Miscarriage – Not Secret Women’s Business
Miscarriage is something many Bub Hubbers have asked for more information on and something that has affected a huge number of people, including us.
There are a number of organisations in the Bereavement and Grief section of the ‘Helplines and Support Organisations’ page that can help. We have asked
SANDS for more information on this all too common issue.
Medical definition -:
The delivery of (or the process of delivery) a conceptus before there is a viable foetus.
Legal definition -:
The death of a baby before 20 weeks gestation.
These stark definitions do not reflect the absolute devastation that many parents feel when they experience the death of their baby in early pregnancy. The
statistics surrounding early pregnancy loss also offer little comfort. In young women the rate of miscarriage* is around 12%. This rate increases with a
woman’s age and between the ages of 35-39 the rate rises to 19% and from 40-42 years it has risen to 25%. The most alarming figure is for women aged
43 and over – the miscarriage rate in this age bracket is 50%. As women age so do their eggs and many miscarriages with older women are believed to
result from eggs that are simply too old. Numbers are meaningless until it happens to you.
When a baby dies in early pregnancy, it is a couple that experience this loss not just the mother and they will often have many questions
such as – Why me? Why us? Why did this happen? What did I do to cause this to happen? Was this my fault? Will I be able to have another baby?
Maternal health has improved markedly over the past 50 years or so and it can seem that babies don’t die anymore. There are a number of reasons for a
miscarriage to occur and parents may not always find an answer to their questions. Chromosomal abnormalities, hormone imbalances, sperm abnormalities…
Friends and Family
Whatever the medical reasons for a baby to die it is often the emotional aftermath that parents can be most challenged by. They do not expect their baby to
die and they also do not expect the depth of grief that often follows. The response to bereaved parents from family and friends may not always be
empathetic. Parents sometimes hear heartless comments such as “it was nature’s way”, “aren’t you lucky that you didn’t know the baby”, “if it had have
lived it probably would have been deformed.” “you can always have another one.” It is difficult to believe that the people who repeat these clichés actually
believe that they help parents. These comments totally negate the value of the baby who has died and are not indicative of how parents really feel.
Some couples can find that their experience of grief between partners can be very different and this can pose problems within a relationship. Most fathers
are delighted with the announcement of a pregnancy but may not start to bond with the baby until further on into the pregnancy. They do not share morning
sickness, they don’t feel the baby kicking, and they aren’t at the mercy of pregnancy hormones. So when their partner miscarry’s they may not fully
understand the implications for her and fathers generally will appear to recover quicker, return to work sooner than the mother. This doesn’t mean that he
has forgotten about their baby but means that he is dealing with his grief the way that men often do.
Some couples have a very supportive network of family and friends and may not feel a need to seek support elsewhere. There are also organisations around
that will provide support to parents and their families. These organisations have a variety of services available to parents such as coffee mornings, night
support meetings, written information, chat rooms, library facilities, telephone support.
After the death of a baby most parents will go onto have a normal pregnancy with a healthy baby. Generally a couple’s chance of having a second
miscarriage does not automatically increase. It can be wise to wait until physically and emotionally both parents are ready for a new pregnancy.
By Liz Davis. Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support (SANDS) Qld
1800 138 300
08 8277 0304
02 9681 4500
03 9899 0218
07 3254 3422
1800 228 655
Bonnie Babes Vic
03 9758 2800
1800 628 648
1800 228 655
08 9474 3544
*Data from D Warburton and C Fraser.
Photographs © Linda Pasfield
Playgroup-what it’s all about
The Bub Hub is proud to be endorsed by Playgroup Australia and supported by each of the state bodies as well. We are very supportive of the work of
Playgroups and encourage all parents to strongly consider joining your local playgroup. For more information visit the ‘Meeting other Parents’ page in the
Parenting Resources section.
A common scene at Playgroup
Children laughing as dad plays rough and tumble with a few toddlers, the chatter of parents as they exchange ideas over a cup of coffee, a grandmother
cuddling a baby as she points to the pictures in a book or a young mother pushing her child on the swing.
Playgroups, as we know them are unique to Australia.
Playgroup is an informal session where mums, dads, carers, children and babies meet together in a relaxed environment.
Playgroups are set up and run by parents and carers, with children choosing from a range of activities set up to meet their varying needs. Activities at
playgroup are either free or low cost, and may include:
- music and singing
- imaginative play
- outdoor and free play
- art and craft activities
In a playgroup, mums, dads and carers stay to interact with the other adults and to play with the children.
