Aussie politician Kristina Keneally has opened up about her daughter’s stillbirth and how the death of her child still impacts her 20 years on.
Two decades ago the 50-year-old Labor pollie went through the tragic experience of burying her beautiful baby in a moment that has been imprinted in her mind forever. Little Caroline was born on June 18, 1999, but sadly never drew a breath.
Now speaking to Nine News about the devastating loss of her daughter, the mother-of-three has revealed the effect it has had on her life and what needs to be done to ensure parents to still borns receive they help they desperately need.
“We had a funeral for her and buried her,” she explained in the emotional interview. “And those few days when you’re in hospital, and you get to hold your child, but you know that you’ll never see her again.”
#EXCLUSIVE: @KKeneally is a no shrinking violet, she's our first female premier and now one of Labor's hard-hitters in the federal arena. But underneath her tough political exterior is a heartbreaking story. @AirlieWalsh #9News pic.twitter.com/rktWKhLdxU
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) June 19, 2019
The mum also opened up about her experience in a piece written for The Sydney Morning Herald, where she claimed the trauma and grief was overwhelming at times and she is still filled with guilt over the loss of her child.
Keneally said not a day goes by where the family doesn’t think of Caroline and what their lives would have been like if she had survived.
“Her birth and death cleaved my life into before and after,” she wrote in the publication. “The trauma, grief, sorrow and pain debilitated me for a time. Our family has never been the same. There is always a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter who is missing.
“In the 20 years since I gave birth to Caroline, I have gone through guilt and grief, sorrow and depression, and often anger.”
Sadly the politician is not alone in her heartache with a staggering 2,200 stillbirths per year across Australia – shockingly higher than the national road toll.
Keneally has long campaigned to help those affected by stillbirths and last year helped to implement a set of national recommendations into the tragic issue.
This included further investigation into stillbirths in the country, support for families following stillbirths and further education and training for clinicians.
The main aim is to reduce the rate of still births over the next three years by 20 per cent. However, as of yet Keneally told Nine News Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made no intention to follow through with the idea of a National StillBirth Action Plan.
“The thing that I struggle to come to grips with, is how going into pregnancy, I didn’t understand how often stillbirth occurs in Australia,” she told Nine News.
“There are so many babies who still die from still births who don’t have to and we could be preventing those deaths.”
She added: “We can’t wait another 20 years. We simply can’t.”