Victorian parents who’ve suffered an early pregnancy loss can now apply for a commemorative certificate in honour of their baby.
An early pregnancy loss is a loss before 20 weeks of pregnancy and isn’t registered as either a birth or death. Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria says the free certificate, while not a legal document, recognises a loss before 20 weeks, or if the weeks are unknown, if the baby weighed less than 400 grams.
There’s no time limit to when you can apply for the certificate, as long as the loss took place in Victoria.
Victorian Early Pregnancy Loss Certificate
The certificate was designed by Western Australian artist and writer Till Heike, who is the state’s coordinator for SANDS (miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death support). She has been involved in pregnancy loss, stillbirth and infant death support since her daughter’s death in 2014.
“When I was approached about providing a design for the Early Pregnancy Loss commemorative certificates, it was something that immediately resonated with me,” Till explained. “My own experience encompasses multiple early pregnancy losses, as a result of multiple different circumstances, and that extends to experiencing the stillbirth of my daughter, Claudia.
“With early pregnancy loss in particular, sometimes it can feel like we leave the hospital with nothing but paperwork. Parents might have imagined a long timeline for their child, right from the time that they saw that early pregnancy test – and, because of the enormity of the loss they’re trying to process, it is especially important to provide ways to make memories, to validate their loss, and to normalise that connection that they have with their baby.”
The botanical design uses watercolour on birchwood and features a pair of helmeted honeyeaters, Victoria’s state bird.
“What we wanted to achieve with the design, really, was something that has a very contemporary and warm aesthetic appeal. To be able to provide these certificates to parents is such an important way to acknowledge their baby, and to acknowledge their loss.”
Head to Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages to apply for an Early Pregnancy Loss Certificate.
Early Pregnancy Loss Certificates in Australia
Victoria isn’t the first state to offer free Early Pregnancy Loss Certificates. Here are the other Australian states where they are available:
If you need support please contact Sands Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Newborn Death Support via 1300 072 637.