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BEREAVEMENT doula Amy Banson wants to bring support to women in the space where birth meets death.
Amy says she has created the panel-led event, Let Me See My Baby, which will be held at the National Press Club on Monday, December 4, to help start important conversations that can help support women experiencing infant loss during pregnancy or soon after birth.
“As a bereavement doula I started to feel that the last thing women in these situations need is someone new coming in,” she says.
“The care should be consistent, coming from someone they already know, and I wanted to tap into that.
“We can all get better at supporting women in this. I actually think the fear of doing or saying the wrong thing can lead us down a path of wanting to say certain things, but actually you can keep it very simple and don’t have to say much. Just, if you want to talk, I’m here and I want to hear it. I want to journey with you. Even if you say, I don’t know what to say but I’m here.
“I think we can all agree that there are certain cliches that aren’t helpful.”
Mum-of-three Amy says that Let Me See My Baby looks at the way things have changed over many years in this area, back to a time when it was felt best that mum didn’t see or hold their baby who died.
“I felt the best way to open the conversation was to ask someone who had experienced this, what is child loss like for you?” Amy says.
“We start with someone who experienced it 40 years ago, and look at that in terms of the services that weren’t available then. We also speak to someone who lost a child last year which brings us to the here and now, highlights what’s changed, what we do differently now and what might still be lacking, but also the common themes that are the same.”
Amy says she feels that support in this area is something that needs to be open and available to everyone in the community.
“For the Canberra event I know of at least five men that will be attending, which is fantastic and it feels like a huge win that they feel comfortable enough to join,” she says.
“There’s often an assumption that these conversations are for women but they’re topics that affect men too.”
Amy says she had planned to offer bereavement training via her business Little Silk Wings, but that running Let Me See My Baby has changed things for the moment.
“I’m realising that these conversations through the event in different communities could potentially reach more people in a more appealing way than study can, so I’m going with the flow with that at the moment,” she says.
“In 2018 I’m committed to Let Me See My Baby, with events planned for Melbourne in February, Tasmania in March, and then a loop of Australia via South Australia, Perth and the Northern Territory.
“My aim is to present to each community in a way that reflects what is already going on there, so I don’t want to bring in the same panel each time and just talk about change,” she says.
“I’m mindful that good things are already happening and that good work is already being done. Each panel will be unique to where we’re presenting, so it’s far from duplicating.
“It’s about really looking at the conversation according to who’s on the panel, respecting what’s there and creating a specific, unique, relevant event every time.”
Let Me See My Baby is on Monday December 4 from 6-9pm at the National Press Club of Australia. Tickets to trybooking.com/book/event?eid=304483. Visit littlesilkwings.com.au or facebook.com/events/1733543846946858/ for more information. Proceeds go to Lao Birthwork