Manaaki Mats are a deathcare resource that helps keep a baby cool and slow down natural changes after death. Parents are able to hold and take their baby home after a stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death.
It is wrong to think that after a mother loses a baby that she just needs to move on and that it won’t be helpful to spend time with their baby. Lois Tonkin who was a leading grief expert and author of Still Life acknowledged that before the 1980s stillborn babies were rarely treated with respect. Doctors, nurses, family, and friends all maintained a conspiracy of silence around the mother while the baby’s existence was seldom acknowledged. There were many mothers who experienced their babies being treated as rubbish, some even wrapped in newspaper and thrown out.
In 2022 the experience of baby loss continues to evolve for the better, now parents can be given the opportunity to take their baby home, spend time before burial or cremation with the use of Manaaki Mats. ‘Manaaki’ a Māori word, means to care for.
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