All Black Luke Romano and his wife have broken their silence on losing a child in stillbirth two years ago.
Romano and wife Hannah spoke to TVNZ about the moment they lost their son Felix in 2016.
Hannah was 37 weeks pregnant when she attended a regular appointment with the obstetrician and found the baby had no heartbeat.
Romano was in Chicago with the All Blacks preparing to play Ireland and immediately departed for New Zealand when he found out.
The pair have now decided to share their story to break the silence around the issue.
In New Zealand, one out of 10 Kiwi women will experience a miscarriage in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy – while after 21 weeks, one in every 200 pregnancies ends in stillbirth.
Romano told TVNZ it was time those numbers were heard.
“You realise how often it does happen but it never gets talked about.
“Sometimes all the grieving party wants to do is talk about it but [people] are too scared to approach it,” he said.
Hannah said while stillbirth could be a difficult subject, silence wasn‘t the answer.
“Some friends didn‘t say a word,” she told TVNZ.
“Because a child is unborn and you didn‘t know them it‘s harder to say, ‘I‘m sorry‘, but for us saying nothing is the worst.
“The more you talk about it, the easier it is for us to heal as well.”
The couple have since given birth to their second son Cooper.
“It‘s ok to talk about Cooper and about Felix. We have two sons,” Hannah said.
“He is our son, he‘s just not here.”
The couple told TVNZ they had received support from Romano‘s teammates in the All Blacks and Crusaders.
During the All Blacks game against Ireland at the time, the team wore black arm bands in support of the couple – but no one outside the squad knew the reason for them until now.