Parents praise mum’s viral school photo
A mother has shared a heartbreaking picture of the day her daughter would have started school.
Joelle Skinner was 41 weeks pregnant with her little girl Zayli died in December 2013 when she went into labour.
To her shock and disbelief, doctors told her they couldn't find a heartbeat. The grieving mother-of-six told news.com.au that she never expected anything to go wrong, that it was her healthiest pregnancy.
"I just went into labour as normal at home but when I went to the hospital, they couldn't find a heartbeat and I had no idea anything was wrong.
"It's still hard now to come to terms with it," Ms Skinner said.
In honour of her late daughter, the Queensland mum took a poignant photograph on what should have been Zayli's first day of school.
In the photo were her four other children Isi, 13, Eden, 11, Jyrah 10 and Amali, 7, all dressed up in uniform, standing next to a hat gently placed on the ground next to Amali - which is where Zayli would have been standing as a five-year-old Kindergarten student if she'd survived.
"I just felt I had to do it. Usually we take a back to school photos and she would have been in the photo this time and it felt wrong not to include her," the grieving mother told news.com.au
"We happened to have a spare hat the kids took home by mistake last year, so I just grabbed it and placed it where she would have been standing.
She said the kids, who always talk about their little sister, had no idea what she was doing.
"Then when I told them, they loved the idea. It was perfect, she is part of our life."
It was when Mrs Skinner dropped off her children at school that the grief had escalated for the young mother.
"I was trying not to look at the other prep kids but it was really hard. When I got home I tried to keep my mind off it but I can't help but imagine her standing with the other kids."
She while it is never easy, she has been able to find solace by sharing her words via her Facebook page Jedi Mum Tricks - a DIY page on making toys.
"I don't feel brave or anything, we were just doing what we can to keep her part of our life," Mrs Skinner told news.com.au.
In December 2013, the mother was rushed to hospital where she was told her unborn baby daughter had suffered SIDS - a sudden infant death syndrome.
She gave birth to her stillborn daughter Zayli.
Not a day goes by where the Skinners don't think about their daughter and sister.
"It was like the ground was removed from beneath me and I began free falling, I still feel like I'm in free fall now. Nothing will ever be the same."
As the school term returned on January 29, the mother said she wanted to take a snapshot of her children standing next to a hat in memory of little Zayli.
She shared her powerful words online, in the hopes it would help other parents in a similar situation.
"I just really hope her life was not in vein and she will have a legacy that will help other people and people who haven't gone through something like this to understand the pain.
"To be able to talk about our kids and not have them forgotten."
She said he's been told often that her posts have helped others process their own grief and give them permission to talk about it too.
"I love my baby girl Zayli with all my heart and will speak of her whenever I get the chance."
Other parents who have been affected by the image have supported the mum, praising the touching photograph online and sharing their own stories of experiencing stillbirth.
"My heart is with you Joelle," one mum wrote.
Another said: "I know what you are feeling, it would have been our Xavier's first day at prep today."