Caring

Basmah Qazi

“Never been the same since”: Labor’s Kristina Keneally breaks down over stillborn daughter

“Never been the same since”: Labor’s Kristina Keneally breaks down over stillborn daughter

A federal Labor senator has had an emotional breakdown as she revealed the tragic details of losing her newborn baby girl.

Kristina Keneally’s daughter Caroline was a stillborn 20 years ago, with the politician saying the incident changed her family forever.

Despite two decades passing, time hasn’t healed the immense pain the former NSW Premier feels as she teared up in a candid interview while recalling the devastating moment.

“We had a funeral for her and buried her. And those days when you’re in the hospital, and you get to hold your child, but you know that you’ll never see her again,” the mother-of-three told Nine News.

“The thing that I struggle to come to grips with, is how going into pregnancy, I didn’t understand how often still birth occurs in Australia.”

Senator Keneally also penned a heartfelt article for the Sydney Morning Herald, speaking about her loss.

“Her birth and death cleaved my life into before and after. The trauma, grief, sorrow and pain debilitated me for a time. Our family has never been the same. There is always a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter who is missing,” she wrote.

“In the 20 years since I gave birth to Caroline, I have gone through guilt and grief, sorrow and depression, and often anger.”

At the time, Keneally and her husband Ben’s eldest child Daniel was only 14-months-old. The couple were later blessed with a third child, Brendan.

Australia’s figures for stillbirth is alarming, with close to 2,200 babies being affected each year.

According to Stillbirth Foundation Australia, the reason for death is unknown in 40 per cent of cases.

“For 20 years, Australia has paid almost no attention to this private tragedy that occurs on a significant scale,” she wrote.

“We did not speak of this personal grief that thousands of Australian families experience each year. We did not ask why it happens, or if we could prevent it.”

Now, the senator has dedicated her time to raising awareness for stillbirth, as she fights for improved research and education.