Any Pregnancy can be a rollercoaster of emotions. And if the child passes away, the rollercoaster suddenly becomes so much more intense. One moment, you are waiting expectantly for your child to be born but the next, they’re gone. Experiencing a pregnancy loss is never easy, but it is perhaps especially hard for mothers who lose a child to stillbirth, or lose the child very soon after birth.
This is because stillbirths occur after the 28th week of pregnancy. Parents have at least seven months to bond with their baby, build dreams, discuss names, and suddenly those dreams are gone.
In October last year, when Manchester United and Portugal football star Christiano Ronaldo and his partner Georgina announced they were expecting twins, the couple posed with the sonogram photos. They were clearly delighted to be adding a baby boy and girl to their family of three children. But just a few days ago the couple announced that their newborn son had passed away. Ronaldo announced on social media, “It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away. It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel.”
Messages of support are pouring in from all over the world for Georgina and Ronaldo, but they probably can’t cut through their fog of grief. As Ronaldo announced. “Only the birth of our baby girl gives us the strength to live in this moment with some hope and happiness. We would like to thank the doctors and nurses for all their expert care and support. We are devastated by this loss.”
The couple has not revealed the reasons why their son passed. But anyone who has lost a baby so soon after birth – or lost a baby to stillbirth or miscarriage – will recognize the storm of emotions the couple is feeling. Every year, around 80 to 120 women in Singapore suffer a stillbirth. There are known risk factors such as mothers who are obese or who smoke being at higher risk. But most stillbirths happen to healthy women who have no prior medical condition. About one in three are unexplained.
This means mothers and fathers often feel confused, guilty and shocked after a stillbirth.
It’s hard to talk about losing a new baby, whether it’s miscarriage, stillbirth, or soon after birth. But therapists say talking does help save lives and soothe wounded hearts. So we’ve put together some questions about stillbirth and miscarriage – including where to find non-judgemental support for bereaved parents in Singapore.