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The Bereavement Midwife - #International Day of the Midwife

On the eve of #International Day of the Midwife, we’d like to share a piece of poetry, written by Nikki, a midwife. Written as a way of debriefing, she wrote this with tears in her eyes.

The bereavement midwife
By Nikki

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You'll never know the way we felt, when we looked into your eyes.
You'll never know the tears we cried, the tears that we disguised.

Your courage in your time of loss, powered us, in keeping strong.
While you were mourning your baby,
We were mourning along.

You showed us strength and bravery, you reminded us how to love.
You showed us all your weakness, and how to rise above.

We trusted in your process, your strength to carry on.
We trusted in your little light, and how brightly it had shone.

We probably apologized a lot, a thousand times you heard "I'm sorry."
We tried to help you plan some things, things that didn't need your worry.

Sorry didn't cut it, but it's all that we had.
There was no words we cold possibly say, to take away the bad.

You never asked for any of this,
For that we truly know.
All you wanted was the pitter patter, and to watch your baby grow.

It was all you ever wanted, and it's all you never had.
But hold tight to all those memories,
For one day you'll be glad.

You'll be glad you had this gift, who grew inside of you.
Who felt your heart beating, and every single thing you'd do.

This is such a special part of you, the life you grew inside.
And all those memories you've got right now, one day you won't want to hide.

We use our big and fancy words and sometimes they aren't straight.
You need to know, we think of you, when we're not working, when it's late.

You aren't just another person, and neither is your baby.
You weren't a distant memory, a thought that just turned hazy.

You taught us things, we're grateful for, you'll never understand.
And you taught us those things while you showed us your pain and silently held our hand.

We never wanted to see you lose, your precious little gift.
We never want to see you down, the pain we wish we could lift.

If we could do it now, we'd make it all just cease.
We never want to see you cry, the fear and questions, we wish we could ease.

There was no words that we could say.
To take the pain, take it right away.

You mightn't hear us weep, because we didn't think it right.
But what you didn't know, is we sat weeping for you through the night.

A baby is meant to stay. To learn and flourish and grow.
But for you that hasn't happen, and that is our deepest sorrow.

We want you to know how hard it was, to sit with you, at this time.
To know we couldn't stop this, to know how to not cross that professional line.

Everyday you think of your baby, were probably thinking of you too.
Every time you cry for your baby, we're hurting for you, it's true.

You might not have felt that we heard you, heard your silent scream.
But the truth is that we did, we just did it behind the scene.

We send you off to live your life. To make some dreams come back.
We often think of you, and your sweet baby, and hope that you're on track.

We send you all our love now, we mean it from our heart.
We send you all the happiness and wish you safety in the new life you've had to start.

Your pain will ease a little, you'll learn to live this life a new.
Your baby's memories will always be with us, and we'll always be thinking of you.

New Support Groups for New South Wales

GroupSupportMiscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death support charity, Sands Australia, is re-launching local support services in New South Wales, after a 16 year absence in the state.

Local face-to-face support groups for parents who have experienced pregnancy loss and newborn death will start in the inner west and northern suburbs of Sydney and Central Coast region from 24 April 2017.

Sands CEO, Andre Carvalho said; Although Sands support services are available nationally through our Telephone Support Line, Email and Live Chat facilities, we are very excited to have re-established a physical presence in New South Wales.

New South Wales parents will now be able to attend local face-to-face support groups and benefit from meeting and connecting with other parents who are experiencing the heartache of pregnancy loss and newborn death.

Over 29,200 babies die as a result miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death in New South Wales each year.

All Sands’ support services, including local face-face support groups are facilitated by Volunteer Parent Supporters who understand the pain and devastation that follows the death of a baby, as they too have experienced it.

Tina Riley, one of the facilitators of the face-to-face support groups, says she hopes that she can help bereaved parents feel less isolated and scared.

Tina’s first born, Charlie died two minutes after he was born. She soon fell pregnant with her daughter Neve, who was born sleeping at 41 weeks. Tina went on to have Maya, now 8 and Zack who is now 6 years old.

I know firsthand what it is like to have your baby die. To feel so alone and not know where to go.

