“It happens to so many people and nobody wants to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable.”
Erin Johnson knows the pain of infant loss. At little over 15 weeks Mrs Johnson’s unborn baby Ava Grace was delivered stillborn.
Her heart broke into “a million pieces” but she was still filled with immense love for her child.
Mrs Johnson knows there are countless families who have experienced her grief, so when she saw a post on Facebook calling for women to share their infant loss stories she knew she had to be involved.
Mrs Johnson contacted Campbelltown’s Melissa Desveaux, who was collating stories for a book, and shared her painful experience.
Ms Desveaux has suffered more pain than anyone should have to, but has also experienced great joy.
She had three miscarriages and a stillborn birth but is now the mother of two happy, healthy children.
Ms Desveaux had written a book about her own pregnancy struggles – My Life of Loss – a process she found to be healing and therapeutic.
She thought if she could gather stories of other people who had gone through similar tragedies, she might be able to help other people.
“Writing the book helped me through a lot of things, it was very much a healing process,” she said.
“I thought a lot of people might be able to benefit from that as well, even if they didn’t know it.”
Ms Desveaux has now collected 20 stories for her latest book – Comfort for the Tears, Light for the Way – and hopes to raise $1000 to publish it.
“I’ve had a lot of feedback from the writers and they’ve said this has really helped them,” she said.
“I’ve read all of their stories and it is hard and emotional, and I’ve seen their photos and its heartbreaking.
“I hope this can break the taboo and make people feel more comfortable in talking about infant loss.”
Mrs Johnson found writing about her loss to be a “great outlet”.
She thinks it is incredibly important for people to acknowledge and share their grief.
“We don’t want this to be taboo, we want it to be the norm,” she said.
“Infant loss can be so isolating and as awful as it is, and as much as you don’t want anyone else to go through it, it is comforting to know that you’re not the only one to feel that way. It’s good to know that other people feel that way too.
“Most of these mums just want their children acknowledged in some way.”
Mrs Johnson has created a Facebook group of volunteers – called Ava Grace No Footprint Too Small – who make tiny blankets and clothes for babies delivered prematurely.
She hopes this group, and the book, can help to bring about a social change where parents who lose children in pregnancy or infancy don’t feel so alone.
To donate search for Melissa Desveaux at mycause.com.au.