Pregnancy loss certificates to help parents who've suffered miscarriage

By Lanie Tindale
Steve and Bonnie Carter have experienced miscarriages. Ms Carter has welcomed the new ACT certificates. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

The ACT government will issue certificates to recognise babies lost to miscarriage in honour of International Pregnancy and Early Loss Remembrance Day.

The Commemorative Early Pregnancy Loss Certificates are available to parents who lost a child before 20 weeks' gestation. They are free and do not require medical proof to access.

ACT mother-of-three Bonnie Carter, who has lost two daughters to miscarriage, said she felt like they would now be properly recognised with the certificates.

"I will feel more peace as all my children will now be recognised through either birth certificates or an early pregnancy loss certificate," she said.

"Early pregnancy loss is a silent and lonely place for women and their families, so I hope the new certificates will also help break that silence and encourage people to talk about these devastating losses."

There are four designs by three artists, including West Australian artist and mother Till Heike, who has experienced two miscarriages.

She incorporated butterflies into her design to reflect "the feeling of loving your child even when you cannot hold them, the idea of beauty continuing to reside as memory".

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee opened up about her own miscarriages to the ACT Assembly last week.

She had a pregnancy loss in June 2018, before birthing her "rainbow baby" and daughter Mia a year later. She had two miscarriages with her partner Nathan this year.

ACT Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee shared that she has experienced two miscarriages this year. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

"Every family experiences pregnancy loss differently," Ms Lee said.

"I've almost forgotten all about it, when I'm updating my health insurance policy and they innocently ask 'Is there a reason you need top tier hospital cover?'"

"This is enough for me to stop and my mind goes straight back to that dark room when the sonographer said those painful words, 'I'm sorry, there's no heart beat.'"

Ms Lee said the certificates would help parents because it would mean others acknowledged a life only they may have experienced.

"The certificate provides tangible recognition of the loss, and I hope it will offer some support and comfort for parents," she said.

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