. This time last week I had hope… I was almost halfway through, it was supposed to be ok this time. How stupid people must think me. I should have known. It’s the fifth time this has been my reality. Give up, idiot. Murderer. You should have known she wouldn’t make it. Another sucky Christmas without the family I dreamed of. I cry so much I at least don’t have to take my make-up off. 


They’ll test the product, then dispose of her as though she was nothing. I can’t keep her, it’s not procedure. I could have birthed her, they’d told me. A limited autopsy would have been performed. I know the result, all would be clear, it always is. My daughters are perfect. But I wouldn’t have survived another terminal birth. The hospital doctors feed me some stupid statistic that ‘historically after loss people have an 80% chance of success’. Specialists are a little more specific, telling me they’re sure it was this or that. Clearly I’m gullible, but it’s not as though I go into a pregnancy thinking I won’t have a baby at the end. I gamble responsibly. 

My Emotional Potatoes

The nurse calls me the next day. She’d prefer an adult home with me, she says. That’s because she doesn’t know the difference between being suicidal and not knowing how to live each day. I’m not alone, I assure her. Hubby is worried too.

Mostly I’m ok. There are triggers, many obvious. Bleeding, seeing pregnant mums, new born babies, siblings are a huge trigger for me, abrupt or snappy people, but also not knowing whether I’ll get my dollar back from the Aldi trolley. I had a full panic attack once because I ran out of potatoes for dinner. I didn’t need them, from a BMI point of view or for the night’s menu. But panic is a dirty mole. They say with panic your body goes into fight or flight mode. You know, where back in the days of our ancestors they would have run from the lion or tried to fight it. Well there’s another mode that doesn’t sound as sassy as fight or flight. Hide. That’s me. I shut down completely and can no longer process my environment. I literally blank people out if it’s too overwhelming. I tell myself that had ancestor me been faced with a lion I’d have scaled an enormous tree. Current me is just socially awkward.

Back to Reality

Then I’m back at work. Mostly I act as though nothing has happened. As though my belly doesn’t still look pregnant and my heart isn’t broken. They don’t give me bereavement leave, or maternity leave. Babies aren’t considered people unless they are born. Alive. And even then it’s apparently debatable. 

I’m triggered by everything and also nothing – A person talking about their grandchildren, a passing comment that brings me back to reality for no reason. Sometimes the conversations feel intentional. I’m probably paranoid. But also people can be heartless numpties. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and then sloppy sob into my hands. I’m gone too long and don’t know how I’ll go back to the office. I should have bought makeup to work. Red eyes are in fashion, right? When I do go back, no one says anything. I make jokes to over-compensate and actually it’s so awkward that I’m a little bit amused at myself. I can’t tell if I’m weird or fabulous. 

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud
A few weeks after a loss comes the mud. The weight isn’t coming off, I’ve achieved none of the things I should have now that I’m not pregnant. It’s paralysing. I see the person I want to be, the mother, the wife, the human being, but she’s out of reach. Crying is unproductive, leaving the house unnecessarily presents too many unknowns. I took half a valium once, but felt trapped in my head, my muscles too relaxed to move. It was a strange kind of torture. I wish I’d enjoyed it.

One of the most difficult aspects of loss for me has been the reaction of others. The more losses I have, the less it seems to matter to the majority. I announce on facebook now. It’s easier than having to see the looks of sympathy in people’s eyes. Or watch them as they retreat into themselves, not knowing what to say. My close friends text me, usually with profanities and offers of alcohol consumption. These are welcome. I get private messages from people asking if it will be investigated or if I’ve considered this test or that. We’ve done every test. All of them. I want to tell them to sod of, but for some reason I still want to be liked. This all goes to snot when I bring up my losses randomly with strangers. Something about getting in before they ask me impossible questions such as how many children I have. At least now I have an excuse for being socially awkward (whoever said I couldn’t see the positives?!).

I go back to my GP for surgery follow up and her face lights up when she sees me. She doesn’t know. Screw you public hospital and your terrible correspondence records. More mud, more tears. I’d rather face a lion.

