Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Remembrance Day service to be held at Woronora Memorial Park

Time to remember: Shire mum Fallon Voroshine with her son Nash at the Karinya Garden in Woronora Memorial Park. Picture: Chris Lane
Time to remember: Shire mum Fallon Voroshine with her son Nash at the Karinya Garden in Woronora Memorial Park. Picture: Chris Lane

Shire mother Fallon Voroshine who lost her baby daughter, Bonnie last year will have a chance to connect with other parents who have experienced similar losses at a remembrance service this month.

Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Remembrance Day will be marked with a candlelight service at Woronora Memorial Park on Tuesday, October 15.

The service will take place in Karinya Garden, the children's area within the Memorial Park, and starts at 6:30pm.

Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Remembrance Day was first officially recognised in 2012 by NSW Parliament to raise awareness of the services and support available to those who have suffered the loss of a child, whether during pregnancy, at birth or after birth.

It's a chance for the community and families to come together to remember and honour the life of that precious child.

Fallon and her husband Jarad were eagerly awaiting the birth of their twins, Nash and Bonnie, when Fallon suddenly experienced complications at 33 weeks.

Though Nash was the smaller of the babies, tragically, the couple discovered that Bonnie had died.

"I was shaking in shock, in absolute disbelief, it was absolutely heartbreaking," said Fallon of learning Bonnie had died.

Two days later, on 26th June 2018, Fallon gave birth to Bonnie and Nash.

"It's so hard because you've lost a child but then you're also giving birth to a live child, so you're in no shape or form even to comprehend that you're actually having a baby but losing a baby at the same time," Fallon said.

"I remember when they brought Bonnie over to me, it was like she was asleep, and for some reason, I couldn't stop apologising and telling her how sorry I was."

For Bonnie's parents, the grief is still very raw.

"You constantly feel that sense of loss. She's meant to be in this bath with him. She's meant to be in the next highchair. She's meant to be sitting there playing with him. It's a constant reminder of losing her."

Fallon embraced the idea of the Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Remembrance Day service as a way to reach out to other people who have had similar experiences.

"I wanted to share our story this year, because I want people to know they are not alone. It's unfortunate the rates of stillbirth are still so high and I don't think it's spoken about enough," she said.

At the special service, each attendee will receive a symbolic gift of a white candle, and join tens of thousands of other families from around the globe in a very moving tribute.

"The service takes place in the Karinya Garden, our resting place for children up to 12 years, surrounded by hundreds of fairy lights, with a harpist," said Carolyn Dowe, Senior Manager Customer Care Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries NSW.

"The candles are lit at 7pm around the world, following the sunset.

"For families who have suffered the unimaginable loss of a child, the ceremony is a chance for grief to be shared and a burden unloaded in a reflective and healing atmosphere."

Families are also able to connect to the support structure provided by support groups in attendance, which include representatives from SANDS (miscarriage, stillbirth & newborn death support), Stillbirth Foundation Australia, Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids), Bears for Hope, Pillars of Strength, The Compassionate Friends NSW Inc., HeartKids, Pink Elephants Support Network and Running for Premature Babies.

For Fallon, sharing her loss has become an important way of moving forward.

"I think if you don't speak up, you just feel like you're drowning in your pain and grief," she said.

"When you attend a night like this, you can speak to other people. You have that connection of grief that you've gone through the same thing together."

"Sometimes, the only way to help is when you speak to someone who has gone through it and learn how they've managed and how they've coped. It's just so great that Woronora Memorial Park puts a service like this on. The releasing of the doves and the lighting of the candles, it's a really special experience."

All members of the community are invited to attend. The Service is scheduled for Tuesday 15 October, with guest arrival 6:15pm.