Biggenden local creates event to recognise infant loss
MISCARRIAGES, stillbirth and infant loss are common injustices of life, but they are topics not often openly spoken about.
In the wake of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a North Burnett local has taken it upon her self to get families acknowledging their suffering and reaching out for support within their communities.
Biggenden State School chaplain Moira Thomspon has organised a morning of remembrance and celebration next Friday, October 26.
All women children and partners are invited to a service from 9am at St Peters Parish Centre in Biggenden to remember babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss.
"It will be a very simple ceremony with candle lighting, sharing and reflection as well as morning tea,” Mrs Thompson said.
"It's all part of the healing process of moving on but it will also help to bond members of the community and support each other.”
Mrs Thomspon said there are a number of ways that miscarriages and infant loss can affect a family.
"It's a loss like any other, the same grief that anyone goes through, it can also make a woman feel inadequate that she is unable to carry a baby and it can be a huge disappointment for a couple that they can't have a child that comes to full term,” Mrs Thompson said.
"Society can be pretty harsh on people with the pressures of having children at a certain time and there is also a postnatal depression that can come with miscarriage and infant loss and that can stay with a person for a long time.”
"I think it's important that we not only acknowledge what's happened but we also support women who have kept going and shown tremendous resilience in spite of this.
The event was inspired by Coalstoun Lakes locals Peter and Lauren McNaughton who planted 75 acres of sunflowers on their farm earlier this year.
"My daughter mentioned that she wanted to do something about it at our own church and that, as well as Lauren and all those sunflowers, was a catalyst to develop an event,” Mrs Thompson said.
"I then approached Lauren and, along with her friend Stephanie Rackemann who is a midwife, we discussed the idea and they thought it was great so we just went from there.”
Burnett Funerals has also helped in organising the event by providing literature and ideas for the service.
Mrs Thompson believes there are a number of people in the North Burnett community who have suffered grief due to miscarriages and infant loss.
"Statistically one in four pregnancies end up in miscarriage and I've experienced it and I've also met women who have had nine or ten miscarriages,” she said.
"It's something that women don't talk about very often, they just suffer in silence and keep going.
"I think it's important to recognise that that life happened.”
Mrs Thompson said it's important for women to unite and support one another, as well as acknowledge their loss.
"Particularly too because our laws only recognise babies born at 20 weeks gestation so if you give birth to a baby and it dies before 20 weeks it's not recognised as a person and you really can't have a funeral.” she said.
"I think for woman as soon as you know you're pregnant, you know that you have a baby, irrespective of the fact that it may be very tiny, with a little beating heart you have a baby and that bond is there.”
Similar events take place on a regular basis in larger cities, such as Mater Hospital's Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support Group, and Mrs Thompson said those living in our regional communities should have access to their own support.
For anyone that may feel nervous about attending the event, everyone is welcomed.
"I think it's important that husbands, partners and children come along too because it affects the whole family- particularly if they've experienced a still birth or infant loss after loss,” Mrs Thompson said.