The Spiritual

I try to understand what lesson I might be supposed to understand from an ethereal being point of view. It’s too wasteful not to be angry about. If there is some higher power, it clearly has no idea who I am. This goes against everything I was brought up to believe. It makes me feel insignificant and isolated, and perhaps a little rebellious.
I have learnt a few things though:

I can only control my life to a certain point

A pregnancy will go the way it’s meant to, regardless of whether             you’re anxious about it or not
People suck at dealing with the grief of others
But their intentions are mostly good
You think you’re doing ok and then someone keys your car
Alcohol makes me happy, but also fat

Help, in all its Obvious Forms

You’re probably thinking I should see someone. I have of course. After I gave birth to my heart angel, Autumn, I was diagnosed with PTSD. My first psychologist focused on mindfulness and tried to teach me breathing techniques. There’s a place for mindfulness, but when I’m sobbing in a corner because I’ve lost my potatoes, the last thing I want to do is be in my conscious thought and experience every sensation. Perhaps I missed the point. Whatever. Hubby’s solution of a cider in the shower and taking over dinner is a little more genius. 

The second psychologist was brilliant. Apart from the fact he was on the other side of the city and both parking and being late are massive triggers for me. Also he charged $220 for 50 minutes, but I left his sessions feeling pumped. He told me my PTSD was more like severe depression, but actually I deal with it very well. Apparently the people he sees with ‘real’ PTSD are like shattered windscreens, which can be put back together, but will never function properly again. I’m balanced, he told me. Stable and strong. It took eight sessions before I realised I had paid him $1760 to complement me. He may also be a genius.

Self Perceptions

The strange thing for me is realising I’m no where near as resilient as I portray to others. When I was sixteen I lived in emergency housing, technically homeless, though less dramatic as I never slept on the street. The circumstances that landed me on the doorstep of Berry Street, a wonderful organisation, were domestic violence and a mother who couldn’t support us out of that situation. I’ll never forget the lady at Centrelink asking me why I didn’t live at home. I don’t remember if I verbally answered, but she saw something in my eyes (alright, I was probably snort-sobbing), and she lodged the documents as ‘unreasonable to live at home’. I was lucky. But at the time, I felt invincible. I had removed myself from the scary thing, got a job and supported myself. At sixteen!

When I was twenty-five I was in a relationship with an insecure guy with a temper. (insert metaphor of how you end up dating the same personalities as your male role-models). One night, after I’d broken up with him, but before I moved out, he wanted to go through my phone. He snatched it off me and hid it, then took my wallet and my car keys so I couldn’t leave. As I pulled out my laptop to message a friend, he marched to the kitchen to turn the internet off at the wall. This is when I grabbed the spare keys from under my pillow and fled.

On a digressive side note, if you find yourself sleeping with your spare keys under your pillow, you’re not dramatic, you’re clever. But maybe do a one, two, skip a few and leave now. 

My point of listing these two scenarios is that I still was somewhat in control of my life, regardless of how difficult it felt at the time. Pregnancy loss was new territory for my self-built life. I love the motivational speakers who tell you you’re the master of your own universe. Also I want to throw tomatoes at their stupid advertisements. 

Control. What a beautiful illusion. 

This gets heavy, but bear with me if you can. Before I birthed my Autumn they made me swallow a tablet to cut off the hormones. The theory was that she would pass peacefully inside me, rather than minutes after birth in a painful and traumatic manner. I thought of course that I was protecting her. Within an hour and over the next few days her movements slowed down. This is the worst thing I’ve ever been through. Ever. I had no control over her life. I couldn’t protect her and no matter what happened, I would have to birth her in a few days. It was like walking towards some kind of death. I knew I would be worse off for having gone through it, but I had no escape. No spare keys under my pillow, no centrelink lady rescuing me from starvation. I laboured for eight hours. I was refused epidural, but I needed the agony. It was the only proof I was still alive. She died in my arms. I wasn’t prepared for that. I wanted to die with her, as though I could walk her through the veil that separates life and death, in some ridiculous belief that she wouldn’t be alone. There was nothing spiritual about that day. No flash of light, no angels singing hymns of praise as they whisked her up to heaven. She was there and then she wasn’t. If I had died with her, I’d have simply been also dead. It was soul-destroying. 

The moment she was out of my body I felt relief that the worst of it was over. I was so wrong. 

And then…

I’ve lost three more daughters since Autumn. I don’t know why they’re girls, I’m assured in holds no significance to the pregnancy outcomes. The baby before Autumn was never tested for gender – or anything else. The first loss is not deemed significant enough for testing.

