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Tuesday 10 May 2011

Kelly Brook loses baby - Small Miracles Foundation launches first National Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month

In news just in, model Kelly Brook has lost her unborn baby girl. Kelly, 31, was five months pregnant.

My mother had a stillborn - she was her first born child, and back then (1969) there was no support for bereaved mums.

Or perhaps there was, but for a woman who barely spoke English, it was something she'd have had no idea how to access. Or even understand.

There was no counselling, no ceremony, no grave. Shockingly, so my mother recounts, she wasn't allowed to see her deceased daughter. My late father did, however. He told mum she was "beautiful."

I still can't bear to hear the story about how she felt that day in January 1969 - it reduces me to floods of tears, thinking about how alone my mum must have felt.

Mum went on to have two sons - my eldest brother later that same year, my other brother a few years later - and then later still had me, her 'surprise pregnancy'. She named me the same as her precious stillborn.

With the sad news of the miscarriage suffered by Kelly Brook, the Small Miracles Foundation has launched the first National Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, bringing hope to thousands of Australian families affected every year by infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and infant loss.

Internationally acclaimed Australian parenting expert and author Pinky McKay said Ms Brook's tragic loss is a poignant reminder that almost everyone has some experience of the issues associated with pregnancy and child birth.

"It is worth remembering most of us have been touched, or know someone who has been touched, by the struggle to conceive, the trauma of a premature birth, or tragically, the loss of a much-wanted baby," said Ms McKay, who is also an ambassador for the Foundation's Light a Candle campaign.

In fact, around one in four pregnancies ends in a loss, and one in 10 babies is born prematurely, often needing intensive care on a life support system.

Ms McKay has welcomed the launch of the inaugural National Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, hailing the initiative as an opportunity to shed light on a range of topics that can be difficult to discuss.

"Child loss at any stage is an incredibly tragic occurrence and often mothers are unaware of the resources and services available to help cope with the grief, which can be particularly acute around occasions such as Mother's Day or when news breaks of a celebrity going through a similar experience," said Ms McKay.

Many men and women will bravely step forward to share their experiences if they think it will assist others in a similar situation.

"That's really what National Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month is about - making sure those who have suffered loss, as well as their family and friends, know they are not alone and that there is help available to support them," said Ms McKay.

"Anyone in Australia can call 1300 266 643 to talk about their experiences and get help to understand and cope with the grieving process," she said.

The Small Miracles Foundation has just launched the Light a Candle project, which gives all Australians who have faced child loss the chance to remember their experience in a special and lasting way,? said Ms McKay.

Light a Candle is a brand new initiative of the Small Miracles Foundation, a non-profit charity which provides telephone, online and face-to-face grief counselling and support for those dealing with problems in pregnancy and child birth.

Those who have suffered a loss, or who wish to support family members or friends who have, can phone 1300 266 643 to share their story and light a candle on their behalf.

The Small Miracles Foundation is funded by the Australian Government and is not seeking donations; however, those wishing to make a donation in memory of a lost loved one are encouraged to support their sister charity, The Bonnie Babes Foundation, a non-profit charity that exists solely to support vital medical research into the causes, treatment and prevention of child loss (http://www.bbf.org.au/).

For more about the Light a Candle project, phone 1300 266 643 or visit http://www.lightacandle.org.au/ or http://www.smfoundation.org.au/


  1. Beautiful article Jose, about a topic too few talk about but many suffer for years' the long lasting outcome of loss of a child. For way too many years Mum's and Dad's have been told to "forget" the child they've lost and try again. That child is very much a part of their family and for the parents and extended family a great loss. if you know someone who is living this loss at the moment, support them, love them and allow them to grieve, but NEVER tell them maybe it's for the best. Because for that family it won't be.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment, LeahB. I agree - saying it is for "the best" is possibly one of the worst things you can do. A warm hug and a compassionate ear is the best gift in a time of need... xx