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Twenty years is too long to do so little about the death of six babies a day

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18.06.2019

Twenty years ago this week my daughter Caroline was stillborn. Her birth and death cleaved my life into before and after. The trauma, grief, sorrow and pain debilitated me for a time. Our family has never been the same. There is always a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter who is missing.

Twenty years is about how long Australia has been keeping an accurate count of stillbirths. In that time the number has stayed exactly the same: six babies a day. In Australia, we lose approximately 2,200 babies every year to stillbirth. The rate of death from stillbirth is higher than the national road toll. Stillbirth is the No. 1 cause of death for infants.

For 20 years, Australia has paid almost no attention to this private tragedy that occurs on a significant scale. We did not speak of this personal grief that thousands of Australian families experience each year. We did not ask why it happens, or if we could prevent it. It’s not that we didn’t care. I suspect we kept silent about the tragic deaths of so many babies because it was so overwhelmingly sad. I can understand that – I would have preferred to never know this extraordinary........

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