Where I’m At

I’ve explained my losses, given some insight into how I am (or am not) managing. I’m supposed to end on some positive note, so all the readers will feel warm and fuzzy. Humans need happy endings. I’m still working on coping. I haven’t discovered a fool-proof way through the mud, and I’m sorry that the only solution I’ve offered is alcoholic consumption. Maybe I’ll name my next blog post ‘Finding my Potatoes’ and feed you all some excellent story of how it all worked out in the end. Or maybe life is about moving on from the notions of happy endings – or endings at all for that matter. Perhaps life is about every moment, the good and the bad and how we adapt to what we’re dealt. 
My one little chestnut in my pocket is that perhaps when the mud hits after this loss I will find a way to feel alive. Maybe I’ll go skydiving and shock myself into living. I’ll let you know if it snaps me out of it. 
Alternatively I might have a freak parachute accident, furthering the doctor’s theories that I’m just extremely unlucky. 

Also, I’ll keep focusing on health and well-being, but because I’m vain, not responsible. That way when people ask me how I’m going, I can be honest and say I’m pretty shit. I’m shit, but I feel pretty so whatever. It’s the little things.


If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 72637

Ally Pritchard is an author and mother from Melbourne. She writes fictional novels and novellas under her maiden name A. Finlay. She’s lost five babies at eight, twenty-one, twelve, twelve and just recently at fifteen weeks.

Check out Ally's facebook page

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Looking After Yourself at Christmas Time by Maureen

The holiday season is fast approaching and it's a weird time for our household as we look forward to the quality time we have with each other and our family and friends but simultaneously we dread the many conversations. If you're in a similar situation you'll know these questions well.

Are you pregnant? 

What I say: No, not yet
 What I'd really like to say: None of your business 

When are you going to have children? 

What I say: When the timing is right 
What I'd really like to say: Well we've had 4 miscarriages in a row over the last three years, your guess is as good as mine! 

Why don't you have children yet, you'd be such great parents! 

What I say: Thank you, maybe one day, we'll see 
What I'd really like to say: I'm not sure if you know, but the concept of being great parents alone does not actually determine your ability to procreate. 

Surprise! If you've read my previous blog's you'll know that I'm a big advocate of talking more about miscarriage, but I'm not so sure we'll ever get to a point where it's socially appropriate to respond to these questions with "We have been trying, we've had four miscarriages, one was ectopic actually and it was pretty horrendous and life threatening. Please, tell me your detailed thoughts on what we might be doing wrong?"

Mixed into all that, holiday milestones like the upcoming Christmas season are a time where we are reminded of the difficult journey we've faced and continue to go through. We've been trying to have children for almost three years:

   · It was during our Christmas holiday in 2014 that we made the decision to go off the pill and start trying.

   · It was in Christmas of 2015 that we mourned the loss of our first miscarriage and,

   · Christmas 2016, while on an AMAZING once in a lifetime honeymoon, was also the conceiving and then eventual loss of another baby

So, what we are reminded of each year at Christmas is that had we not lost our babies, we would be celebrating a first or second Christmas with our first born. We don't have a tree set up or decorations and I guess this is in part because there doesn't feel like there is a need to. I guess it also feels like there is something missing in the things we want for our life (i.e. a family with children).

Everyone experiences this differently, but for us it's focusing on quality time with each other, taking care of each other and giving the time and space needed to grieve. It’s also celebrating and recognising what we've gone through as a couple. It also sometimes means spending Christmas day by ourselves, which is incredibly difficult to explain to the well-meaning family and friends but something that we have to do. Selfish or not, it's vitally important to

our individual well-being and that of our relationship that we take the time by ourselves to grieve the loss we’ve experienced, cherish the things we have and plan for the things we don't.

For those going through the same or similar experiences this Christmas, I encourage you to take one day (or even one hour if that's all you can spare) to spend time with your partner or just you if that's what you need. To talk, think or write about your journey so far and recognise your strength in navigating through the very difficult times, times you might still be going through. And, while I know every situation is different, if I can encourage anything this Christmas, it is to put you first. If you can't handle one more family gathering, then don't go. If you need to be by yourself or with your partner during this time, then do it.


If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 72637

Maureen Croft

I'm Maureen and i'm the blogger behind Miscarriage Diaries. I wear many hats; France enthusiast, helpless romantic, wife, sister, daughter and friend. I'm a
feminist, strong and true believer of equality, supporter for women and girls both personally and professionally, a manager, colleague and wannabe entrepreneur. 
Lastly, I wear the hat of a woman who has experienced heartache due to miscarriage(s). They do not define me solely but are a part of my journey. 
My focus is to talk honestly about my experiences with fertility and miscarriage in the hope that we as a community talk more about this all too common and painful yet mostly hidden issue. 

