Welcome to Sands Victoria - English

What to do if your baby hasn’t survived

Getting support if your baby has died

Sands Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation that provides emotional support to parents whose babies have died.  If your baby has died we offer you our sympathy. You can contact us to access grief support.

WE UNDERSTAND

All the people in our team are parents who have had their own babies die. They volunteer to help other bereaved parents because they know how hard it can be to cope when your baby dies. They understand that you may have many different feelings at this time. There is no wrong or right way to feel. People have many different ways of grieving and approaching traditional practices and burials. Our team respects these differences and can give you their support. We will not judge your feelings.

WE OFFER:

Telephone support. We can offer support over the telephone.

Support-visits. We can visit you at your home, in a community or health centre, or you can come to our office in Mitcham. Visits are for 1 hour. Interpreters can be arranged to attend with you, at no cost to you.

Support groupsare where small groups of bereaved parents gather together to share their experiences and support one another. Support groups are located around Melbourne and take place monthly.

ALL OUR SERVICES ARE FREE OF CHARGE.

NO MEDICARE CARD OR VISA REQUIRED TO ACCESS SUPPORT.

IF ENGLISH IS NOT YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE, WE CAN ORGANISE AN INTERPRETER, AT NO COST.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU FEEL SUPPORTED AT THIS DIFFICULT TIME.

CONTACT US

You can call us yourself or you can ask a family member, friend or health worker, social worker or support worker to call us on your behalf.

Sands Victoria office phone number: 03 9874 5400

Sands Victoria email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For information in your language go to: www.sandsvic.org.au

24/7 telephone support line 1300 072 637

YOUR FEELINGS ARE IMPORTANT

When your baby dies, at any stage of pregnancy or soon after birth, you may have many different feelings. Grief is a common response to death. Every person’s feelings and experiences are unique and personal.

You may feel sad, confused, alone or angry about your baby dying.  You may feel like your dreams of having a healthy baby are gone. Sometime you can feel like your grief has made your life even harder than it was.

 It is good to give yourself time to acknowledge and express your feelings with those around you.

  • You may feel shock, disbelief, anxiety, helplessness, anger, detachment, numbness or sadness. These are all common feelings that are of grief.
  • You may feel ashamed of your feelings.
  • You may worry that talking about your feelings to someone outside of your family or community is wrong.
  • You may worry that people outside your family or community do not respect or understand your need to honour cultural traditions, your religion or your needs.
  • You may worry that some people within your community may not understand your feelings of grief.
  • You may feel like you don’t want to burden others and are unsure about trusting others.
  • You may feel overwhelmed by the health care system and unsure of the roles of health professionals and the different services available.
  • You may worry about not understanding English and asking for interpreters. This worry may stop you from seeking support.
  • You may be worried that you don’t have money for services- our services are free.

When your baby dies you will also need medical help. You will need to engage a funeral director if your baby died at 20 weeks or later. Parents are required to complete a birth registration form for any baby that is stillborn or dies after birth. You will then receive a birth certificate.

UNDERSTANDING THE DEATH OF A BABY

If your baby dies before 20 weeks in your pregnancy this is regarded as a miscarriage.

If the gestational age of the baby is not known and the baby is stillborn and if the baby’s weight is less than 400g, the death will be regarded as a miscarriage.

If your baby dies from 20 weeks in your pregnancy but before birth (or weighs 400grams or more at the time of death) this is regarded as a stillbirth.

Babies who die after birth, up until 28 days of age, regardless of gestation or weight, are regarded as neo-natal deaths.

A doctor may suggest a post mortem (also known as an autopsy) to find out why your baby died. You can say no and choose not to have any type of formal examination.

GETTING THE HELP YOU NEED

When your baby dies it is very helpful to have emotional support. If you have family and friends supporting you then this can help you cope. You may want support from family, friends, people who share your faith, organisations that support your culture, or migrant and refugee services.

You may feel like you need more support. We believe there is no guilt or shame in wanting more help from outside of your family. Everyone’s needs are different. You may want to talk to someone who has been through the same thing as you. Sands Victoria can offer you this support.

Our support workers at Sands Victoria are called “Parent Supporters”.  Parent Supporters are all mothers who have had their own babies die and so they can give you empathy and understanding. We have one man on our team if you require male Parent Supporter to talk with your family if required.

We can help you if your baby died recently and also if your baby died many months or years ago. We can support mothers, fathers, family and friends. We hope to hear from you.

Sands Victoria office phone number: 03 9874 5400  Sands Victoria email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For information in your language go to: www.sandsvic.org.au

24/7 telephone support line 1300 072 637

 

To access information about organising a funeral for your baby click here.

 

  This help-sheet was developed by Sands Victoria and was funded by the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.

 

lmcf logo

 

MISCARRIAGE SUPPORT

The term miscarriage refers to the loss of a baby during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage is the loss of the life of a baby. At Sands Victoria we believe that this is a legitimate loss to grieve. Grief is a natural response to death and can lead you to experience a range of feelings. If you have had a miscarriage we offer you our deepest sympathies. We are available to support you. You can access support from us through the Sands 24/7 Support Line or contact the Victoria office to find out about Support Groups and Face-to-Face Visits.

On this page below you will find a great resource called “Early-Pregnancy- When Things go Wrong” which will help you understand more about miscarriage and grief. We hope this resource is helpful to you. You can open this document here

Support line: 1300 072 637 (24 hours, 7 days per week)
Office: 03 9874 5400 (Mon-Fri 9:30am – 3pm)

Sands Victoria presents this resource “Early-Pregnancy- When Things go Wrong” in partnership with NSW Department of Health. Copyright permission granted from NSW DOH 2015. This resource was created by NSW Department of Health.

For any questions please contact: Aisha Furniss, Sands Victoria 03 9874 5400.