Thursday, 13 October 2016

Grieving Still by Therese

I often wonder why I still grieve for the baby I miscarried over 30 years ago. I then say to myself: why not? If I don’t understand this how can anyone else?

It is amazing how much self-talk we do in life but even more so I feel during a grief episode.  However, what could be more heartfelt a grief than the loss of a child? After all a child is part of a mother from the time it is conceived. Not only is there a physical emptiness when the womb is no long carrying a child, the possible illness that may have resulted plus the emotional pain of self and baby’s father just adds to the mix. Throw in grandparents to this and the grief can become overwhelming.

I remember feeling somehow responsible for the loss of my baby, although intellectually I knew this was wrong. I had no support to turn to especially in the hospital as they were quick to release me home after one night’s stay. At the time of my miscarriage there were no support groups such as SANDS and the midwives were not trained in the grief process, so couldn’t possibly give the support that was needed. Going home to a house in emotional turmoil with two lively children and a grandmother who was rather cranky added to the mix of devastation I was feeling, didn’t do well for my recovery. So is this an explanation for why I still grieve for my little lost soul?

Every year on the due date of my baby, I do some sort of remembrance for it (I didn’t even know its sex). Sometime after the 25-year anniversary, I bought my favourite flower, a rose, which turned out to be the Jane McGrath rose, something I thought of as rather fitting given that she had died and left such a legacy. My two daughters came to support me with this and I did a reading and played a special song.

Did this ritual help when I had not been allowed a burial or other form of memorial at the time of the loss? Yes, but only in part as there will always be that missing link. Do other mothers feel like me? Other Dads even? It would be nice to know this.

There is still no support I have found for such support in my area and wonder what happens to parents who experience miscarriage or a still birth? There is no information in the doctors’ surgeries or other public spaces, something I am remedying, while I wait for SANDS brochures. Will this information be enough? I hope so.  At least it is more than I had when I lost my baby all those years ago.

Do I still shed tears, I hear you ask? Sometimes. It can be a song or an article on television that sets me off. When others close to me have gone through a miscarriage or still birth, this was enough to bring my loss to the forefront again.

But having now written my thoughts to paper, I realise that what every form my grief takes, it is all okay. For you out there reading this, your grief is yours to experience and while no-one can do it for you, it is okay for you to experience. Sometimes it is just too hard to have others understand when they haven’t been through this experience, however, while it might add to the grief at the time; I feel it is best to let it go. I forgave my mother because as I matured I knew she was grieving in the own way. After all we all grieve differently and it is all okay.

Therese  27082016

Gifts given but often hidden
Love freely given
To angels such as you
I thank you.

Therese Bryant (Murphy) © October 6 2010

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

About Therese 

Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.

Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.

Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.

Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

How Can This Make Me a Better Person? by Tennille

I never understood why people said “losing my baby has made me a better / stronger / kinder person”

After Oscar was born, (stillborn at 33 weeks) I read books by other bereaved parents, read the literature given to us in the hospital, cover to cover several times, wondering how I was going to get through the next day, I wondered how other parents survived, or went on to have other children. I wasn’t able to believe I would ever hold a living breathing child in my arms or that I could create a “new” life where I felt genuinely happy.

One comment which cropped up repeatedly on blog sites, from other bereaved parents and in stories I read of family who had lost a child was “this tragedy has made me a better person” or “it has made me stronger”. I remember thinking “How could this tragedy change me so profoundly” or “”I’m so upset that my baby died, why would I want to show compassion to others?” When friends commented that I had been so strong, it really felt very awkward because I didn’t have a choice in what was happened to my baby, I did what I had to do at the time to survive.

Nearly five years on, I still think I am not necessarily more compassionate or am a better person because of my experience but perhaps I now have a better understanding about what these people were trying to say. When your baby dies, you have to dig deep to live every day. Nothing is as you imagined and you have to reorder your life again. Oscar was our first child and I had planned to take time out of the workforce and become a stay at home mum for a period of time, enjoying my new baby and relishing in all that parenthood had to offer. When all of that was suddenly taken away from me I needed some way to keep Oscar’s memory going. I felt like losing my child was like being scrubbed raw with a wire brush, your skin is red, scratched and tender. I knew that I wold never forget my son but I needed to know that our family and friends were not going to forget him either. This was critically important and while friends would comment our willingness to discuss stillbirth and our son as strength it was more a way for me to share my son, just as any new parent wants to and to make sure that people would not forget him.

