There is life after a stillbirth.
I had never heard about babies being “born sleeping”; a nicer term we use for stillbirth. I am one of 5 children and I just thought once you’re ready to have a baby, you just have one.
In 2017, I fell pregnant. I had a perfect pregnancy until my final week where I had a terrible headache. I assumed this was the initial signs of labour.
I went to the hospital with my husband and we were told our son, Solomon Michael didn’t have a heartbeat.
That was the onset of a two year rollercoaster of processing grief. I had up and down days, I learned a lot about myself, about how common this situation was. But no one ever talked about it. I really struggled with the lack of acknowledgment that I had had a baby and that I was a mother, even though my baby had passed away.
My support network was my saviour. I have an amazing husband, friends, and family unit, a workplace that was open enough to let me grieve gracefully and make mistakes, and the courage to learn to talk about my baby and give him a voice.
Gidget Foundation Australia, specifically the gorgeous administrative team at the North Sydney office and my amazing Psychologist, were an integral part of my support network, helping me find a new purpose. We realised that it wasn’t about getting over it, rather learning to live with it.
I had to come to terms with why Solomon passed away, which was difficult. His death was a result of a random blood clot in my placenta. It was unfortunately not picked up by the midwives throughout my pregnancy even though he was very small. As I was overcoming this, we made the decision to choose hope and try for another baby.
I then unfortunately had a miscarriage. We were close to giving up, but we decided to choose hope again instead of sitting in our grief.
Trying for a baby again brought on so many emotions. My whole support network was on high alert. We ensured we checked the baby was growing very regularly and had an amazing obstetrics team at Beach Babies Manly. Special mention also goes to Deb De Wilde from the Mater hospital. A Counsellor by profession, but I like to think she is “an angel on Earth”.
We persevered and were lucky enough to have two beautiful rainbow babies; Olivia in 2019 and Archer in 2020. The most amazing gifts!
My promise to my son, Solomon Michael, is to honour his memory by, not only continuing to say his name but to acknowledge his existence in my life and help normalise the conversation around stillbirth.
I hope this story gives hope to others that there IS a life after a stillbirth and starts the conversation that it’s ok to talk about traditionally uncomfortable topics.
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