The death of a baby is something that hits all of us in a place deep in our hearts.

A stillbirth – when a baby dies while still inside its mother, anytime from 20 weeks up until birth – is something even more difficult to contemplate. For most people, including me – about to give birth and availed of more information than I ever thought possible – the concept of stillbirth belonged in another era, long ago. My own grandmother had a number of stillborn babies. I cannot imagine the grief she experienced and the courage it took to continue trying for a child. I thought, however, that stillbirth was something that people of her generation and before suffered; not people of my parents’ time, let alone mine. Right?

Wrong. Each day in Australia, six babies are stillborn. To put it in context, there are more stillbirths than deaths from skin cancer, and some thirty times more stillbirths than deaths from SIDs. And yet we don’t talk about it; stillbirth is taboo.

Which is what makes Sally and Simon Heppleston remarkable. On August 19, 2008, the couple lost their first child, Hope Angel Heppleston, at 40 weeks and five days after a healthy pregnancy. Four years on, Sally and Simon have been blessed with two more children, but of course can never fully recover from the loss of their little girl. But they are out there, bravely talking about Hope and the issue of stillbirth via an inspiring and beautiful campaign, Fairy Tales for Hope.

The campaign was initiated by Sally’s friend, the talented Melbourne artist Tonia Composto, who decided to honour Hope’s memory by creating one illustration inspired by a popular fairy tale, each day for the month of August. Thirty-one days meant thirty-one illustrations. I can’t imagine the work that went into creating these unique and uplifting works, but the results speak for themselves.

Little Red Riding Hood

Thumbelina

The limited-edition prints are being sold to raise funds for the Stillbirth Foundation. Individual prints are A$20 (plus $12 P&H in Australia; $16 P&H for international orders), or you can buy the entire series of 31 prints for A$500. You can find out more about stillbirth and buy the prints via the Stillbirth Foundation of Australia website. You can keep track of updates on the campaign and hear inspiring stories from Sally, Tonia and their supporters via their wonderful Facebook page.

The Pied Piper

*Images courtesy of Fairy Tales for Hope

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4 Responses to “Fairy Tales for Hope: remembering our lost babies with uplifting illustrations”

  1. Sally says:

    This is a beautiful piece of writing, and I’m so touched you are inspired by our project. Must have taken a lot of courage for you to write this, so close to giving birth yourself.
    Thank you, and of course heartfelt congratulations as well. I’m a friend of Rachel’s and she has shared your news.
    xo

    • The Bulb says:

      Thanks so much Sally. We applaud your courage and strength and know that other people will be touched by your experience and also the positivity in Fairy Tales for Hope. We will be stocking up on prints for Baby Bulbette’s room! We wish you and Simon s joyful future and know that your and Tonia’s work will help to raise awareness and understanding of stillbirth and hopefully, contribute to reducing these tragic events. Lots of love, the Bulbettes xx

  2. Tonia says:

    Your words made me tear up thank you so much for talking about Fairy tales for Hope on your blog. Big big congratulations on your new baby

    Tonia xx

    • The Bulb says:

      Thanks so much for reading Tonia. Your work is truly fantastic and reminds us of what is possible with a little love and labour. We are sure the campaign will continue to be a huge success. Lots of love, The Bulb

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