THROUGH IT ALL TOGETHER: Morgan Fribence with her partner Ryan Hicks and their 9-year-old son Zavier.
THROUGH IT ALL TOGETHER: Morgan Fribence with her partner Ryan Hicks and their 9-year-old son Zavier. Jodie Williams Photography.

What do you say to a Mother after she's lost her baby?

NOT all mothers are overjoyed by the thought of May 12.

While Australia is one of the safest places in the world to give birth, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show close to 1 per cent of babies are stillborn or die in the first month of life.

Thousands of Australian women have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth and Morgan Fribence is one of them.

The Chinchilla mother refuses to shy away from her experience and openly discusses what her family went through after she and her partner lost their beautiful little girl, Olive-Grace at 32 weeks.

"We've just passed the one-year anniversary and it doesn't really get any easier but we say her name every day because forgetting her would be even worse,” Morgan said.

Sands, the miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death charity estimates one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage in Australia each year, while around 2,500 babies are either stillborn or die in the first 28 days after birth.

Despite these yearly figures, and the number of Australian's that are impacted, these numbers still remain a topic rarely spoken about in public.

"I didn't realise how many families in our region have been through what we've been through.

"In 50 years the stillbirth rate hasn't changed in Australia and there's a lot of mothers out there who don't have the level of support I was lucky enough to have.”

Morgan is now an area representative of Angel Gowns, a non-for-profit organisation run by volunteers who take formal gowns and wedding dresses and turn them into little gowns for families who have gone through a stillbirth.

SMALLEST ANGEL: Olive-Grace's dress made by an organisation called Angle Gowns.
SMALLEST ANGEL: Olive-Grace's dress made by an organisation called Angle Gowns. Morgan Fribence

"Having those three days in hospital and getting to spend time with her and getting to capture those memories thanks to the Heartfelt foundation was good for me because I got to get closure,” she said.

Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from across Australia and New Zealand who provide their services for free to families that have experienced premature births, stillbirths or have children with serious and terminal illnesses.

Their aim is to capture a memory for the family before they have to say good-bye.

For mothers like Morgan who have been through the hardships of losing a child, Mother's Day can be a daunting time.

"I hate it,” she said.

"I didn't want to celebrate it last year but this year we will do something for my son's sake,

"I want other mums out there to know that this sucks, but you're not alone, there are other women closer than you think who have been through something similar.”

After becoming more involved with Angel Gowns and raising $1500 for the Heartfelt organisation Morgan says there isn't enough support available to regional mothers.

"There definitely isn't enough mental health support available, particularly for women living outside of larger towns,” she said.

"A lot of people around you don't know what to say, and it is very hard to know what to say after something like this happens. Some of my closest friends would look at me and they just couldn't bring themselves to say anything,

"There isn't really a right thing to say or a right way to say it, but just having someone close to me say something and knowing they were there when I needed them the most, that was a start.”

"It is the hardest thing to get through, and the truth is it doesn't really get any easier. I look like I've got it all together but some days I put my pants on backwards,

"And at the end of it all it's just about making it through the day and remembering that this has been totally s**t but we keep getting on with it,

"And I know I'm the mother to a little girl called Olive-Grace and she was so very beautiful and was, and still is very close to our hearts.”

To support a family and sponsor an Angel Gown for just $15, head to their website here.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with the loss of a loved on don't hesitate to contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

You can also receive advice and support over the phone and online from Sands, by calling 1300 072 637.


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