The Blokes

Behind The Beards

Robert Cornthwaite


Growing in honor of Minnie
Full name:
Robert Cornthwaite
Beard name:
Last time you shaved:
31st May 2016
Favourite beard style:
Favourite beard in history:
Father Christmas

My wife Nel, 22 weeks pregnant with our 2nd daughter had been feeling off 48 hours earlier but we would have never imagined it was the early signs of premature labour.

After being told there was nothing to stop the labour and that our baby girl Minnie would be born at just 22 weeks was devastating news. We were living in Malaysia and although we were at one of their top hospitals, there was nothing the doctors could do.

I remember calling my dad in Australia and breaking down on the phone. I sat in my car at the side of the road in a foreign country and knew I had to be strong for my wife.

Although Minnie never took a breath we were able to hold her and talk to her. We told her how much she was loved and how blessed we were to have her as our baby. She was tiny, fragile and so precious. I'll never forget the time we shared.

Men are often the silent sufferers in pregnancy and infant loss. I know a year in I still struggle with the loss and think about her everyday.

Hopefully with the money I raise we can help support men across Australia with the healing process. Whether it's counselling or just having a beer with men who have suffered with similar loss. Your support is greatly appreciated by me and would go along way in helping men suffering in silence all over Australia.

After becoming involved with the Beards of Hope campaign in 2017 and helping to raise money and awareness for such a wonderful organisation, I realised the the awareness side was where my real strength lies. I have had my personal story run in many publications including The Australian national newspaper, Foxsports football and many other football related publications. The story also ran on Channel 7 Sunrise which aired in July 2017.

The amount of men who reached out to me and shared their own stories over these few months not only surprised me but also humbled me. My message was able to reach out and help so many people and that's what the organisation Bears of Hope is all about. Along the way it help me heal and helped me deal with my own issues I still had surrounding the loss of my daughter.

Title: Two Years

Life is a roller coaster. It’s made up of moments. Some make you laugh and some make you cry and just when you think you can’t go on something beautiful happens.

Almost two years to the day after we lost our daughter Minnie, who was born at just 23 weeks, we were blessed with our 3rd child a beautiful health boy, Bodhi. Weighing 4.7kgs and 60cm long, he has already made an impact on my life.

We appreciate how lucky we are to have had such a smooth pregnancy and labour. After losing Minnie two years earlier a lot of people expected me to feel anxious, especially around the 23 week mark. I can honestly say the over riding feeling was excitement and I couldn’t wait for Bodhi to arrive. What this showed me is there is no right or wrong way to feel and everyone will have a different experience but there is always hope.

Over the last 2 years my thoughts and feelings have changed so much. I carried a lot of sadness and disappointment for a while but I know that opening up and sharing my story during the 2017 Beards of Hope campaign no doubt helped. I no longer think about the things that haunted me like her early arrival or her cremation. Instead I remember all the beautiful things about her and spending moments together which will always have a special place in my heart. She once came to me in a dream a while ago as a little girl. I often wonder what her personality would have been like, whether she would have been a girly girl or a tom boy or had her own style. As hard as it is to not have her with us, it has become easier and we talk about her often, she’s always in my thoughts.

What’s changed now? Firstly all the sleepless nights and nappy changes are back. And although it is easy to feel tired and complain there’s one overriding thought I’ve lived my life by this last 4 weeks. GRATITUDE. It doesn’t matter what happens or how hard things get the struggle ends when gratitude begins.