Reaching out to our grieving local mums


A Wakatipu mother who blames her unborn child’s death on Queenstown’s under-pressure public health system wants to help women in similar situations. 

Natasha Murray, who lost her first baby Sinead while seven months’ pregnant in 2006, is driving a local branch of Stillbirth and Newborn Death Support (SANDS). 

She’s holding meetings every second month for affected women to get together to talk and is organising regular coffee groups. 

Fellow Queenstown mum Amanda Elliot, who also lost her first child at birth, is helping out with the project.
“I thought it was important for women to know that they’re not the only ones – because sometimes that’s what it feels like,” Murray says. 

“[SANDS] supports anyone who is grieving, no matter the reason their baby died and the age or gestation of the baby.” 

Murray is unsure of how many women in the Wakatipu have suffered miscarriages or stillbirths because local SANDS support has been limited till recently. 

“They say miscarriages happen to one in three women [nationally],” she says. 

“When I first lost my baby there wasn’t any support in Queenstown so I just didn’t bother doing anything about it.
“From my experience of talking to different people nobody knew of anybody I could talk to so I personally chose counselling, because that’s all I had.” 

In April 2006, Murray discovered she had an acute case of placental abruption – where the baby doesn’t get oxygen or nutrients. She had to wait for four hours at Lakes District Hospital for a chopper to rush her to Dunedin’s hospital. 

Sinead’s heartbeat went into foetal demise after Murray arrived in Dunedin and the baby died in the womb soon after. 

The grieving mum shared her story with Mountain Scene last August as part of a campaign calling for better services at LDH. 

Now busy with 11-month-old twin boys – born in Dunedin – Murray is keen to help others because “it’s an important part of the healing process”. 

SANDS meets next Wednesday at the Salvation Army on Camp Street, from 7.30pm.