A mum speaks of her baby's death as part of a to-be monthly talk in Taranaki
It's taken Kylie Hancock 14 years to speak publicly of the baby she lost to sudden infant death syndrome.
"I felt in my heart I needed to share my story," she said, with a tissue in hand. "And if I can give them [mothers] a little something to help them with their healing journey, then what I'm doing is worth it."
Hancock is the first featured speaker in a monthly series of talks to be held in Taranaki, which will offer mums a platform in a like-minded community.
"I'm still learning how to grieve. It's about learning to live with grief."
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Baby Aysha was born January 30, 2003.
"She couldn't quite giggle yet, but you could easily make her smile," Hancock recalled of her baby's chubby cheeks and squint-eyed grin.
But 11 weeks later, on April 18, Hancock found her child had stopped breathing.
"Of all days, it was a Good Friday. I was 21 when she passed. I felt like a baby still, myself."
And five months later, her partner took his own life.
"I shut it out like a bad dream. People tell me I'm brave but, it doesn't feel that way."
Throughout the years, she said the hardest part was the milestones: what Aysha be like as a 14-year-old, how her first day of high school would be, or who would be her first best friend.
"I guess a lot of people were afraid to talk to me and reach out to me because they didn't know what to say. I now know what to say and that is you just need breath."
During the last year, Hancock has been spent time accepting her grief.
"They say time heals but to me, time gives you that room to find comfort or to find yourself."
And she's started to tell her two sons, 5-year-old Harland and 22-month-old Axton, of their older sister.
"I tell Harland he has a sister that lives in mummy's heart."
Next Tuesday, Hancock will speak of her experiences to other mums.
"It's for women looking to reignite the fire in their heart, founder Anne Cullen said of the event.
Cullen, owner of The Nurture Centre in New Plymouth, initiated the series of talks after a one-off event in October, Be Fit, Be Beautiful, Be You, proved there was a need.
Tuesday's talk will be held at the Fitzroy Hall at 6.30pm and costs $20.
"I'm more nervous about, am I going to just stand there and cry or am I going to get the words out?" Hancock wondered.
"I need to remember that the reason why they're there is the reason I'm there, too."