30 August 2023

Kristina coordinates 'Hope Walk' to show other women they're not alone after losing a child

| Travis Radford
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Kristina Henson with partner Steven and son Luka.

Kristina Henson with partner Steven and son Luka. Photo: Kristina Henson.

Canberra mum Kristina Henson had her first and most traumatic miscarriage six years ago in 2017.

She was 14 weeks pregnant with her second child when tragedy struck on a date she still remembers with ease.

“On the 17th of July, 2017, I miscarried that child and during that time, my family and I were in a dark place,” she says.

“I’ve gone through multiple miscarriages since and I felt like I was always alone and I had no-one to talk to in my darkest place.”

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Enter Australian non-for-profit organisation Bears of Hope, which provides pregnancy and infant loss support, education and awareness.

“Bears of Hope were always there,” Kristina says. “I knew they were there to support me and my family through my physical and mental recovery.”

Bears of Hope bereavement kit.

Bears of Hope gave Kristina special baby clothing and other supplies (candle excluded) after her first miscarriage. Photo: Kristina Henson.

The non-for-profit also holds yearly ‘Choosing Hope’ walks across Australia to support families who have experienced the loss of a baby and to raise funds and awareness to continue its services.

These walks haven’t however typically been held in the capital – until this year. Inspired by the support she received from Bears of Hope during her miscarriages, Kristina volunteered to coordinate the inaugural Choosing Hope walk in Canberra this October.

“The reason why I wanted to host this special event was to share my own personal experiences with other families,” Kristina explains.

“I want to put a message out there to say, ‘Don’t be ashamed or afraid’ to families who are going through pregnancy losses, such as miscarriages, infant deaths and stillbirths, and making sure we do raise this awareness and that we let our voices be heard. I also want to let those families know there is help and there is support available to make sure you aren’t alone.”

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A leisurely six-kilometre group walk around Lake Ginninderra will be held on the same day as International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (Sunday 15 October).

Afterwards, a special remembrance service will be held at John Knight Memorial Park in Belconnen.

“We will do some poems and self-reflections. We’ll also have some memorial cards where you can write your baby’s name,” Kristina says.

“If you haven’t lost a child, you can write a card in remembrance of one of your friends or a family member and those will be read out as part of the service too.”

Choosing Hope Walk.

Canberra’s inaugural Choosing Hope Walk will begin and end at John Knight Memorial Park in Belconnen. Photo: Bears of Hope.

Kristina says she’s already received positive responses from the community but encourages more Canberrans, including those who haven’t personally experienced the loss of a baby, to register for the event and show their support for the cause.

“So far, it’s been a great experience and I’ve got to deal with many vendors and volunteers to help me out with this particular event,” Kristina says.

“It’s wonderful to see Canberra is being so supportive of the Choosing Hope Walk and it’s lovely to see people are already inquiring and registering for this event.”

Canberra’s Choosing Hope Walk will be held at John Knight Memorial Park, Belconnen, on Sunday, 15 October, from 1:30 pm to 4 pm. Tickets are available here.

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