Central Victorian organisations to commemorate International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day with Picnic of Hope

SOME parents might never know the grief of losing a baby. 

But there are many who do. Each year, an estimated one in four pregnancies in Australia end in miscarriage.

About 3000 babies are either stillborn or die within 28 days of life outside the womb.

Bendigo organisations such as Remembrance Parks Central Victoria and the Gianna Centre are reaching out to affected parents and families ahead of International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Anne O’Brien of the Gianna Centre said the organisation offered help to anyone who walked through the door, through listening with care and empathy, and practical assistance.

“SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support) is a monthly support group facilitated by The Gianna Centre,” Ms O’Brien said.

“SANDS continues to welcome new families who have lost their baby through miscarriage, stillbirth and termination.

“It is very humbling when families and individuals share such a private aspect of their personal journey and we hope that all benefit in some way through their involvement with our SANDS family.”

She said the Gianna Centre also had an “amazing” sewing group which crafted personalised blankets for families and individuals who had experienced the loss of a loved one.

“Many say they wrap their blankets around them as a reminder of this special person,” Ms O’Brien said.

Catch a Swallow (CAS) is a post-abortion loss and grief support service, which Ms O’Brien said provided support for families on a needs basis.

“Many are enriched through this experience in sharing with others who have had similar journeys,” she said.

“Abortion loss and grief is present in our society that has one in three pregnancies end in abortion.”

Remembrance Parks Central Victoria, Bendigo Health, St John of God Bendigo Hospital, The Gianna Centre and SANDS Victoria will gather at Eaglehawk cemetery on Sunday to commemorate International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

The cemetery is home to the Gianna Memorial Wall – a place for families to honour the loss of a baby.

“These babies may have passed away due to miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion and termination,” Ms O’Brien said.

“This is an opportunity to name the baby and have somewhere peaceful to come and visit to remember them.”

Joanne Trickey, of Remembrance Parks Central Victoria, was hopeful Sunday’s event would be a source of comfort.

She said the Picnic of Hope was an opportunity for people to remember a loved one lost and honour their presence. 

It includes a memorial service, from 2pm.

“Honouring this day is something that is exceptionally important,” Ms Trickey said.

She said its importance was evident in the community’s response to the opening of the Garden of Angels at the Bendigo cemetery on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day last year.

“It’s got people talking about it in the community,” Ms Trickey said. 

The Picnic of Hope is scheduled to run from 1pm – 3pm on Sunday.

People in need of support for miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of an infant can contact the SANDS 24-hour support line on 1300 072 637.