This dad pushed an empty stroller during a race in honor of his stillborn son

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While expecting a baby is typically a joyous occasion, sometimes tragedy strikes. Australian triathlete Troy Austin lost his son at 27 weeks back in 2016, and to celebrate the fact that he was loved, Austin pushed an empty stroller during a marathon to honor him. Not only is this gesture heartbreakingly beautiful, but it proves that his son — named T.G. — will always be acknowledged.

A stillbirth happens after a baby fails to survive after the 20-week mark. Before that, it’s known as a miscarriage. According to the March of Dimes, Americans see roughly 23,600 stillbirths a year. That’s about 1 in every 160 pregnancies. So it’s scary, but also more common than you may think.

In Austin’s post, which addressed the stroller, he mentioned how he got a lot of comments from people confused about the tribute.

"Hey mate you have lost your kid" This phrase was a double edged sword, a sentence that was said so innocently at last...

Posted by Troy Austin on Saturday, August 26, 2017

In fact, Austin noted that people were quick to make jokes about it, and comment about how he “lost his kid” during the race. For Austin, those words carried a lot more hurt than intended.

“Sometimes I could explain why the pram was empty….other times we smiled and moved on,” he wrote.
“No, you can’t sit in and get a ride, no I am not picking my kid up on the last lap (wish I could).”
Posted by Brett Doss on Thursday, August 24, 2017

T.G. would have been a year and a half had he been able to attend the race. And even though it was an awkward topic for Austin, he managed to see it in an extremely positive way.

“100+ people [recognized] I had lost my son last weekend, even if they didn’t [realize] it,” he wrote.

Austin’s story is definitely sweet. Not only was the empty stroller a thoughtful gesture, but it was a powerful one that helped opened up the painful, but very real conversation about stillbirths and miscarriage.

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