How Olympian Brooke Hanson coped with losing her premature baby
"He is a part of our family forever”
By Sarah Carson and Jenny Ky
October 27 2019
Golden girl of the pool Brooke Hanson is one of Australia’s most recognised athletes.
Having broken Australian and world records, the swimming champion represented her country over 25 times, taking home both gold and silver at the Olympic Games.
In 2011, Brooke and her husband Jared welcomes a new addition to their family.
The couple’s second child, Jack, was born 12 weeks premature, and sadly, after a nine-month battle in the neo-natal unit, they were forced to say their farewells when Jack passed away.
“I really didn’t even know if I was going to survive, let alone him”, Hason said.
“And it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life when they said the blood flows and the placenta were reversing and it might kill me and I might kill the baby.
“They had to get Jack out as quickly as possible. He was born at 28 weeks and five days, and he only weighed 663 grams.
“I guess now, every time I go and get 500 grams of butter out of the fridge, I think, my premmie baby only weight that much just after he was born”
Coping with the grief
“The more that I’ve shared it, the more people have come forward,” Hanson said.
“It’s been rewarding and empowering for me as a mum and also my husband as well, for both of us to talk about it
“The research has been done by the Murdoch Institute and 50 percent of couples end up with depression - and a lot of couples divorce.
“So it was a priority for us to make Jack a huge memory in our life, and to really fight through those tough days together.
“I remember waking up in tears one morning, just wanting that final hug. You hold that precious soul for his last breath and you really just want to make sure that for the rest of your life you are making a difference.
There are so many mums and dads who have come forward to say thank you, Brooke - we are now sharing our story as well.
“He is a part of our family forever. I always say I have four children - I have three with me, and I have a beautiful angel who guides us through.”
Keeping her son’s spirit and legacy alive, Brooke continues to bring awareness and support for the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
And the support was crucial for Brooke and her family through their experience.
“Jack lived for nine months in intensive care, and during that tie I found this special foundation, Life’s Little Treasures, and they took care of myself and my family during that time to give us the support that we needed,” Hanson said.
“I know my heart will always have that scar, but it’s nice to know that there’s support around me and Jack will always be with me.”