Today in the ACT Legislative Assembly, a motion sponsored by ACT Greens, ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals has recognised International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
“The loss of a child is simply heartbreaking, and today we recognise the depth of the grief and the impact that such loss has on the parents and families of those who experience it,” Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said.
“One in five Australian women have lost a child through miscarriage, still birth or within a month of birth. Approximately 106,000 thousand babies lose their lives to miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death in Australia each year.
“The figures and reports do not tell us about the love and grief felt by mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and families who lose a baby and the emotional, spiritual, and physical impacts of losing a child.
“International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day provides an opportunity to safely share those stories, to have the conversations – to hear and be heard – and to grieve.
“The sitting calendar this year doesn’t allow for us to speak on this issue in this place on 15 October – but by bringing this motion today, we can ensure that International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is recognised in the Assembly this year.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank Minister Tara Cheyne and Opposition leader Elizabeth Lee for co-sponsoring this important motion.”
Minister for Human Rights Tara Cheyne said the loss of a child no matter what stage of a pregnancy has a profound impact on women and their families with the sense of loss often remaining with a person throughout her life.
“The Day is an important opportunity to remember pregnancy losses, miscarriages, stillbirths and newborn deaths as well as a chance to break the silence and taboo which can sometimes surround the loss and further deepen the grief felt by families,” Minister Cheyne said.
“Early pregnancy loss is where a child is lost before 20 weeks gestation and is not legally recognised through a birth or death certificate. To help families in the grieving process, from 15 October formal acknowledgement of early pregnancy loss will be available for ACT residents in the form of an Early Pregnancy Loss Commemorative Certificate.
“The Certificate provides tangible recognition of this loss, and I hope it will offer some support and comfort for parents. The Certificate will be optional and free of charge.”
As stated by Canberra Liberals leader, Elizabeth Lee:
“Whilst our motion does not bring back our lost babies or reduce the losses in itself, it is an important gesture from those who have the privilege of being the voice of our community to stand up with all the families that have experienced pregnancy and infant loss because they are not alone.”
As stated by Pregnancy and Infant Loss Australia founder, John De’Laney:
“The tri-partisan motion is the culmination of years of work for my wife Kate and I and more importantly is a significant part of our efforts to honour the memories of our own seven babies. This motion acknowledging 15 October as International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day provides hope and comfort to the thousands of Canberrans that have been impacted by the loss of a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth. It helps to let them know that they are not alone in their grief and that the lives and memories of their babies mattered.”