I think what I understand more now when people say it made them a better person, was that it gave them a grit and determination they may not have known they had, it also gave them a purpose for doing something:  that purpose could be to make sure this never happened to anyone else again, that another bereaved family did not have to have the same lonely experience they had or that by discussing their child and helping others keeps the memory of their own children alive. Whatever the reason, I think this experience has taught me not to shy away from death, dying and grief. I have learnt to accept that bad things can happen to good people and we don’t always get a say in the outcome, even if we do all the ‘right’ things.

When your baby dies, you lose your innocence. Children and babies should never die, but they do. When you lose your baby your trust and belief in all that is good is shaken to the core. Each person who has been through this has to rebuild themselves from the ground up and sometimes that rebuilding process leaves a hole, a scar or completely rebuild a new person from the rubble. So rather than being more compassionate or stronger perhaps I have become more accepting of other people’s choices in how they live their life and less presumptuous about people. Because sometimes people have a story they don’t want to share because it is just too raw for them.

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Tennille Welsh

Tennille Welsh is a mother to three beautiful boys. Mark (her husband) and Tennille experienced the stillbirth of their first son Oscar, at 33 weeks gestation in 2011, cause unknown. Tennille is passionate about raising awareness of the high incidence of stillbirth in Australia and shares Oscar's story in the hope that it may help other grieving families.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

One Year ago - Miscarry No 2 but Baby No 3 😭

Today (7/8/16) one year ago Heaven got another angel. The loss of Tristan was the worst out of my two miscarriages and I’ll tell you why.

On the 7th of August my husband and daughter were supposed to go to WWE that was in Melbourne that night and due to bleeding that day my husband decided to stay home and care for me. I was begging him to go and not let out 5 year old down but as a husband he must have known. At 2am on the 8th of August I had a huge bleed, what felt to me was the size of a newborn slipping away and then I got dizzy. My husband rang the ambulance and I went to hospital. I went to the hospital on my own and for the next 8 hours was a nightmare. I was in so much pain, every inch I moved blood would pour from me like a bucket getting tipped on my bed and even the endone wouldn’t ease the pain and the bag of blood I was receiving wasn’t catering for what was coming out.

It was a night I wanted to end as soon as I could. It got to a point where I knew deep down I was losing my baby and asked if there was a way to hurry it along and they didn’t want to because they said he might be ok.
At 10am that morning the pains got worse and I needed to push. I finally got a cleaner’s attention and she got me help. I was pushed up to the birthing suit and given gas as well as a tablet to help things along. By the time I got up there and comfortable I had a puddle of blood and something bouncing off my legs. That’s when they looked and saw my little man laying there in his sack.

Within a few minutes I was holding my little man I was devastated: 3 boys and I wasn’t even entitled to keep one. That’s when I noticed his little heart beating through his chest and I didn’t know what to do or think. So what I did was covered him up and placed him in the cot next to me to let him go. I couldn’t stand watching. It was giving me false hope.

By the time my husband and kids came in he was cold and resting. And I remember the girls saying mum he is sticky. But they were still so proud of him.

By night I was finally aloud to come home. I was so excited to relax but Luke needed to help me around because I was feeling rather dizzy and almost falling over. I was confused as to why I was so bad until I got a phone call saying my blood levels were far too low being on 70ish and needing to be on 120. So I had to go back.

When I went back I had to go up to birthing suit. And that is where they left me. In a room across from a screaming baby until lunch the next day to receive my 3 bags of blood. I remember one cleaning lady come and ask where my baby was “in care?” she asked ever so nicely and I just replied “no my baby didn’t make it.” She was shocked she was very sorry and I said it wasn’t her fault.

But that is why this miscarriage was the worst.

I seem to do great until these little days where no one remembers and they wonder why you’re are not in a happy mood or why you say your day hasn’t been great. Or little comments like don’t loose this one (being pregnant again) or on anniversaries you want to talk and you get oh one of your kids died.  I miss my boys each and every day but I go on living for the princesses I’ve got but days like today are always the hardest. 

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

Tiffany Aghan

Wife to Luke and mummy to Tamara and Summer, in her arms, and Wade, Jax and Tristan, in heaven. I have recently completed certificates in law and in psychology and in the process of completing certificate in medicine. I am having time off at the moment to spend more time with my girls. But I am hoping one day I will continue where I want to go.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Just Once by Glenda

Glenda is the grandmother to precious Kaeden who was stillborn on June 1st 2013.  She shares with us the poem she wrote about her experience.

Just once we held you in our arms
‘Twas more than we could bear
To see you lying oh so still
Our teardrops in your hair

Just once we watched the only bath
Your daddy gave to you
His tears were added to the depth
Of love he has for you!

