Sunday Mail Column for Sunday 19 June 2011: The one about Georgie and Red Nose Day

I debated writing this column today.

Mostly because in some ways it defeats the reason  – or one of the reasons – why Brad, Ava and I moved here, to Adelaide, in the first place. Why we packed up our belongings in January and redirected our mail and moved across the country leaving behind all our family and friends in Brisbane to come here where we knew no one. Or, more specifically, where nobody knew us.

Of course Brad’s job and the wineries and the restaurants and the festivals and the markets and the Adelaide Hills were all big drawcards. (And frankly the Roasted Berkshire Pork Belly with green apple, wombok & dill salad at The Pot on King William Road should really be part of your tourism campaign.) But mostly Adelaide represented a fresh start. A chance to have some breathing space.  The City of Churches, we decided, would give us some time to heal as a family of three.

And it has. We have. Alone in this windy city for the past five months, we’ve blazed our own trail; discovering for ourselves favourite playgrounds and parks. Cafes and cake shops. We’ve worn a path to the Adelaide Zoo. And, err, our local Tavern, if we’re going to be completely honest.  We’ve relished the chance to rug up in coats and scarves and watched Mother Nature put on an autumn show with the trees and leaves that rivals anything on the Las Vegas strip.  And we’ve happily bunkered down on many a cold evening in front of the telly trying to work out what the hell AFL is all about.

But there comes a time in the healing process, at least according to my mother, when a cut or a scratch or a graze needs to be exposed. When the bandaid must come off and the wound left open to fresh air and sunshine. To life.  Does it feel vulnerable to the elements at first?  Of course.  But that cut, my mother would always say, needs to be allowed to breathe.

I’m beginning to suspect that emotional wounds are no different. Eventually we need to uncover them to truly let them heal. You can’t, or at least I can’t, hide out forever hoping hoping hoping – please God hoping – the hairdresser won’t casually ask how many children you have while she washes your hair. That the friendly mum you’ve started chatting to at the park won’t innocently question if Ava is your only child.  That the childcare assistant who works at the crèche at your gym won’t want to know if your toddler has a sibling.

Because what will happen – what always happens – when you are asked how many children you have is that you will give one answer but silently think another. And it will be that way for the rest of your life.

Our daughter Georgie was stillborn last September. Ava’s much-wanted little sister unexpectedly died just 10 days before she was due to be delivered. That was nine months ago. And not a day goes by that we don’t miss her.

Next Friday 24 June, is Red Nose Day, a day we all associate with the pivotal role SIDS and Kids has played in reducing the occurrences of Sudden and Unexplained Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

But what many people don’t know is that SIDS and Kids fund medical research and provide a range of bereavement support services to anyone who has suffered the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child under the age of six, regardless of cause. Miscarriage. Stillbirth. Cot death. Accident or illness.

There are thousands of parents silently grieving lost pregnancies, babies, children. Please buy a red nose this week or give generously at   If you have lost a baby or a child and would like to talk to someone, SIDS and Kids operate a 24-hour Bereavement Support line.  Call (08) 8369 0155.

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  1. PartlySunny on June 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I’m so terribly sorry about your baby girl.

  2. Bern on June 19, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Much love to you and your beautiful family Bec. Words cannott express how much I admire you. We will all be donning red noses this Friday.

  3. Bern on June 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Much love to you and your beautiful family Bec. Words cannot express how much I admire you. We will all be donning red noses this Friday.

  4. Lara on June 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Thank you so much for writing this piece. I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out about to embark on the next step of my journey trying to get away from ‘it’. You have helped me more than you could have imagined.

  5. Mrs Catch on June 19, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Rebecca, my heart just breaks for you. Wishing you peace and joy in your new home. Our family will be red-nosing everything we can…

  6. Kym O'Gorman on June 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

    There is nothing I can say, but for some reason I still felt compelled to leave a comment. You’re an inspiration, and I know you sharing your story, as hard as that is, helps other people.

  7. Christie-Childhood 101 on June 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Your little family sounds a lot like mine, we lost our baby boy August of last year. I tried to take cover and hide away but it wasn’t until I came up for air that I truly acknowledged and worked through my grief and found sunshine again.

  8. Denyse on June 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Oh Bec.
    I am tearing up.
    I knew that you had lost Baby Georgie too soon.
    And I follow you on twitter and mamamia of course.
    But, you know, it seems wherever we go, we take “us” with us.
    So, the outward changes are place, people and ways.
    But the inward needs, as mum says, to come out. I cannot give you any other advice.
    Your heart is telling your head that you needed to write this.
    Thank you so very much.
    I know of very few people who are NOT touched by the tragedy of infants lost- stillborn, SIDS, and so on.
    Yes, you reminded me, again, as always to support Red Nose Day.
    Hugs from this Grandma of 5. XXXXXX

  9. living savvy on June 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I didn’t know this about red nose day Bec, thank you (once again the power of taking a deep breath and putting it all out there).

  10. Rob on June 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I’m unfortunate to be a sufferer of anxiety and depression and throughout my wife’s pregnancy held a small fear in the back of me head that something like this could happen to us. It didn’t and my sweet daughter is now 10 months old.
    I won’t say anything about how you feel about this. I simply do not have a clue. You of course have my sympathy, but that’s small consolation.
    The news you gave me though, about SIDS and Kids I did not know. And for that I thank you.

  11. Emma on June 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Thankyou for writing this. I feel that yes, perhaps putting it somewhere it can be read will help you in this healing progress. As a person who has also moved from Brisbane to Adelaide, I was immediately drawn into your story. All I can say is peace be with you.

  12. Kelli on June 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    All I can say is thank you – I work for SIDs and Kids QLD and we are so lucky to have brave women like you to tell your story. I am also a midwife and I have been with families when a baby is stillborn, it is heartbreaking, devastating and needs more bandaids than a box can hold. Red Nose Day will provide support to many more families like you , Brad and Ava for as long as it takes and as many as red noses we can handle. We have built an amazing memorial garden and wall here in the Brisbane office and we would love for Georgie’s name to be a part of it. If anyone would like to contact us for support or education see our webiste Take care of yourself and your amazing family. Enjoy the wonder of winter in a cold city. The sun is still shining here – for Georgie. xx

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About Bec

Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.

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