Children gone but never forgotten

Project Heal memory box organiser Carly Dudley and KEMH perinatal loss co-ordinator Belinda Jennings. Picture: Marcus Whisson d405957
Project Heal memory box organiser Carly Dudley and KEMH perinatal loss co-ordinator Belinda Jennings. Picture: Marcus Whisson d405957

Joined by women who had also experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, Mrs Dudley addressed 15 graduate midwives during a Day of Hope event at King Edward Memorial Hospital on August 19.

She said families should be treated with respect and sensitivity as it greatly influenced their grieving process.

‘When a woman gives birth to a beautiful healthy baby, everyone says: ‘Oh she’s so wonderful, or, isn’t he a gorgeous baby?’

‘Midwives have to remember to treat a baby who has died the same as any other.

‘It’s important to say: ‘You are still a mother, you will always be a mother and nothing can ever take that away from you.”

KEMH graduate midwife Sarah Pavlenko said the event offered a unique insight from mothers who had experienced devastating loss.

‘As a midwife, I am directly involved in some of the highest and lowest points in people’s lives,’ Ms Pavlenki said.

‘Every pregnancy is unique, so whether it is a healthy birth or a loss, I believe the baby and family are equally important.’

As well as educating young midwives, KEMH perinatal loss co-ordinator Belinda Jennings said more than 200 memory boxes and 600 miscarriage packs were donated to the hospital.

Filled with hand-knitted bonnets, soft toys, blankets and remembrance candles, Mrs Jennings said women found the boxes empowered parents to give their baby an identity and initiated healing and recovery.

‘The loveliest thing is that they’re made by families who have also experienced a loss, so it’s very personal,’ she said.

‘On August 19 we always see a large number of donations, however by July the following year we start running very low.’