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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2994 ..

families do not need to feel alone, isolated or without support at a time when they need it most.

On Connor’s headstone there is a saying on which I often reflect. It states, “There is no foot so small that it cannot leave a footprint on this world.” Connor and Keith, you have left your footprint. I love you and I miss you.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (12.15): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to provide some reflections on the tri-party motion supporting the call to recognise International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on 15 October.

As has been noted in this chamber, the experience of pregnancy loss is surprisingly common and an experience that many women share, although we do not often speak about it. Early pregnancy loss is so common that well-meaning advice provided to people when women first find out that they are pregnant includes the suggestion that women keep it quiet for a while in case something goes wrong. It seems rather strange to not share with those that you love and care for that you are experiencing something which is not only painful but includes feelings of sorrow and grief. It is strange to turn up to work after being ill and not share a deeply impactful experience.

I would reflect that I am glad that I did not take this advice and did not carry the weight of the experience of early pregnancy loss alone. Although my partner was incredibly supportive and affected himself, the power of sharing with women that I love, including many who had shared a similar experience, was how I moved through my sorrow and grief. I was so grateful to have the support of my mother, my aunties, my sisters and friends as I went through this experience.

Early pregnancy loss is a really difficult experience to live through and it impacts your experiences, moving forward. Infant loss involves a whole other dimension, as families must welcome and farewell someone they love much too quickly. As a community, we can struggle to acknowledge these lives and the impact that they have made on their families and on us more broadly. I welcome moves such as the ability to document the life of early pregnancy; that is really important.

International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day provides us with the opportunity to pause and remember babies lost. In this chamber today, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the life and impact of Matilda Felicity Abbott and share her parents’ reflections on what she taught them and what we need to know to better support people who experience infant loss.

Matilda was born on 14 November 2018 at 7.51 pm. She was just shy of 23 weeks old. Her parents, Lucy and Lachlan, reflect that they feel incredibly fortunate to have cradled her in their arms, kissed her over and over, and felt her tiny chest gently rise and fall, before saying goodbye as she drew her last breath. They note their gratitude to the Heartfelt photography charity that captured those precious moments in such a sensitive and beautiful way. They note the care of the Calvary midwife who helped

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