Nicola Brander

There’s no time limit on grief, says mum

ONE of the hardest days of Jessica Downes' life was when she found out her yet-to-be-born baby girl, Isabella, had the fatal condition, Anencephaly.

This meant she had a major portion of her brain, skull and scalp missing, which occurred during embryonic development.

Mrs Downes, 23, and her husband Lachlan made the heartbreaking decision to deliver at 20 weeks.

The student nurse said her medical background helped her through the loss of her daughter and because she was born at 20 weeks, having the State Government recognise her life, helped too.

"There is a stigma around miscarriages and stillborns," the Beerwah woman said.

"It is because people don't talk about it and that keeps it taboo.

"People need to just listen and acknowledge there was a life."

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On September 26, Isabella would be celebrating her first birthday if she was still alive and the Downes plan to celebrate her on this day.

"You have your good days and your bad days," she said.

"There is no time limit for grief."

Mrs Downes, who is now 16 weeks pregnant with her "rainbow baby", said mothers in similar situations needed to be lenient on themselves and to not put a time limit on how long they grieve for.

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