After Charlie and Neve’s death the midwives where amazing but apart from information about funeral services, there was no other information. I had no idea what was to come and where I could get support from.

As the days, months and years passed, I felt increasingly isolated. We had nowhere to turn to and no one who really understood to talk to. Said Tina.

Tina only come across Sands some years after Charlie and Neve’s death. Hugely impressed with the support on offer, she trained to become a Volunteer Parent Supporter with Sands and began using her experience to help other grieving parents.

To bereaved parents reading this, please know that you are not alone and that your baby will never be forgotten. It is a hard journey – an emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns. Please know that Sands is here for you to listen, comfort, support and guide you whenever you feel like reaching out.

Sands will continue to establish more local services in New South Wales, including running more face-to face support groups, memorials and other events and information sessions for midwives and healthcare professionals.

Local Face- to Face Support Group Meetings Details

Inner West Sands Face-to- Face Support Group - Rozelle
Last Wednesday of the each month, commencing 26 April 2017
7.00pm 9.00pm
Hannaford Community Centre, 608 Darling Street, Rozelle, NSW 2260
More information: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact 03 9895 8700
 
Northern Suburb Sands Face-to-Face Support Group – Eastwood
Last Wednesday of each month, commencing 26 April 2017
7.00pm 9.00pm
Brush Farm House, 19 Lawson Street, Eastwood, NSW 2122
More information: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact 03 9895 8700
 
Central Coast Group Sands Face-to-Face Support Group
Last Monday of each month, commencing 24 April 2017
7.00pm 9.00pm
Laura’s Place, 449 Tumbi Road, Wamberal, NSW, 2260
More information: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact 03 9895 8700

Surviving Mother’s Day after the Death of a Baby

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Mother’s Day, a celebration of motherhood. Chocolates, flowers and breakfast in bed.

A day to look forward to being spoilt by your children and perhaps partner.

But for a mum whose baby has died, it is a stark and painful reminder of a motherhood lost and a future that is no longer.

Sands Volunteer Parent Supporter, Jen Perrignon, whose baby, Scarlett, was stillborn at 28 weeks has some helpful suggestions to help you cope this Mother’s Day if your baby is not here to celebrate with you.

 

 Be gentle on yourself

Mother’s Day can be a harsh reminder that your baby is no longer with you. Be kind to yourself. You may feel a range of emotions, from sadness, anger and guilt to feeling at peace. This is normal. Give yourself time and space to feel whatever you are feeling.

Pre-plan

The first Mother’s Day without your baby can be particularly difficult as you don’t know what to expect. You may find it helpful to have a plan, discuss with your partner or others close to you but leave it flexible in case you just feel like staying in bed.

Take time out

Advertising is everywhere, I found that avoiding TV, radio and social media up to the lead up to Mother’s Day was helpful in the beginning.

Lean on family and friends

Spend time with family and friends who understand. Talk about your baby, you may find that hearing your baby’s name can be soothing. If you want to just be on your own that is ok too.

Honour your baby

Give a donation, light a candle, plant a tree or release a balloon. Doing something to honour your baby’s memory can be comforting.

Speak to a Sands Parent Supporter

Talking to someone who can relate can be very helpful. The Sands Support line is available 24/7 for anyone affected by the death of a baby. All Sands Parent Volunteer Supporters have been through the heartache of pregnancy loss or have experienced new born death themselves. They are on hand to support you this Mother’s Day and every other day.

Dads and partners can also play a central role to helping Mums get through this tough day. Sands Volunteer Parent Supporter, Peter Vidins, whose first born, Daniel was stillborn offers the following suggestions.

Communicate with your partner

Talk to your partner about how she may want to spend the day. They may want to visit a special place – the baby’s resting place or some other meaningful place. But remember to go with the flow on the day, your partner may just want to huddle up on the sofa, eating ice cream.

Acknowledge her as a mum

I think it’s important for men to validate their partners as mums. They are no less of a mother than if their baby was there. Those feelings of love and longing don’t just disappear.

An estimated one in four pregnancies (103,000) ends in miscarriage in Australia each year, while approximately 3,000 babies are either stillborn or die in the first 28 days after birth.