In Memory of Chloe and Olivia

As many grieving parents know, the journey after our losses is full of milestones such as anniversaries that are painful and emotional to live through. We all have our own ways to cope with these days but many of us have the same thought – we want to honour and remember our babies in a meaningful way.

That was parents Andrea and Jonathon’s thought as well whose precious twin girls Chloe and Olivia died almost a year ago.

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As the first anniversary of their passing approaches, they wanted to do something special to commemorate the day. The idea for a high tea fundraiser was born. ‘We wanted something where people come together socially, can enjoy themselves and we can raise funds for Sands at the same time’, mum Andrea explains. Organising the event has helped her to keep a positive focus and to keep her grief a little at bay as the emotional anniversary approaches. Andrea and Jonathon describe the last year as their hardest ever and are very grateful for the support they received from Sands. ‘They were there, connected me to support groups that I can’t live without and other services’, Andrea says. For the help they received, they would like to give something back with their fundraiser.

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The High Tea Fundraiser will take place on Sunday, July 9, at 12pm at the RACV Royal Pines Resort. The event is not to be missed. Besides a scrumptious high tea, there also will be a lucky door prize and a raffle to be won. A lot of small businesses have contributed generously to the raffle and lots of great prizes are up for grabs. If you can’t attend or live interstate but still would like to contribute, you can buy raffle tickets and might be the lucky winner of one of the prizes. To buy tickets, people are encouraged to pay cash where possible to the organizer or to transfer money to account 183991, BSB 812170, account name Michelle Shields. Raffle is $2 each or 3 for $5.

Post written by Sands Queensland volunteer, Karin Holmes

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How to give love and support on International Bereaved Mother’s Day

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May 7th is International Bereaved Mother’s Day.

It is a day for those in the Pregnancy and Infant Loss community to come together to show their support and recognition for those mothering children no longer here with them.

On this day we encourage you to reach out and let a bereaved mother know that you remember their baby and you see their motherhood.

Our volunteers have created and gifted to you a beautiful card that you can down load and print to give to a special Mum on this day as a simple gesture of understanding and love.

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Click on link to download card

One card on A4

Our volunteers have also been creating matching personalised profile pictures via our Facebook page. Images are free to request at this link HERE

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5 posts on how to support a bereaved mother this Sunday

  1. Why We Need Bereaved Mother’s Day, Women’s Weekly

Sands Parent Supporter Anne shares why she believes we need Bereaved Mother’s Day and how you can reach out to a bereaved mother.

2. On Mother’s Day: Remembering Mothers Without Living Children, Anxiety House Brisbane

Tara Schafer shares what loving family and friends can consider doing to help support mothers without living children coping with loss.

3. Dear Non-bereaved Parent, 

A heartfelt letter to a friend explaining the feelings around loss.

4. Mother’s Day Perspective From a Bereaved Father, Still Standing Magazine

Insight from a father on Facing Mother’s Day.

5. Carly Marie, Project Heal, International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Tips on how to how to help a bereaved mother and if you are a bereaved mother, how to survive the day.

Sands Queensland wishes all mothers a gentle and loving Bereaved Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day. Please know you are not alone.

For full Sands support information, please visit our Sands Queensland Website and Facebook page.

Our online support groups are open to all Australian residents who have experienced the loss of a child during pregnancy or shortly after. To request to join, please email events@sandsqld.org.au

2017 Sands Queensland Management Committee

The Sands Queensland Management Committee is comprised of volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to help steer Sands in it’s mission to promote and facilitate quality support and care systems for the parents and families of babies who have died during pregnancy, at birth or soon after.

We welcome and thank the new Committee for 2017 and look forward to a productive year.

Tina Thurtel – President

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Tina and the family at the 2016 Walk to Remember

Our daughter, Willow, was stillborn at full term in October 2015. For the past four years I have been an Educator and Assessor for various Registered Training Organisation’s delivering Youth Work, Counselling, Community Services and Mental Health. Previously, I had fifteen years experience working in non- government charity organisations and Management Committee’s across Qld and NSW. I have a degree in Psychology, a Post Graduate Diploma of Counselling, Diploma of Community Services Coordination, and Cert IV Training and Assessment. I was raised in a small country town in Northern NSW and moved to Brisbane twenty years ago.

