Helping to break down the stigma of stillbirth

Jonathon and Jacqueline Hoy cherished holding their twin boys William and Henry who were born still on February 13.  Journalist Liz Langdale (at right) told their story with care and compassion.
Jonathon and Jacqueline Hoy cherished holding their twin boys William and Henry who were born still on February 13. Journalist Liz Langdale (at right) told their story with care and compassion.

The sensitive issue of stillbirth was treated with great care and skill by journalist Liz Langdale.  It is the story that has stayed with her in 2017.

What stands out about this story:

It was a challenging interview for me to conduct as it involved asking the parents about the very recent loss of their twin sons.

However it was an important story for them to tell as they wanted to help break down the taboo of stillbirth and raise awareness of the issue.

This story stood out for me because of the audience's reaction to the story via social media. Many people had lost their angel babies through stillbirth. It became a space for them to share and connect - which fulfilled the Hoys' wish to help break down the taboo.

It was rewarding for me as a journalist to help spark the conversation about stillbirth to help raise awareness and connect people for support.

What were the challenges in writing this story:

Myself and my editor Tracey Fairhurst deliberated for some time about whether to use that image or not and what impact it would have. 

We also discussed how we would explain the story via social media and worded it very carefully. In the end it was the right decision - it created a beautiful space for parents who had also lost children to connect with each other with many sharing their own experiences online after reading the story.

LIZ’S STORY:

The story led to some nice follow-ups including the experience of Heartfelt photographer Lindsay Moller who helps families of stillborn children by capturing lasting memories.

Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia and New Zealand. The photographers are dedicated to giving the gift of memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature births or have children with serious and terminal illnesses.

Is there anything you would like to add:

I couldn’t have done this story without the support and guidance from my editor Tracey Fairhurst. We discussed the story in great detail from how to conduct a sensitive interview, to publication and how to publish via social media. It was a great learning experience of how to approach a deeply emotive issue.

While we are often encouraged to use digital elements to enhance the content of our articles, this story stood alone as just words and a single image.

After discussions with Tracey I chose not to include any extra digital elements as this would have detracted from the content of the story.

Liz Langdale is the senior journalist at the Camden Haven Courier.  If you have a story for her email liz.langdale@fairfaxmedia.com.au