VIlohmah Community members

Empowering the Vilomah Community

With a shared ethos of community empowerment and compassion, Regional Australia Banks have forged a meaningful partnership with The Vilomah Community, recognising the invaluable work they do in offering comfort, resources, and understanding to those affected by the heartbreaking loss through stillbirth.

In an exclusive interview with the founders of The Vilomah Community, Megan Gaffney & Bek Baker, we delve into their inspiring journey, the vital role of support networks in times of adversity, and the transformative impact of collaborative efforts in fostering healing and resilience within The Vilomah Community.

Where did The Vilomah Community begin?

In 2019, Bek went through the heartbreaking loss of daughter, Mia, and reached out for support. Megan quickly realised that in the time between the loss of her own daughter, Ruby in 2010, to Mia's passing in 2019, not much had changed in terms of support for women dealing with pregnancy loss.

The gap seemed even wider. As we talked to other families, it was obvious that everyone in our local area was struggling with the same lack of guidance on how to grieve, what resources were available, and how to move forward.

One day, we were chatting and realised how much we wished there was something out there to help these women and families. That's when the idea of creating a community focused on this issue was born.

Since creating The Vilomah Community we have supported over 35 families from not only Wagga but Leeton, Narrandera, Forbes, Trundle, Murrumbateman, & surrounds.

How did you come up with the name for your organisation?

We were looking for a name that truly captured the essence of our mission and identity. After much consideration, we came across the word Vilomah, which means “against the natural order” & we felt that it perfectly embodies the idea that a parent should never have to bury their child. In fact, a parent who has lost a child is known as a 'Vilomah'.

VIlomah Community Logo in colour pink


How long has the community group been running and where does your passion come from?

The Vilomah Community was established in 2021. We are passionate about supporting bereaved parents because we have been in their shoes. We understand the pain of having our world shattered and having to break the news to our loved ones that our baby has passed away. We know the struggle of trying to hold onto precious memories while navigating through the grief. We have experienced the ups and downs of emotions firsthand, and we want to provide the support that we didn't have when we lost our own babies.

What have some been the highlights over the years?

We have had some wonderful highlights since commencing The Vilomah Community. The feedback from midwives, social workers & other professionals on how much our service is needed & the difference it makes is very humbling.

Seeing the local community come together to support these women and families is truly also breathtaking. We are so lucky to live in such a supportive community.

And then of course the feedback from families - there are no words to describe the feeling when families send notes of thanks or share with others about the support they have received. It means that what we set out to achieve is working & that families are getting what they need in terms of support following a stillbirth.

What are your services?

The support we provide includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Hospital visits: We visit families in hospitals upon the birth of their baby, offering emotional support and assistance with tough decisions such as autopsy arrangements and choosing funeral homes.
  • Memory Making Assistance: We help families create lasting memories by organising Heartfelt Photography sessions as well as hand craft castings of baby’s hands and feet (We have both been trained to do this), enabling families to cherish long lasting memories.
  • Financial Aid: We provide financial assistance for the baby’s funeral, urn or other mementos to alleviate the financial burden during this difficult time.
  • Care Packs: We offer families care packs filled with keepsakes and essentials to provide comfort during their hospital stay.
  • Ongoing Support: We support families throughout the first twelve months following the birth of their baby, offering regular check-ins via phone or in person as well as gifts for significant occasions like birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and anniversaries.
  • Counselling Support: We finance ten counselling sessions for families to help them navigate the grieving process and cope with their loss.
  • Dad’s Support Group: We provide a dedicated support group for fathers to connect with others who understand their experience and share coping strategies.
  • Regular Dinners: We organise regular dinners where families can gather, share their stories, and find comfort in connecting with others who have faced similar experiences.


Vilohmah Community members

Do you work with any other organisations outside of your own?

We have a fantastic relationship with so many services who all come together to support bereaved families in some way. Some of these services include The Pink Elephants Support Network (support for families who experience a miscarriage), counsellors, doctors / obstetricians, midwives & local support services we can refer to. It's great to be able to have such a large pool of resources to reach out to, to ensure all families needs are met.

What are the biggest issues for running a community group like this?

The biggest challenge we face when running The Vilomah Community is working tirelessly to ensure we have the latest up to date information on the supports available, every family's situation is different. We personalise our programme to each family's individual needs. As well as ensuring we have a constant flow of funds to allow us to support these families. We rely on community support and fundraising to be able to offer all of this support.

We both work full time and have busy families so this is all done around the craziness of our everyday lives, but we wouldn't have it any other way! One day we would love to be able to do this as our paid job & expand our programme across the country.

Where are you looking to take the organisation in the next few years?

We would love to expand our services further across the country to ensure that every family who experiences a stillbirth is supported.

This would expand our team of volunteers & ensure that the services we provide in Wagga are replicated across other towns / cities.

6 babies are stillborn every day within Australia so our programme is certainly needed.

How can people get involved and show their support?

Following us on social media, telling people about The Vilomah Community. Joining in our events & donating funds to support our families.

We believe one important message is that you don't need to have personally gone through pregnancy and infant loss to be a part of our community. You can join us because you know someone who has been affected

How does Regional Australia Bank help assist your community group in achieving your goals?

We are so grateful to have met the incredible management and staff at Regional Australia Bank. The support we receive from them allows us to continue the much needed work we do to ensure that no-one walks the journey of pregnancy & infant loss alone.

Signing up with the Community Partnership Program has also allowed us to share our message to an even greater audience.

Thank you so much Regional Australia Bank, we look forward to continuing our relationship with you!