Playgroup can be held anywhere that is safe for children and where groups of people can meet - community and neighbourhood centres, health clinics,
women's centres, preschools and kindergartens, church halls and even in someone's house. Playgroups usually meet on the same day and time each week
and run for two hours. No child is too young for playgroup. All children from 0-5 years, including babies, love new experiences and benefit from developing
sensory, social and communication skills through activities at playgroup.
Why join a playgroup?
People join playgroups for different reasons. You might join to:
- break the isolation of being at home every day
- meet other families who live nearby
- share parenting experiences
- make new friends
- get involved in your community
- see how your child plays with other children of the same age
- understand more about play
- enjoy playing with your child
or for your child to:
- have fun with other children
- make friends
- meet other adults
- play with different toys and equipment
- learn through different play experiences
- go on excursions with other families
- have something to look forward to each week
- make the transition between home and kindergarten easier
Children like playgroup because they can:
- participate in new experiences
- develop and increase their social skills
- learn sharing, co-operation and simple routines
- interact with other adults and children in a safe environment
- enjoy learning more about their world
Adults also benefit from playgroup - a time to talk, make friends and share experiences, while children learn through their play experiences.
Adults like playgroup because they can:
- meet other local families and develop new friendships
- relax and talk in a friendly environment
- share experiences and ideas
- play with children and nurture a spirit of co-operation
- take up opportunities for personal development
More than 8000 playgroups sessions are being held throughout Australia every week.
Playgroup Associations have been providing for 30 years, in partnership with our volunteers, excellent quality, low cost, safe and supportive environments for
families with young children aged birth to school age. You can access over 8,000 affiliated Playgroups across Australia as we are one of the most affordable
and accessible not-for-profit organisations for families with young children.
There is a Playgroup Association in every State and Territory to help you:
- find a local playgroup which suits your needs
- set up a new playgroup
For more information visit www.playgroupaustralia.com.au or call
(toll free) 1800 171 882 to speak to the friendly staff at your local Playgroup Association.
WIN TICKETS to It’s a Dad Thing - Smash hit parental comedy from the director of Mum's The Word starring Michael Veitch and
Budget winds up baby bonus
The new financial year brings changes for families and we have asked the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for some additional information for parents. For
more information visit the ‘Government Family Benefit Payments’ page in the Parenting Resources section
The new maternity payment, announced by the government as part of the budget, incorporates the existing maternity allowance and the baby bonus.
To get the maternity payment, you must claim through
Centrelink. You cannot get the maternity payment through the Tax Office.
Some babies still bring bonus
While the baby bonus has been replaced by the maternity payment, you can still claim it if you had a child before 1 July 2004.
Also, if you claimed or are eligible to claim the baby bonus for any part of the period 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2004, you will still be able to claim the baby
bonus until the child turns five.
So, if you had a baby or you gained legal responsibility of a child aged under five (for example, through adoption) after 30 June 2001 and before 1
July 2004, you may be eligible to receive the baby bonus.
To claim the baby bonus
The baby bonus is a refundable tax offset you can claim even if you do not pay tax, do not have any income, or do not have to lodge a tax return.
You can only claim the baby bonus from the Tax Office. You can claim it online with e-tax, by using TaxPack or by asking your registered tax agent to include
the baby bonus claim with your tax return or on its own if a tax return is not required.
If you are claiming for the first time and you are not required to lodge a tax return, you can make your baby bonus claim using e-tax or you can use the
baby bonus claim form which is available from the Tax Office.
Claim your baby bonus and do your tax online
More than a million people are expected to lodge their tax returns online this year, using the Tax Office’s free online lodgment system—e-tax.
More than 96 per cent of e-tax returns are processed within 14 days. e-tax also offers advice on topics such as capital gains and losses, and provides links to
Tax Office rulings, publications, help screens and examples.
To use e-tax, all you need is access to a personal computer and the internet. Before you start using e-tax, make sure you have a copy of a notice of
assessment issued from 1999–2003 for tax or baby bonus; your current payment summary; details of any private health insurance cover; and records of
income or deductions you may have.
1. Go to the Tax Office web site www.ato.gov.au and download e-tax.
2. Save the e-tax software to your computer.
3. Complete your tax return by following the step-by-step prompts.
4. When the tax return is complete, verify your identity using your tax file number and your notice of assessment; then lodge.
For more information about the baby bonus and how to claim it, or to lodge your tax return electronically, go to the Tax Office website:
For more information about the maternity payment go to the Centrelink website: www.centrelink.gov.au.
Australian Taxation Office
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