Every journey has a beginning. Ours started in Germany, with a text message sent between two sisters, Annika and Larissa Reinboth.
At that time a midwife in training and having recently experienced her first stillbirth, Annika was upset. She felt strongly that the bereavement care services with respect to offering parents worthy visual keepsakes of their babies were systemically lacking.
Yes, there were wonderful angel baby photographers who did outstanding and important work. But not all parents had access to their services. Those that didn't received photographs taken by hospital staff, or took their own. These photos were often unfit to serve as the cherished memento they were intended to be.
Annika suggested that Larissa draw angel baby portraits. She made the case that these could be more appropriate than photographs in several situations. The sisters started their project as a for-profit model in Germany, to sound out feedback and see whether there was a need for the service.
The unanimous answer was, yes! So when Larissa moved to Melbourne in 2020 with her Aussie husband and their daughter, she wanted to start off in her new home on another foot. The portrait service was to be free for parents, as she felt strongly it should be. She particularly loved one of the many nicknames Australians give their children - possum. Thus, Possum Portraits was born.
You don't recognise a parent
by the children you can see,
but by the children they hold
in their heart.
Every day in Australia, 6 babies are stillborn. 2 more die as a result of neonatal complications. In our affluent, resourceful society, a miscarriage still occurs every 3,5 minutes.
Our mission is to ensure that every parent has access to a keepsake of their child which manages to support and comfort them on their grief journey.
For some loss parents, this keepsake is a beautiful photograph, a lock of hair, or a piece of custom jewellery.
But if parents have none of these, or if the mementos they do possess aren't up to the task, we are here to offer a bespoke bereavement care service free of charge.
Because parents have real input into the design of their baby's portrait, the resulting artwork commemorates their child in just the way they wish to remember it.
Possum Portraits is a Charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. We strive to help alleviate the pain and loss felt by bereaved parents upon loosing their baby. To achieve this goal, our efforts include
advocating on behalf of loss parents to receive more comprehensive follow-up care (i.e. parental leave following a loss, post-partum care for mothers, etc.)
working with other institutions in the perinatal care sector to raise awareness of baby loss
educating the public on pregnancy loss and how to talk to the bereaved in a supportive, inclusive manner
We hope to help engender a culture in which pregnancy and baby loss is less socially stigmatised. A more inclusive, educated society can better support loss parents in their recovery and be part of the solution, not the problem.
We warmly invite you to embark on this journey with us.
Board of Directors
Making sure we keep on top of all our regulatory obligations is Cameron. A town planner with a decade of experience in local and state government, Cam is a man with a big smile and an even bigger heart.
Midwife, member of the LGBTQIA+ community & sister to Larissa, Jascha is our eyes & ears for
implementing referral networks with hospitals and designing content for our compassionate perinatal bereavement care courses.
A professional iIllustrator and artist by trade, Larissa is Possum Portraits' key founding member
and draws many of our portraits herself. She feels strongly about creating meaningful, original artworks for bereaved parents.
As Head of Trading in his day job, Duncan is our money man by night. Things most people like to avoid - budgets, acquittals, financial reports and forecasts - are things Duncan eats for breakfast.
Gemma de Plater
Gemma is a Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs Consultant and a woman of many talents. One of them is coming up with ingenious ideas for raising funds with Possum Portraits!