I aim to be a voice and source of comfort and connection for women with similar experiences, emphasising on social change. Follow me on Facebook, check out my blog, Miscarriage Diaries and reach out, I’d love to share stories.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Losing Friends as a Single Bereaved Mother by Emma

I wish I could tell you that people will support you through this difficult time. That the friends you have at the start of your journey will always be there for you. The ones that may have been at your child’s birth will still be there for you in 6 months time. 

Friends come and go. When you lose a child, people’s true colours are displayed. 
Those who are really there for you stick around no matter what. 

I found some friends judged or criticised me. I struggled early on with social situations. I was upset that some friends expected me to move on and get over it and just carry on with life. “Why delay the inevitable?” I was told. 

It’s hard because I found that I held onto ambivalent relationships because I felt so alone and isolated. What I didn’t realise that these ambivalent relationships were quite often worse than the toxic friends who I had removed from my life. 

When you lose a baby, you only have so much emotional and physical energy. Chances are you have been reliving the moments you lost your child, the whole pregnancy and days after losing your child in your head. The last thing you need to have in that space is who’s genuinely there for you and who’s not.

Put yourself first. Do what you need to do. If that’s going for a walk every day to clear your head do it. If its visiting your child at the cemetery every day, do it. I don’t care what it is but make sure that you do what you need to do to survive. No one else is walking this journey but you.

Cherish those in your life that see beyond your mask. Cherish those who take the time out of their day to send you messages and ask how you really are doing. Don’t settle for second best. If you are not getting what you need, ask and explain to those around you what you need. If you’re still not getting what you need, chances are you will find it elsewhere. 

I have met some of the most amazing people since losing Lynette. Work colleagues have become closer. I didn’t realise how much I could call my work colleagues family. 

You lost your child! It is not too much to expect that close friends will support you. 
Wouldn’t you do the same for them?

If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 72637

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Silent Night by Mel

The end of the year is always the hardest. Lacey was born sleeping on the 28th of September, 2014. The first half of the year is ok, I can manage, I can survive. August comes and in my mind the countdown begins. I remember the days leading up to her loss. Her heavenly birthday comes and goes, and then it’s my birthday in October. October is pregnancy loss awareness month, it’s still hard and her loss and life without her breaks me all over again.

Then Christmas. 

I try so hard. I’ve always loved Christmas. My family and I aren’t very close but Christmas time we all come together and it feels so wonderful to be able to share it with them. 

My first Christmas without Lacey was 3 months after losing her. Half my family weren’t around, only my Aunty mentioned her and asked how I was doing. Fighting my tears and heartbreak I thanked her for asking.

Christmas will never be the same. I try with all my heart to be 100% happy. But how can you? There is always a place missing next to the Christmas tree, there is laughter that is missing, giggling sisters comparing presents and probably fighting over who got what.

One less excited little girl on Christmas morning. A lot of my sadness is for Scarlett: she doesn’t know my heartache of course and I put on a brave face and make sure she never misses out, but there is one thing I may never be able to give her and that is a sibling. 

I watch my only living daughter at Christmas time, she has so much enthusiasm and love for life. I am lucky. She has given me my strength; Lacey has given me my resilience. But her presence is always missed. I would give anything to spend just one day with her alive. 

She would have been so loved, life would be chaotic and having my daughters by side would have completed my heart. 

When Scarlett is asleep, I always play “silent night”. It makes me sad and cry to the point that I can’t breathe, but it makes me think of Lacey and her beautiful, peaceful, silent birth. 

Merry Christmas little Lacey. This is your fourth and you are never forgotten. Your angel is placed on the Christmas tree, there is tinsel around your ashes and your stocking is hanging next to Scarlett’s. 


If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 72637

Mel Tauletta

Hi my name is Mel, mother to Scarlett, aged 4 , my miracle born at 33 weeks, Lacey, born sleeping at 30 weeks & 3 other angel babies lost through miscarriage at 12 weeks. I lost Lacey due to a placental abruption, other miscarriages are unexplained. It's been 3 years since I lost Lacey & I can only now speak about her without crying, although a piece of my heart will always remain with her. I will keep trying for my rainbow baby. I hope sharing my story will help others learn to speak about their children who didn't make it earth side. We are not alone.