pregnancy

Grieving mother refused refund on baby items after her baby was stillborn.

A Melbourne mother whose baby was stillborn has spoken out about baby retailers who refused to refund a cot and unused gift voucher.

Belinda Ainle birthed her stillborn son on Easter Sunday of this year, at 38 weeks. She was then left with the painful task of returning a number of baby items to stores.

Despite her appeals for a refund on compassionate grounds, the shop in question refused to waive their store policy. They only provided a partial refund for a cot and accessories, valued at $611, given that they were not in their original packaging. She was also unable to refund a $100 gift voucher.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Ainley recalled; “There was no compassion from the people that work in industries that are supposed to be all about babies.

“You’re left feeling like you not only don’t have your baby, but that you don’t count because everybody feels too awkward to talk about it and so nothing happens.”‘

"There was no compassion from the people that work in industries that are supposed to be all about babies." Image via iStock. 

In the weeks following, Ms Ainley and her husband spent thousands of dollars in funeral costs and medical tests, desperately trying to find the cause of death. But returning the unused items were not just about the financial burden the family was suffering. She explained "It's also a question of, 'What do we do with a car seat when we don't have a baby?' "

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Ms Ainley described more broadly the taboo that remains around stillbirths. Tasks such as being discharged from hospital and accessing government assistance only served to compound the trauma.

She struggled with Centrelink following the stillbirth, after attempting to apply for bereavement payments. Ms Ainley was told that if she wanted access to support, she would need to go into the office. Only weeks after losing her son, this was something the grieving mother felt she could do.

As time has passed, Ms Ainley's sister-in-law suggested that she sell the cot on a private buy-and-sell group on Facebook. Only this week, a member of the group, unknown to Ainley, has started a crowdfunding campaign on her behalf. At the time of publication, $1860 has been pledged.

A crowdfunding campaign has been started in Ash's name. Image via Go Fund me. 

Overwhelmed by the response, Ms Ainley says the cot will be donated to St Kilda Mums, and the money will be donated the stillbirth charity SANDS and Heartfelt, which provides volunteer photographers to families who have lost children.

If you need help, information or you'd like support for stillbirth, miscarriage and neonatal death, call SANDS 1300 072 637.

You can contribute to 'Ash's Gift' here

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