By AJN Staff June 17, 2024

Miscarriage is a heartbreaking reality that impacts many families in the Australian Jewish community. According to the Australian Miscarriage Association, miscarriages occur in at least 15 per cent of confirmed pregnancies. The actual miscarriage rate is likely to be much higher, estimated to be around 1 in 4 pregnancies, with around 285 miscarriages occurring every day in Australia, according to the Australian Miscarriage Association.

Until now, there has been no dedicated support within the Jewish community for those experiencing miscarriage and pregnancy loss. The Australian Jewish Fertility Network (AJFN) has launched its Miscarriage and Loss program to address the often-overlooked needs of individuals and families grappling with miscarriage within the Australian Jewish community.

The program was inspired by Stevie Dylan Mitchell, who sadly had passed away when she was born in April 2023. Stevie’s parents Ari and Gabbi used their grief to raise funds for the AJFN through ‘Stevie’s Swim’ in September last year. Ari swam 200km in pools and seas across Sydney in memory of his daughter and to raise awareness for those affected by stillbirth, miscarriage and pregnancy loss. Gabbi said, “Stevie will forever be in our hearts. AJFN’s miscarriage and loss program ensures that her legacy will continue to make big waves for those experiencing the heartache of pregnancy loss.”

The funds were the catalyst in launching the AJFN’s Miscarriage and Loss program, allowing AJFN to upskill their volunteer peer support companions, provide dedicated miscarriage and loss care packs and launch the community’s first free miscarriage guide, written by psychologist and grief counsellor Terry Diamond.

The guide is designed to address the challenges of pregnancy loss and grief. It provides practical and emotional support and Jewish-specific rituals to help individuals and couples cope with the complex emotions that accompany miscarriage and pregnancy loss. It offers a comforting roadmap through the grieving process, empowering individuals to navigate their journey with dignity, understanding and hope.

“We recognise the profound impact that miscarriage can have on individuals and families within the Australian Jewish community,” said Justine Saidman, CEO at AJFN. “Through our Miscarriage and Loss Support Program, we are committed to providing holistic support and resources that honour our community members’ emotional needs during this challenging time. No one should have to navigate the journey of pregnancy loss alone and we are here to offer compassionate assistance every step of the way.”

Recently, the Australian government awarded $9.5 million to miscarriage support in its national budget, a significant stride in recognising miscarriage and loss. This, together with AJFN’s Miscarriage and Loss Support Program, represents a significant step forward to opening the conversation and combining expert guidance, sensitive resources and support to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by miscarriage and pregnancy loss.

The Miscarriage and Loss Support Program is part of AJFN’s wraparound fertility-related support and education, helping to ensure that no Jewish Australian should ever feel alone on their fertility journey.

For more information about AJFN’s Miscarriage and Loss Support Program or to download the free miscarriage guide, please click here

For support you can contact the AJFN confidentially in Sydney on (02) 7906 8366 and in Melbourne on (03) 8840 6560, text 0481 075 554 or email [email protected].