Did You Know
1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage every year, and an estimated 3000 babies die in Australia every year to stillbirth, and sudden and unexpected infant death, with similar numbers in the USA and UK (Red Nose Org. 2019; Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, 2019). This equates to 1 in 4 women who carry the burden of a devastating grief over the tragic loss of a precious baby - sometimes, for the rest of their life.
The grief surrounding this loss is oftentimes not talked about, hidden from view in everyday life. In fact, unless you’ve been through something like this yourself, it’s possible that the magnitude of such a loss remains of little significance. It is certainly under-recognised and underappreciated in the wider community. This lack of social recognition only serves to amplify the alienation and grief felt by the bereaved.
Red Nose Grief and Loss
The following blog post is a repost from an interview for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with Karen Ludski last year. Karen is CEO of Red Nose Australia, a research, advocacy and support organisation for families who experience the unexpected death of a baby or child.
Here, Keren talks about her grief, the grief of other parents, the tragedy of the loss of so many babies and how we important it is to treat those grieving this loss with empathy and compassion:
Keren Ludski, CEO, Red Nose.
The Grief of the Loss of a Baby
The hardest – but most truthful – thing to hear as a bereaved parent is that you will never get over it. For me and many other families I have spoken to over the years, it is learning to make space for it, so it becomes less edgy and less prickly and not as hard to breathe. But, being able to talk to someone who has gone through the same thing as you can bring so much comfort.
The other challenge is that the death of a baby goes against the natural order of things…parents are not meant to outlive their children, especially their babies. Parents have an innate need to protect their children and not being able to do that shatters their assumptive view of the world.
We All Grieve Differently
Everyone is different, and everyone’s grief journey will be different – even two parents of the same child will have a different way of dealing with their grief.
For me, I needed to try and make sense of things…to try and find some form of comfort or control in a situation where I had no control. The right people around me made a huge difference. I needed a small group of people who just let me talk, even when I wasn’t making much sense. One particular friend held my hand for years as I explored my spirituality and the meaning of life. I’m not sure what I would have done without her.
We know that giving bereaved families the opportunity to acknowledge and remember their child is an important part of the healing journey. It’s a crucial step in validating bereavement and starting conversations to reduce stigma and help people get the right support. For many parents, their grief can feel unrecognised and unacknowledged, which further adds to the pain and heartache. That’s why Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is such an important time, so bereaved families can come together to remember their children and find connection with other bereaved families.
As Ben’s legacy, my mission is to make sure no other child dies suddenly and unexpectedly. We have come a long way. We have reduced SIDS by 85 per cent in Australia. I can’t emphasise how huge this is. That’s 10,000 little lives saved, and 10,000 families that didn’t have to go through what my family went through.
However, nine families are still experiencing the death of a child every single day. And this is not okay. We need to do everything we can, because just one more family having to lose a child is one too many.
The best part about my job at Red Nose is having the chance to work towards this important mission every day, and also to make sure that the next family to experience this unimaginable tragedy will be treated with compassion, empathy, and understanding, and receive the support they need to navigate through the grief and trauma of losing a child.
Do You Need Support?
If you need support, help is available! Red Nose Grief and Loss provide counselling services from qualified counsellors who can help you in your time of need. For more information, simply click on the following link:
For more about blog author and PLICA Founder SK Reid, please visit
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