Bereaved mothers are being recognised for the first time in Tasmania at a Mothers Day High Tea.
Mothers who have experienced the loss of a child will for the first time be honoured at a Mothers Day High Tea in Hobart this weekend. The event, hosted by pregnancy and infant loss support service Bears of Hope, is being run in Tasmania for the first time this year to recognise and support bereaved mothers in the traditional build-up to this day of celebration.
Bears of Hope Tasmanian coordinator Maria Bond said the High Tea event provides important acknowledgement and support for mothers who are dealing with the grief of losing a child, and provides an opportunity for their families and friends to come together and celebrate the unique and beautiful mothers that they are.
“In Tasmania there are 40 stillbirths and 20 newborn deaths every year and every 3.5 minutes a women is miscarrying a baby in Australia. These are such high statistics yet it is a grief that is very rarely talked about openly in society.
“Motherhood isn't defined by the number of children you can see. Many of the mothers we support aren't parenting a living child but their experience of motherhood deserves to be honoured and celebrated. Days like today shine a little light on what can be a lonely journey,” said Ms Bond.
Hobart mother Jill Brown knows the pain that comes with such a loss. Her third son Patrick died from a viral infection when he was seven days old.
“I am the mother of three but only two are here with me; I am always wondering what Patrick would be doing now or imagining who he would look like. He would be almost three now and our lives would be very different if he was still alive.
“I'm lucky to have two healthy boys to celebrate Mothers Day with this weekend but there will always be a piece of our family missing. Losing my son has opened my eyes to the pain of loss that many people feel around some of these special days.
“My heart goes out to all of those who are struggling with infertility, who have lost a child or who are dealing with other kinds of grief like the loss of their own mother. This event provides recognition that we are not alone. It's a really beautiful gesture,” said Ms Brown.
Every hospital in Tasmania is connected with the Bears of Hope charity, which offers packages for parents who experience early or late miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Each package contains a precious bear donated from another family who have lost a child, various keepsake items and information relating specifically to the loss they have experienced, as well as contact details for where they can find further support.
Bears of Hope Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support also offers a Beyond the Bear program which includes phone and email counselling, and online forums moderated by a trained counsellor.
In Tasmania Bears of Hope holds an annual memorial service in October, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month. Parents are invited to come along and release flowers in memory of their lost child.