Personal experiences of stillbirth

What the research had to say

COPE research undertaken with 1,899 consumers, revealed that 692 respondents indicated that they, or someone close to them had experienced perinatal loss.  Of these, eleven per cent had experienced a stillbirth.   

Source: Centre of Perinatal Excellence (2022)

Below are the key themes identified pertaining to personal experiences of stillbirth, which ultimately informed the development of The Truth campaign.

Profound grief

Amongst those who shared their experience around stillbirth, the overwhelming sense of grief prevailed at the time and was ongoing, regardless of future pregnancies.

“My sister had a stillborn and suffered PTSD. Our whole family has experienced great grief and have struggled to find ways to support her.”

“Spent 9 months imagining life with baby, all the experiences of baby moving. Then to give birth when baby had died is so difficult.”

“Late term stillbirth, so having publicly announced and purchased many baby items, was a constant reminder of the loss.”

Lack of information

Respondents described that there was a lack of information about the process that would unfold when learning that their baby had died.  In particular, the process of giving birth and the postpartum recovery.  This pertained to both physical and emotional aspects of grief and recovery.

“Lack of understanding of how frequently stillbirth happens. That no one realises that as a 2nd trimesters loss, I had to deliver my dead baby in the same way people deliver their live babies. My husband watched me birth his dead daughter and couldn’t help either of us. Postpartum recovery after stillbirth is not something I have been able to find any real information on, there is an expectation that because you don’t have a baby to look after your body is fine to go ‘back to normal’ straight away & that will help you not dwell on the loss.”

“Not knowing what to expect when visiting the family member in hospital. Not understanding the process for birth of a stillborn baby.”

“I have a friend who tragically had her baby son stillborn at 36 weeks. I believe she has found comfort in talking about him, saying his name, hearing others say his name, and knowing that others think of him and know he matters.”

Read the full summary  

Campaign profile – Renata

Renata tells of her devastating and lonely experience following a miscarriage and later following the stillbirth of one of her twin babies. She discusses the profound impact that this had on her, and provides valuable insights into what has helped.

Talking about her experience to others and as part of #thetruth campaign, has been an important part of her steps to moving forward from this dark time in her life.

Read Renata’s Story