Pregnancy, infant loss should not be taboo

Bears of Hope are given to parents who experience pregnancy or infant loss.
Bears of Hope are given to parents who experience pregnancy or infant loss.

Pregnancies are often kept a secret until the first trimester has passed. 

Advice websites suggest to keep things private in the event of a loss. That the news should be kept under wraps until the risk of a miscarriage drops. This is because 80 per cent of miscarriages happen in the first trimester. 

There is something wrong about this message. Yes, it serves to protect families from having to share their loss, but heavily implies that it should be a secret.

This is an outdated tradition that could actually be causing more harm than good.  A miscarriage should not be a taboo subject. 

One in four Australian women will experience a miscarriage.  In Tasmania there are 40 stillbirths and 20 newborn deaths each year.  Australia wide, there are 2000 stillbirths.

There is no criticism for wanting privacy and waiting to announce a pregnancy. There should also be no shame attached to having a miscarriage or losing a child at birth.

The grief associated would be harrowing and unimaginable. It wouldn’t be until you have experienced the trauma that you would fully understand the emotions associated with the loss.

That’s why organisations such as Bears of Hope are so important. The Australian not-for-profit is managed by bereaved parents to help deliver support as well as build awareness around pregnancy and infant loss.

In Tasmania this have been driven by Maria Bond. Bears of Hope works with hospitals around the state to deliver grief workshops for families.

In 2015 Tasmania introduced a certificate of recognition for parents who lose a baby during early pregnancy. Babies that are lost before 20 weeks or weigh less than 400 grams are currently not recognised through the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

On Thursday, the state government announced October 15 would officially be a pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. Ms Bond and Bears of Hope have been campaigning nationally for this day to be acknowledged. It is hoped this day will help to create awareness and encourage people to seek support.

Grief can be a lonely experience. For some it’s how they choose to grieve, for others it’s not knowing where to access support. It’s important for everyone to know that infant loss does not need to be a taboo subject and the more we talk about it the more we can support each other.

  • For grief support phone 1300 114 673.


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