Why my baby died

Why my baby died: A graphic narrative

What was this project about?

The death of a baby during pregnancy, at or soon after birth (perinatal death) is devastating for parents, families and staff involved. While pregnancy loss is a ‘common’ outcome of pregnancy, it remains a neglected area of research and resourcing, and steeped in stigma.

To challenge this stigma around pregnancy loss, and bridge the gap between what we know from research and what happens in policy and practice, we strive to disseminate our research in creative ways, with a wide audience.

We commissioned Amy Lauren, an illustrator who works in coloured pencils, broad colour palettes and storytelling, to work with us on our first graphic medicine project: “Why my baby died”.

For us, illustrating the research in this way, provides important, actionable insights – to clinicians, policymakers and other knowledge users – into what is needed to promote better communication, awareness, and prevention of future deaths where possible. Available in electronic and hardcopy formats, we are actively disseminating "Why my baby died" to targeted audiences, including as part of education and training programmes for health professionals

“Why my baby died" is based on the research study “Bereaved parents’ involvement in maternity hospital perinatal death review processes: 'Nobody even thought to ask us anything” by Dr Änne Helps, Professor Keelin O'Donoghue, Orla O'Connell and Dr Sara Leitao.

What was involved?

Involving bereaved parents in their baby’s care and in the maternity hospital reviews that take place after a baby’s death can help parents manage their bereavement and plan for the future. In Ireland, bereaved parents generally have not been involved in this review process. In 2021, we interviewed 20 bereaved parents, about their experience and views, to investigate how they could be involved in maternity hospital perinatal death reviews in ways that benefit them and the review process itself. This graphic narrative – “Why my baby died” – tells their story, in their own words.

Who was involved?

Project team

Name Affiliation Role
Professor Keelin O'Donoghue  Pregnancy Loss Research Group  Lead 
Marita Hennessy PhD Pregnancy Loss Research Group Collaborator 
Dr Änne Helps Pregnancy Loss Research Group Collaborator
Amy Lauren Amy Lauren Illustration Collaborator
Dr Sara Leitao National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, UCC; Pregnancy Loss Research Group Collaborator
Dr Daniel Nuzum Pregnancy Loss Research Group Collaborator


We thank the parents who participated in this study, whose words form the basis of this graphic narrative.

Copyrighted illustrations by Amy Lauren. Book design by Amy Lauren.

Dissemination activities

Invited talks

  • Hennessy M, Helps Ä, Lauren A, Leitao S, Nuzum D, O'Donoghue K. Why My Baby Died. Irish Hospice Foundation Arts and Creative Engagement Roundtable Gathering. Dublin, 15 June 2023.

Press releases


  • “Why my baby died” was first exhibited at The Glucksman, University College Cork in May 2023.

Irish Hospice Foundation website

Exhibition, The Glucksman, May 2023

Project status

Completed: November 2022 to May 2023

For support

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this graphic narrative, you can find details of information and supports at www.pregnancyandinfantloss.ie.

Further information

Please email Marita Hennessy PhDmaritahennessy@ucc.ie


Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,