 

 

 

 

Nicky Lynch – Secretary

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Nicky Lynch

After a long career in banking and finance I was drawn to a gentler career in the non-profit sector. Voluntary work in several organisations sparked a passion for community work and led me to Sands Queensland in 2005. My passion for grass roots community work developed as Sands struggled to overcome the many obstacles facing volunteer organisations including a lack of funding and the pressure to become more professional or businesslike in their activities. I completed a Bachelor of Human Services and Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Not for Profit Studies) which allowed me to better understand the voluntary sector and provide useful skills as the Organisation navigated the changing environment.

As Office Manager until 2015 I was lucky enough to witness Sands’ transition to the leading provider of bereavement services and its never wavering commitment to its mission.

For the past eighteen months I have lived in Abu Dhabi (where my husband
is currently based) and taken the opportunity to travel. Now back in Brisbane,
I have joined the Sands Queensland Management Committee as Secretary and hope to continue my contribution to this wonderful organisation. The stint in the Middle East has once again led me to re-evaluate life with my hope for a less complicated existence. A couple of chickens, a dog and well-tended herb and vegetable gardens are now my focus.

My daughter is a lawyer in Perth and my son works in property development in Brisbane. My husband hopes to be home in early 2017.

Amanda Rohan – Secretary

 

General Committee Members

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Fra Left: Marie Deuble

Marie Deuble
For almost 30 years, Marie and her late husband Bob Deuble have supported parents and their families in the Townsville region. Their commitment to Sands Queensland and its mission has been unwavering. Sands Townsville is now recognised by health care professionals and the wider community as a leader in the support of bereaved parents through all stages of pregnancy loss and new born death.

Marie continues to provide invaluable support to Sands Queensland.

 

 

 

Nell Hakfoort

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Nell Hakfoort (right) at the 2016 Sands Luncheon

I received invaluable support from Sands Qld in 2014 when my baby Jasper was born at 16 weeks gestation. Since then I have been involved with the organisation as a volunteer, which has given me many opportunities to honour Jasper in positive and meaningful ways, and to connect with other people who understand and empathise with my experience. I have been inspired by many of the amazing people I have gotten to know through Sands Qld.
Most of my working life so far has been spent as a qualified picture framer and retail business manager, until I re-trained in graphic design. I live in Brisbane with my husband and three sons, and am a full-time mother and occasional graphic designer.
I recently joined the management committee because I believe Sands Qld has a very important role in supporting and advocating for bereaved parents, and I want to help continue that crucial work.

 

Sands Australia Delegate

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Nicole and her daughter at the Sands Queensland Walk to Remember

Nicole Ireland

Having joined Sands Queensland as a member following the death of our son Nicholas 11 years ago, I found the support services incredibly helpful for my family and our broader network. As time passed, I wanted to play a part in making sure that Sands Queensland would be able to provide support to newly bereaved parents across the State – support like we received.

I served on the Committee for four years and was President from September 2013 until the AGM in September 2016. I learnt a lot during that time and feel proud of my contribution in honour of our son. My current role at Sands Queensland is a delegate to Sands Australia.

I have a professional background in journalism, communications, stakeholder engagement and Government relations and have worked in the mining sector for much of my career. I live in Brisbane with my husband and our two young daughters.

 

Each year in September, a new Management Committee is selected from volunteers who are prepared to give of their time. If you are interested in learning more or perhaps becoming a Sands Queensland Committee member, please contact us on (07) 3254 3422 or email statemanager@sandsqld.org.au

 

To read more about the Committee and the positions available visit www.sandsqld.org.au

President’s Report 2015/16

In time, I expect 2015/16 will be recognised as a pivotal year in the history of Sands Queensland. It was a year where we were forced to look hard at our mission and our services and our future. The potential cessation of the long-term Queensland Government funding meant that we had to look at ways to survive and keep the doors open.

As challenging as it was, one thing did shine through – the value of our organisation and the importance members and now, the broader community, place on what we do. As President the long-term struggle to retain the Government funding was often overwhelming but it was the ongoing support of members and their commitment that provided the drive to push on.

Through the Save Sands campaign we were able to position the organisation very strongly for the future. The money raised, along with renewed funding for 3.5 years means Sands is well-placed for the future. Of course there is more we could do – the aspiration to reach more hospital and health professionals all over the State remains a goal, along with building and supporting strong regional volunteer networks – all of which will help bereaved parents and those who will sadly join our ranks in the future.

It has been an enormous year but one which we should all be proud of.