Just once we put your nappy on
And fixed it firm in place
You did not squirm, you did not kick
It will not be replaced

Just once we dressed you in your clothes
The only ones you’ll wear
And placed you in your Mummy’s arms
So she could dry your hair

Just once she whispered in your ear
And kissed your chubby cheek
The dreams and hopes she had for you
All fallen in a heap

Just once your daddy hugged you tight
But little did we know
He held you through that long, dark night
Not wanting to let go!

Just once we watched with aching heart
Your mummy count your toes
You picked up the Jamaican part
You have your Mumm’s nose
...Definitely the Jamaican bits
You also have her lips!

We heard your newborn cry – not once
Nor saw your smiling face
No gleam of mischief in your eye
No strength to your embrace

You’ll never hear your name – not once
No tiny footsteps take
Our lives will never be the same
Without you here awake

We’ll tuck you into bed – not once
Nor listen to your prayer
Your birthdays we will celebrate
But you will not be there!

Each night your parents wake with tears
And listen for your cry
But empty silence greets their ears
And broken they ask, ‘why’


We trust our Father up above
Though you are now asleep
God comforts us with His great love
I know He cares and weeps

Forever you’ll be in our hearts
Until we meet with joy
No one will ever take your place
Kaelen – our precious baby boy!

©Glenda McClintock

Friday, 26 August 2016

A Dad's Thoughts on Father's Day

As we approach Father’s Day, Sands Volunteer Parent Supporter, Chris Tsockallos reflects on what Father’s Day is like for him.

Eleven years ago, my wife delivered twins at 19 weeks gestation and our lives were completely shattered. After many years of fertility treatment to achieve this pregnancy, we didn’t even know if we could get pregnant again. We didn’t know if we would ever be parents to a living child. Our feelings of grief and loss were so overwhelming in those first few weeks and months, we needed to take time to physically and emotionally deal with what we were going through.
We first heard about Sands through the hospital. We attended a number of support meetings and I spoke to bereaved fathers at the meetings who were very supportive. I got to hear about their journeys through this difficult time.
Sometimes men may find it harder to open up as they feel they may need to be strong through this difficult period. In a lot of cases the father may be the financial provider and he may need to return to work.
Significant days like anniversaries, holidays, and Father’s Day can bring up very mixed emotions. For bereaved fathers, Father’s Day is a challenging day which may bring up feelings of great emotional sadness.
Each father deals with their loss in different ways. I like to spend part of my day on my own with my thoughts of my children who are not here with me on the day. Each Father’s Day we visit our twins at the cemetery. Although I think about our twins every day, on Father’s Day I like to be as close as I can with them and to reflect on my love for them and the place they hold in my heart. To me this is a time when I feel the closest to them.
Father’s Day is a day of emotional contrast for me. I get to celebrate the day with my ten year old daughter while at the same time reflect on my children who are not with me.
Some fathers may like to keep busy and active through physical recreation or surround themselves with family. Each dad has their own way of dealing with Father’s Day.
The one thing I have learned through grieving for our twins is not to be afraid to let your emotions out. If you need to cry or feel sad do it. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your partner. Let her know how you are feeling. If you have a family member or friend who will listen, talk to them about how you are feeling.  Please also remember that Sands has a dedicated Men’s Support Line where you can speak to other bereaved Dads who have a level of empathy that others males may not have. Talking to someone who has gone through a similar experience can be of huge help.
It is also important to communicate with your partner and be there for each other.
Every day I think about our twins. I wonder what they would have been like. I feel sad that they are not here with us. However they are always in my heart. While I am saddened by our loss, at the same time I feel thankful for our daughter who has brought so much joy into our lives.
Chris Tsockallos
If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 1300 072 637
Eleven years ago, my wife delivered twins at 19 weeks gestation and our lives were completely shattered. After many years of fertility treatment to achieve this pregnancy, we didn’t even know if we could get pregnant again. We didn’t know if we would ever be parents to a living child. Our feelings of grief and loss were so overwhelming in those first few weeks and months, we needed to take time to physically and emotionally deal with what we were going through.

Sands were extremely supportive to my wife and myself after the loss of our twins. We attended a number of support meetings and I spoke to bereaved dads at the meetings who were very helpful. I got to hear about their journey through this difficult time. Speaking to them was invaluable.

Now it is time for me to give back to Sands. As a Sands Volunteer Parent Supporter I think I can help other dads through such a difficult time.

You can read more about Chris here.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Am I A Grandma Yet? by Glenda

I wrote this poem, "Am I a Grandma Yet?" after I had been out one day and had about five people ask me "Are you a Grandma Yet? I started to dread being asked that question because it is difficult to answer without going into the whole story.  You don't want to answer no, because you do have a grandchild even though they are dead and you don't want to say yes, because then they will ask how old etc, etc. So I went home and wrote this poem to try and help me decide what I was!!

