• In short: An independent store in Launceston has recently launched a range to help bereaved parents remember their babies.
  • What’s next? It’s hoped other stores around the country will follow suit.

Emily Judd was 39 weeks pregnant when her second child Jack was born still.

For Ms Judd and her husband Nick, figuring out how to tell their then three-year-old daughter Lydia why her brother was not coming home, was one of the hardest things.

“She was expecting to help bath the baby, put him to bed, she had her baby doll ready,” Ms Judd said.

“So when he didn’t come home it was incredibly difficult for us all.”

The family decided buying a sibling book about pregnancy loss would be a beautiful way to keep Jack present and also help Lydia understand why her brother wasn’t around.

But finding such a book wasn’t easy.

“You can’t find any of these beautiful and really important keepsakes, like baby books, memorial books, books for siblings, in store, they’re online only,” Ms Judd said.

“We did find beautiful books out there, but by the time I Googled them, found them, ordered them online and waited for them to arrive, months had passed.”

Store launches gift range for bereaved parents

Ms Judd is part of a growing number of Australian women lobbying for baby stores across the country to stock and feature infant loss items, like keepsake boxes, jewellery, and baby loss books and journals.

“It’ll just help what is the most isolating experience in the world that little bit better,” said Ms Judd, who has also written a pregnancy loss resources book called A Little Help from Jack.

“To know that you’re still recognised as a parent, your baby still means something, and they can still be shopped for and acknowledged, will mean the world to mothers, fathers and families everywhere.”

The owners of an independent baby store in Ms Judd’s hometown of Launceston, in northern Tasmania, are believed to be the first in Australia to create their own infant bereavement gift area.

Amanda Reilly and Jasmine Shepherd stand together in their shop, with baby items behind them

Amanda Reilly and Jasmine Shepherd’s baby store in Launceston is believed to be the first in Australia to have an infant bereavement gift area. (ABC News: Manika Champ)

AdoreUBaby co-owner Amanda Reilly said she and her business partner Jasmine had their own personal experience of loss and were inspired by Ms Judd’s story.

“It happens to so many people,” Ms Reilly said.

“And I just think being inclusive as a baby store, that you need to include those people; they also had a baby.”

Children's books on a shelf in a shop, one is titled My Sibling Above

Some of the items for sale at Amanda Reilly and Jasmine Shepherd’s Launceston store. (ABC News: Manika Champ)

‘I’ve had the really polite no’

Brisbane mum Crystal Zeeman, who lost her daughter Whittaker two years ago, has created a pregnancy loss journal through her small business Whittaker and Friends.

She said the Launceston baby store was the first to accept her product and sell it.

“I’ve had the really polite no [from other stores],” Ms Zeeman said.

“I’ve sent out our wholesale catalogue and haven’t heard back, and it takes a lot to keep pushing myself.”

Crystal, holding a pregnancy loss journal, and husband Ryan Zeeman standing in a baby shop in Launceston

Crystal and Ryan Zeeman lost their daughter, Whittaker, two years ago. (ABC News: Manika Champ)

Ms Zeeman said she hoped other stores would follow suit, as she said it was important for parents dealing with infant loss to feel supported.

“Our friends and family, who didn’t understand what we were going through, found it difficult to have conversations with us, so I really just wanted a safe space.”

A portrait of Red Nose Australia co-chief executive Keren Ludski.

Red Nose Australia’s Keren Ludski says items that help bereaved parents remember their babies are important. (Supplied: Red Nose Australia)

Red Nose Australia chief executive Keren Ludski said if more baby stores stocked infant loss items it could make pregnancy loss not so much of a “taboo topic”.

“It’s so important, equally for bereaved parents and for those friends and family of bereaved parents, to know that there is something they can buy that is meaningful and establishes that ongoing connection for the parents to that baby, and also shows that bereaved family that you’re here,” Ms Ludski said.

“It’s a really lovely opportunity to acknowledge this beautiful baby that was meant to be here, who isn’t.”

In Australia, six babies are born still each day and one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage.

Red Nose Australia said a further three babies a day die during early infancy.


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