Beth's Story - in loving memory of Ella

23 Mar 2023

The grief that comes from losing your child is all encompassing, it is never-ending, affects every single area of your life and brings with it every single emotion possible.

Beth  - Ella's mum

In loving memory of Ella.

Ella is our first and only child, when we found out we were pregnant with her we were over the moon and couldn’t wait to meet her. During the pregnancy, she loved when we’d go for walks along the beach, she had her mama craving donuts with pink icing and sprinkles and had her dad, Brett, dreaming of all the adventures he would take her on, like teaching her to rock climb and taking her to visit his hometown in Michigan.

We had so many hopes and dreams for our little girl.

After a healthy pregnancy, unexpectedly at 39 weeks, I experienced reduced movements, and soon after at the hospital we heard those devasting words, “I’m sorry there is no heartbeat”.

After being induced I gave birth to our beautiful girl, Ella Grace Stawinski on 28th April 2022.

Even though she was born still, the love and joy we felt for our little girl when we first laid eyes on her was immense. That moment will forever be the strongest mix of opposite emotions, joy and sadness.

When Ella was born, she was 7 pounds, 6 ounces, 52cm long and had a beautiful full head of dark hair with a hint of a curl, a sweet round face, button nose, with perfectly shaped little nails, and long fingers and toes. She was perfect!

We feel grateful and lucky to have been part of the Hospital to Home program by Red Nose. Our bereavement outreach worker Kate, reached out to us just a couple of days after we returned home. She supported us through the first three months, providing understanding, a listening ear and practical support as well. She helped us navigate all the emotions we were going through. Her practical support included helping us organise a funeral home, Centrelink support and my husband going back to work.

We will always be so grateful for the emotional and practical support we received from Kate. She just understood what we were going through and was there to listen and give suggestions when we needed them too.  

The grief that comes from losing your child is all encompassing, it is never-ending, affects every single area of your life and brings with it every single emotion possible.

It is for this reason that we choose to support Red Nose and get behind Say Their Name day. We know first-hand the pain that parents go through when losing a child and so we know just how important it is to support those who are grieving. We are so grateful for the support we have received from Red Nose and we want to make sure that they are able to continue to support parents as they navigate their grief.

Even though Ella is not physically here with us she will always be a part of our family and we will always look for ways to remember and honour our little girl. We have a special area set up in our living room for Ella’s urn, we have photos, candles and things in this area that have been gifted to her. I love having her visible in our home.

Most nights my husband and I will go for a walk at our local beach. This is a place we go to connect with our baby girl. Each time we visit we write her name in the sand, it’s our way of taking her with us. We always feel her close when we go there.

I want other families experiencing this to know every feeling you have is valid, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. While nothing will ever feel right, you just do what feels most right at the time.

While the pain of losing a child will never go away, I believe I will get better at carrying it over time. We learn ways to take our children with us, to connect with them and keep their memories alive even though they’re not here physically with us.

So please if I can just ask one thing of you all, if you know someone who has lost a child, please say their name any chance you get, you have no idea just how wonderful it is for us to hear their name, it helps us to keep their memories alive.

Say Their Name Day is on March 25 – a special day to remember all of the little lives we have loved and lost, and support bereaved families.

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