Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day at KEMH

KEMH Senior Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer Janinne Gliddon, with Health Minister Roger Cook, KEMH Chaplain Annolies Truman, Perinatal Loss Midwife Sonya Criddle and WNHS Executive Director, Jodi Graham
October 15, 2019

The KEMH Memorial Rose Garden was radiant as it cast colour and fragrance across the grounds for the annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day Service, held in the gardens for the first time, to acknowledge its 30th Anniversary.

KEMH Chaplain Annolies Truman held a beautiful service using roses from the garden, as symbols of the experience of loss.

The first rose, was the rose bud of premature loss, the second rose represented grief, the third courage and the final rose represented memories.

More than 50 people attended the service, with staff, families, members of Rotary and dignitaries amongst them.

Health Minister Roger Cook attended the service and it was an opportunity to pay our respects to the families and loved ones who had gone through this very sad time…

“The loss of a little one during pregnancy or birth is a terrible event but I hope that services such as the one today offer some comfort for those that have suffered such a loss,” he said.

Following the recent announcement that KEMH would move to the QEII site in the future, Minister Cook also spoke of the importance of work currently underway to preserve the Memorial Rose Garden and Harvey House.

“The Memorial Rose Garden is a very special place that provides a place of sanctuary and remembrance, and we are committed to preserving the garden and the Harvey House precinct,” he said.

"A Conservation Management Plan will be developed that will help determine what is needed now and into the future so that Harvey House and the garden remain with us for generations to come."

KEMH Chaplain Robert Anderson told of his decision more than 30 years ago to try and help families find an answer to the question he would so regularly hear, ‘what will happen to our baby’.

“If I, the assumed helper, had no tools in my pocket and felt helpless, how much more the emptiness and helplessness of those who would walk out of the door with empty arms and emptiness in every part of their being,” he said.

“It was from here that the possibility of establishing a Memorial Garden to deposit the ashes of stillborn babies less than 28 weeks gestation began”.

Since the establishment of the garden, there have been many wonderful people who have helped maintain the garden and advocate for upgrades and improvements. Rotary Club of Matilda Bay have provided ongoing support by generously donating their time, hard work and finances to this special place.  We again thank Rotary for all their wonderful contributions.

Now, 30 years later, almost 20 buildings in WA will be lit in pink and blue tonight, including KEMH, to acknowledge Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and to reinforce to families experiencing loss, that they are not alone.