Nicole and volunteers at the 2016 Walk to Remember

Nicole and volunteers at the 2016 Walk to Remember

I want to thank my fellow Committee members for their ongoing contribution; our staff for going above and beyond; and our members for continuing to volunteer, fundraise and support parents. I would particularly like to acknowledge the long-term involvement of Nerissa Healey and Penny ten Brinke who both leave the Committee this year – thank you for all that you have done in so many roles. Don’t be strangers!

In an organisation like Sands Queensland, everyone has a role to play and it is truly about helping one another.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as President and I thank the organisation and our members for allowing me to honour our Nicholas and help other bereaved parents.

~ Nicole Ireland, Sands Queensland Committee President 2013-16

For a review of the 2015/16 achievements, the Sands Queensland Annual Report for 2015/16 is available to download HERE

The Unlikely Sisterhood of Miscarriage

Guest post by author Karin Holmes

When I lost my baby in July 2011 to a miscarriage, I made a new acquaintance. It was an unpleasant one – loneliness that also brought his good friend depression along.

One of the worst things I find can happen to a woman who just lost her baby is being left alone. I was at my most vulnerable yet I was all alone. My husband was there for me (and it was his loss, too!) but that was it. I came to think that this is just how things are – no one cares therefore, naturally, I am lonely and doomed to be as my pain just wasn’t big enough to be taken seriously.

Months passed, even years, and I kept silent about my baby and held up my part of an unfair deal with society as a whole – I stayed lonely, convinced there was no one out there who would understand me. By sheer luck, or faith, I don’t know, I was proven wrong. Four years after my loss, I felt strong enough to tentatively reach out again and share part of my story. What a different experience that was! Instead of hearing ‘well, it’s very common, get over it’, I was met with compassion and understanding. The lady I talked to had suffered a loss herself and just like me, never really talked about it. We both seemed to be so relieved and grateful at the same time that we met and had the chance to talk and remember our babies together. I felt very empowered and even more importantly, reassured. My pain WAS real and it WAS a big deal and it SHOULD be.

As I travelled along my road towards healing, women with similar experiences kept popping up. It would happen in the most unexpected places such as a change room where I fed my rainbow (baby born after loss), at a playcentre or even at the train stop. We got talking, shared part of our life’s story and connected over our silent suffering. Once again, I felt validated and grateful for having met another survivor. I felt like there was this unlikely companionship there, a sisterhood of miscarriage so to speak. We all came from different walks of life but were united by a tragic loss.

Sunset at Quebec, Canada, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.

Sunset at Quebec, Canada, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.

The silence keeps bothering me though. I wish for more understanding and more compassion when it comes to early pregnancy loss. The support I get from the ‘sisterhood’ is beyond amazing. It is my hope that one day we can get it from people anywhere. For that to happen, society as a whole will have come to realise that women who suffered an early miscarriage lost a tiny life too soon and not just a ‘common occurrence’ that shows up in a statistic. If miscarriage survivors deserve one thing, it is an end to the silence and loneliness and a celebration of the lives we held, however briefly they may have been.

Karin Holmes is the author of the ebook ‘How to survive a miscarriage – a guide for women, their partners, friends and families’ and a miscarriage survivor. The book can be purchased through Amazon HERE

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Author Karin Holmes

Author Karin Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links

Sands Queensland provides support, information, education and advocacy for parents and families who experience the death of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, newborn death or other pregnancy losses. At Sands there are people who understand because they too have been through this experience.  To find out more please about our support options please go HERE.

Join us in June for Sands Awareness Month and help raise awareness of Sands support services in your community.

Sands Awareness Month

June is Sands Awareness Month when we can all come together and raise awareness of miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death and the importance of support for those who experience the death of a baby through pregnancy or shortly after.

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Every year in Queensland around 700 families face the heartbreak of stillbirth or neonatal death.  Many thousands more will experience early pregnancy loss. Sands Queensland exists so parents don’t have to navigate this terrible time alone.

This year we are launching our ‘Go purple for Sands’ event to raise the profile of Sands in the community. We need your help to reach out and make sure these families, and the professionals that support them, know about the support Sands offers and know they are not alone.

How you can help raise awareness

Go Purple

Turn Facebook purple by changing you profile picture or banner to our customised graphics.

Download ‘Go Purple’ profile picture HERE

Download ‘Go Purple’ Facebook banner HERE

‘Go Purple’ for a day at you work or school, asking your collegues to do the same. You could collect a gold coin donation or sponsor a Sands Resource Gift.

Promote

Ask your local Doctors office, Women’s Centre, Hospital or other care services if they would display the Sands Services poster or would be interested in Sands Support Brochures. You can download copies at the link below or request copies from our head office.