Am I a Grandma Yet?
Am I a Grandma Yet?
Sometimes I don’t know what to say
When people question me,
“Do you have any grandkids yet?”
And tell about their three

I should say ‘yes’ and skite a bit
And tell about our boy,
I should take out some pic’s to show
Him playing with his toys

I’d love to talk about his looks,
Ask if he looks like me?
I’d point out where our features matched
And hope they would agree!

I’d tell about the funny things
That are uniquely his,
The mess he makes, the way he hugs
The blessing that he is

But I don’t know what I should say
When people I just met
Ask me that thing I hate to hear
‘Are you a Grandma yet’?


My grandson should be just past one
And full of life and spunk
He should be toddling round the house
And filling it with junk

He should be wriggling on my knee
While I read him a book
He should be laughing out with glee
When helping me to cook

But nothing now disturbs the peace
It’s quiet as can be
Cause on the day that he was born
He was stillborn, you see

His lungs took in no air that day
He did not blink his eyes
His lips stayed closed, he did not move
He never even cried!

So how to answer, what to say
To people I just met
Please tell me what you think I am
Am I a Grandma yet?

©Glenda McClintock

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Charlie's Tenth Birthday.

It’s coming up to Charlie's 10th birthday on the 2nd September.
Today I hid in my daughters’ wardrobe and cried.
One of those silent cries because you don't want your children to ask what's wrong.
I knew it was coming. How could it not?  It never comes when I expect it too.
It waits until my heart can't take anymore.
Today I was putting my 7 year old’s clothes away. A simple chore.
I held the door so tight with one hand while my other hand covered my mouth to stop my screaming.
This year Charlie would have been 10. Double figures.
Wow, I would have had a son who was not far from becoming a teenager.
His sister Neve would have been 9.
The pain is still so raw, the pain of not holding them.
To watch friends’ children turn 9 and 10. To see what they are doing, seeing who they are growing up to be.
I have had to learn to not ask the what if's. There will never be an answer. I think sometimes the what if's are what hold me in this emotional rollercoaster.
Today as I stood there letting the tears flow and trying not to scream out, I had to give myself permission to let go, to not try to be the strong mum, friend or wife.
Today I can't do it. I can't be the mum that plays or laughs. Today I don't want to ask my husband how was your day.
Today I don't want to listen to a friend.
Today and probably for a few more days, I want to lie in bed and be cared for.
I want to be held and fed and not be all those roles of mum, wife and friend.
That's hard to ask for help, for me especially.
Today I told my husband i need to go to bed and not be a mum. He reply was to remind me he will support me and hold me and to allow me to stop my roles.
As he kissed the top of my head and held me he said
" you can cry and go to bed if that's what you need"
I so wanted to crawl into that bed. To allow the darkness to sweep over me like it has done so many times before.
Yet I didn't. I heard my two children playing and laughing downstairs.
My first thought was, how do I explain to them I can't be your mummy today?
They don't understand, how could they? They know about Charlie and Neve. We have always talked about them.
They need me, regardless of how I'm feeling. They need feeding, homework needs to be done, talking about their day. To them,  I'm their world.
I can go to bed when they do.
So today I didn't go to bed and hide. It doesn't mean tomorrow I won't. For 10 years I have battled.
10 years without our first son. I still remember his birth and seeing him for the first time. Those beautiful long legs. The way he looked just like his daddy.
I remember holding him whilst singing twinkle twinkle. The smell of his skin as i kissed him.  The tiny hand that gripped my finger.  The look on my husband’s face as he held him as he took his last breath. He was born alive at 23+5 weeks.  He lived for 2 minutes. He was not a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
Our son lived. I hope in those 2 minutes Charlie knew just how loved he was and still is.
I have those memories of him. Those memories I have every single day.
When Neve was born sleeping we lost that time of feeling her heartbeat of her grasping our fingers.
I remember her everyday as a chubby curly haired baby who was perfect.
Time they say is a healer. Not for me.
For me it’s just more time without them.  More time for remembering.
So today when I cried in the wardrobe I was crying for the 10 and 9 years of missing and remembering.
It's always so bittersweet.
So today I chose not to hide in bed but to allow myself to feel and to cry.
It's never easy, there isn't a magic wand to wave.
Today the choice I made was to keep going with support. Tomorrow maybe another choice.
Tomorrow  is another day.

For Charlie and Neve the love I have for you grows every day.
Kristina Riley