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Changing the Tasmanian view of pregnancy and infant loss

23 August 2018

Many people, when confronted with the topic of early miscarriage, do not wish to speak about it because it is uncomfortable for them.

Maria Bond, the Tasmanian coordinator of Bears of Hope Pregnancy and Infant loss Support, sums it up simply:

‘Let’s say it how it is. Let’s be brave enough to acknowledge that this is grief for those people.’

Families, friends and medical practitioners of Tasmania who have experienced the pain of losing a child to pregnancy and infant loss, now have adequate support thanks to Maria.

After her own personal experiences with miscarriages about 10 years ago and receiving no local support, Maria approached ‘Bears of Hope’, a charity based in New South Wales that provides support packages, free of charge, for parents who have lost a baby. Maria offered to coordinate the charity in Tasmania and, since then, there has been more than 1000 support packages gone to every relevant ward, in every hospital in Tasmania. She feels this has made a massive impact to the lives of all people affected by miscarriages.

‘There just wasn’t enough support for mums and dads’, Maria states.

Maria says that not only do the support packages have a massive impact on the immediate families who have lost a baby, but also on the doctors and nurses who have been involved in the parent’s loss, both in not knowing how to react and not accepting of early pregnancy loss.

‘I found that they [doctors and nurses] did not quite know what to say in this situation’, Maria says.

Maria has been the support behind two new events for recognition of miscarriages in Tasmania. These were the lobbying for the Tasmanian government to issue a ‘Recognition of Loss Certificate’ for babies who die before the 20-week gestation period, and the fight for official government recognition in Tasmania for ‘National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day’ on 15 October around the world. Maria’s advice for people in other states who want to incite change in their community is simply to reach out, just as she did. She says, ‘If you want to get involved in Bears of Hope and bring that to your hospitals and communities then do exactly what I did. Just ask them how you can help and they will guide you.’

If people are thinking about generally creating change in the community, Maria says, ‘Just do anything. Do something. Anything. It doesn’t matter what. If you don’t know what to do then just be kind to someone, just start there.’

She believes by being kind to someone else you start the ball rolling on progress.

Finally, when Maria sought to create change in her community and have support for pregnancy and infant loss she followed this philosophy.

‘You don’t have to feel like you have to go out and change the world. Because you don’t.

Start with yourself. Start with the person next to you and then that will snowball.’

The concluding message is simply to ‘Just be kind’.

Note: The name of the winner has been withheld from publication on request.


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