Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy is devastating, but the reality is that many will experience it at least once in their lifetime. Every day, in Australia alone, approximately 282 women lose a baby before 20 weeks’ gestation; one in four pregnancies ends before 12 weeks; and one in three pregnant women over the age of 35 will experience pregnancy loss. It's time we stopped being silent.
The Glimmer Podcast, started by Dr Ashleigh Smith, is a space for fellow grieving women who have suffered pregnancy loss, whether it be miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death. Smith knows first-hand the devastating impacts of losing a child. Earlier this year, she and her husband lost their daughter Isla at two days old, and now she is on a mission to assist others through this "cruel twist of fate."
"I define Glimmer more as a social movement to help manage the grief of pregnancy and newborn loss," she tells marie claire Australia. "It is firmly rooted in the philosophy of peer support and mindfulness. The underpinning philosophy of Glimmer contributes to a broader social conversation of bringing the pain, sadness and isolation of the loss of a baby into the light.
"We share and grow together as united bereaved mothers. It offers, after all, a glimmer of hope."
This podcast series is for all the fellow women, their families, and friends who have lost children through pregnancy, childbirth, or in the newborn period - whether that be a recent loss or years on. The podcast sees interviews with experts, specialists, and psychologists, with the first guest being psychologist Julee Pinel.
Pinel's son Andrew passed away when he was born at 22 weeks, and she has since devoted her career to helping people psychologically recover from similar tragedies. The two discuss how Julee manages her grief, 27 years on.
Ultimately, Smith wants to help other women not feel alone, give words to the agony and grief many feel, as well as reassure and normalise the grieving process.
"It is healing for me and means I can deliver their wisdom and insights straight into the ears of fellow women and families that need it most," Smith says.
Glimmer is not just for the women who have experienced the trauma either, but for the families and friends of bereaved women who are trying to help and support.
"The one thing I hope to contribute in the world is for other women suffering the isolation and agony of losing a baby to feel less alone," she says. "I miss Isla every day. Glimmer is her legacy."
If you or your friend would like to join the Glimmer bereaved mothers group with daily mediation practice and compassionate peer support, or access more information on pregnancy and newborn loss, go to www.theglimmerproject.com.