Your Update from Canberra

nsw_15_october_2011.jpgLast month, 15 October was officially declared as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in NSW Australia! With your help on 30 Oct, I once again lobbied the federal Australian parliament to have October 15th formally recognised across Australia. I sent an email out to the thousands of Australians (who asked to be kept informed), and asked them in turn to forward a message on to their MPs.


Apparently they did!!


“The response has been enormous”, emphasised my federal MP, Joanna Gash when she rang me from Canberra last week. “It’s incredible how many MPs are talking about this matter despite the fact that it is not even on this week’s Agenda.”


Mrs Gash has been fighting for the declaration of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day since 2008. She has been very supportive all along, as has been my State MP, Mrs Shelley Hancock. Mrs Hancock pursued this matter until its declaration across NSW became a reality, and also indicated that the NSW government will now place pressure on the federal government to declare this Day.


The people have spoken!! The lobbying will continue until this Day is recognised across the country!


In the meantime, we celebrate the fact that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is now official in Australia’s most populous State. It was my privilege to attend the formal declaration in NSW State Parliament. I was invited to give a speech there, in front of dignitaries and the press. I have now been asked to post my speech on this website. It is my pleasure to do so, and I hope you get something out of it. Here it is:


Today I speak on behalf of thousands of families -- including my own -- as I thank the NSW government for declaring 15 October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.


This is an important Day for all families who’ve lost babies during pregnancy or shortly after birth. This devastating grief is like no other; a tragedy I wish nobody would have to go through. And until today it has been a silent grief in Australia: a grief that has been considered taboo. As a result people rarely talk about it, and the grief ends up being minimised or ignored.


Yet the statistics are shocking: 1 in 3 pregnancies ends in loss; 1 in every 4 Australian women will lose a baby in her lifetime. It’s just that prevalent. Depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, marital breakdown, lost work productivity, and a host of other personal, social and financial costs occur all too frequently. Especially when families feel so isolated and alone. So silenced in their grief. Losing a baby is hard enough: but when your grief is socially disenfranchised, you turn inwards with your pain because there’s nowhere else for it to go. And that’s when all the health and other concerns can really kick in.


But today, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day has been declared in NSW. This is the first official step towards helping these families to heal from their profound grief. It’s only a Day, you might think… but it’s a very important one. This Day honours people’s loss and grief. This Day acknowledges that their babies once lived and were lovingly anticipated, but now only remain forever in their hearts. This Day, at long last, breaks the silence.


I’d like to thank the following for their support: Premier Barry O’Farrell; Minister for Health, Mrs Jillian Skinner; my State MP, Mrs Shelley Hancock; my federal MP, Mrs Joanna Gash; my husband; my family; my friend and supporter, Ms Laura Pavy; and also the dedicated staff who work for Mrs Hancock and Mrs Gash.  Without you all, today’s declaration would not have eventuated. Mrs Hancock and Mrs Gash have been fighting for the declaration of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day since May 2008, when I first approached their offices and asked for their help in bringing this Day about.


Today is a victorious day, and we celebrate. It’s been a long road. But it’s not over yet. I now ask the people across Australia to insist that your federal MP supports Mrs Gash, as she continues to fight in federal parliament to have this Day made official across our country. Thank you.

Comments (2)

Said this on 13-05-12 At 02:16 pm

As a clergyperson for almost 30 years, I've seen a number of people live through loss and grief in a variety of ways, and have done so myself. I have found that people often experience the feelings that Kubler-Ross identified, but it is been clear to me for many years that we do not expereince those feelings in systematic stages, but rather in unpredictable roller-coaster fashion. My own (admittedly anectodatal) take on grief is that the plethora of intense feelings we typically have for some period of time are the psyche's way of honoring the importance to us of the person (or job or marriage, etc ) that has been lost. Once we have done that to the degree each person needs, we are ready to move on in our lives. What I continue to observe is that while varieties of approaches to grief process are widespread in our culture, it is also the case that in practical terms our culture often leaves little space and time for grieving. People are routinely expected to be able to return to normal functioning, especially in the work world, within a week or two of a major loss as if nothing significant had happened. There seems to be a disconnection between the possibly over-developed psychological approach to the inner work of grief and an under-developed acknowledgement in the public world of the functional challenges that people in the early, intense time of grieving often face.

Said this on 11-10-12 At 09:32 am

I miscarried my baby at 12 weeks pregnancy in early 2009 due to hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. I trusted my doctors unquestioningly never doubting they would know everything there was to know about hypothyroidism in pregnancy. This was the greatest regret of my life. The Thyroid Federation International estimates there are up to 300 million people, mostly women, worldwide with a thyroid dysfunction, but over half are unaware of their condition. Scientific research clearly links hypothyroidism to miscarriage, still birth and infertility, however the lack of awareness is pervasive. The day I lost my child to hypothyroidism, I vowed to research everything there was to know about this disease and warn other women about the dangers. I fulfilled my vow by launching my blog Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the baby I lost to hypothyroidism and in dedication to my 2 boys who beat the odds and made it to the world. This October 15 I will be lighting a candle at 7PM in memory of my lost child.

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