Download Sands Support Services Poster HERE

Browse Sands Support Brochures HERE

Contact our head office and request a Sands Professional Pack, containing a copy of each brochure.

Sponsor Resources

Help Sands get resources out to the parents who need them now.

Give a Gift of Resources from Sands Queensland.

Sponsor supplies for the SandsQ Butterfly Memory Bag Program.

Volunteer

Pledge your time, services or skills to Sands. There are so many ways you can volunteer, find out more HERE.

Share Your Story

By sharing our stories we let others know they are not alone, we share in their grief and can show them support is there when they need. Sharing your story also shows those who have not experienced this loss what it means to us and how they can be supportive. Your story could be in words, pictures, music, art or other expressions and can tell as little or as much as you feel comfortable with.

Email Sands at events@sandsqld.org.au to have your story shared on the Sands Blog.

Use #SandsQ on social media to have your story shared.

Join With Sands

Do you have your own project, group or activity that supports bereaved parents? Why not connect and work with Sands to extend the consistent and professional support services in your area. Contact our State Manager to discuss how we can work together.

Book an Educational

Sands npw provides Educational Workshops on Caring for Bereaved Parents. These workshops are about meeting the psycho social care needs of parents whose baby has died during pregnancy or in the neonatal period. Participants recieve 3 CDP for complettion. Workshops are held quarterly at Sands House, Brisbane or can scheduled in your local area. Please contact our office for more information.

Download the Workshop Flyer HERE

Sign Up

Become a member of Sands Queensland. Membership shows your support of Sands and gives you subscription to our newsletter ‘Hourglass’.

Keep updated with future events, volunteer opportunities and fundraising by signing up to our Enewsletter.

Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SandsQld), Instagram (@SandsQueensland) and Twitter (@SandsQ)

Thank you for helping Sands reach out to the community and support bereaved parents.

There is Always Hope

Guest post by Alicia, Declan’s Mum

My names Alicia, I’ve been with my childhood sweetheart Mat for just over eight years now and we are to be married in June this year. We were told due to health reasons that I had to try for a baby quiet young as time was against me. In making the decision to have children and knowing the complications I had to give up my job, as I had to be on full bed rest at times.

We experienced five tough years where I suffered severe depression, I was hospitalised, Mat and I separated due to the stress, we had six miscarriages, including the still birth of our son Declan in 2010 Finally in 2015 I gave birth to our beautiful, healthy miracle, Nate on the 20th of February.

Mat and Nate

Mat and gorgeous Nate

It was only after all this did I hear from a friend about Sands Queensland and all that they do. My aim was then to fundraise and make people more aware of this wonderful organisation as I feel if I had been made aware and had the support that is available from Sands, I may have never gone down the terrible depression road that I did. With the help of my local Lions Club (Mirani Sugar Valley Lions), which is a non for profit organisation that assists with the local community fundraising for special causes and help with development and building of local parks, community venues and sporting centres, we fundraised through out the year raising $1000 for our local Sands Mackay organisation.

Alicia presenting Sands Parent Supporter, Julie with the donation.

Alicia presenting Sands Parent Supporter, Julie with the donation.

I feel by sharing our story hopefully people will start to open up and talk more freely about baby loss in general as it still is such a taboo subject and I believe talking is the best medicine and support for one another going through this.

I hope that our story also gives hope to others “That miracles do happen, our son is living proof of this”.

Releasing a butterfly for Declan at the Mackay Walk to Remember 2015

Releasing a butterfly for Declan at the Mackay Walk to Remember 2015

 

Mackay Sands Queensland

Julie Thompson is the Mackay Parent Supporter and has been with Sands for over 10 years. Julie holds support meetings at the Mackay Women’s Centre on the fourth Tuesday of the month for anyone effected by the death of a baby. For more information see SUPPORT MACKAY

Mackay Walk to Remember is held in October as part of International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. It is a beautiful day held in memory of babies who have died during pregnancy or shortly after. To find when the next Walk will be held please allow us on Facebook at Sands Queensland Walk to Remember

In 2015 Sands fundraised for 2 Cuddle Cots for the Mackay Base and Mater Mackay Hospitals. To read more go to HERE

SandsQ Butterfly donates memory bags and bereavement clothing to Mackay Hospitals. If you would like to become involved or find out more, please email Lyndell at events@sandsqld.org.au or follow us at Facebook SandsQButterfly