A story of grief and healing: Efrem and Blandina

Efrem-Blandina.jpg

After Efrem and Blandina made the difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy, they turned to writing their story to heal themselves and help others.

At first, Efrem and Blandina’s only concern with their pregnancy was getting back to Australia safely after finding out they were pregnant overseas.

They checked in with a doctor who told them that they’d be fine to return home. He asked to keep in touch.

Over the coming weeks, like any new parents, Efrem and Blandina started imagining their new exciting future.

But, things took a sharp turn after their standard 13-week ultrasound.

Their little one, who they had nicknamed 4.3 after a funny misunderstanding in an earlier check-up, had a neural tube defect.

This condition was incompatible with life – meaning either their much-loved baby would be stillborn, or have a very short and painful life.

They made the painful decision to terminate their pregnancy out of their deep love for their baby’s wellbeing.

While we often understand grief as a result of stillbirth or during childhood, we don’t often talk about or hear about the grief felt by many other parents.

Termination of pregnancy and miscarriage brings all of the same feelings of loss and devastation, as parents grieve for a baby they never had a chance to meet, and for a life they never had the chance to love.

Red Nose supports many different types of families who have experienced many different types of loss.

To help cope with their grief, Efrem and Blandina have turned their story in a book of hope and healing.

Not only did they find this therapeutic, they also hope it will help other parents who have to make one of the most difficult decisions a parent can face.

Their story is available now as a download from the Red Nose Grief and Loss Support Library.

Below is a brief excerpt from the story:

The sweetest news you can receive when you are trying to have a baby is ... your wife is pregnant! In early August 2018, during a trip to Los Angeles, a pregnancy test revealed that we were expecting a baby. We celebrated this news with lots of hugs and kisses and a great dinner in the Venice beach area.

The worst news you can get if you are already thinking you will become a parent is that you will not. On October 22, a 13‐week ultrasound revealed a terrible truth: our baby was affected by anencephaly, a neural tube defect that implies stillbirth or, more rarely, a very short life after delivery. Sadly, most people decide to interrupt the pregnancy. We did too. This account describes the moments we lived between receiving the news about our baby’s defect and the interruption of the pregnancy.

There are many reasons why we decided to write about those days. First, it is therapeutic. My brother Gianluca, who is a psychologist, told us that expressing our feelings was crucial for us to return to a normal life. We did so by talking to a number of friends who stepped in during those days and helped us in many ways. We also decided to appeal to expressive writing, a form of expression of one’s feelings that has been shown to lead to emotional and physical benefits. This book is the outcome.


Red Nose offers support and counselling to families that have had to terminate their pregnancies. Call our 24/7 Support Line on 1300 308 307 to speak to someone today.


Last reviewed: 30/6/20