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

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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.

Team Hayley 2015

Guest post by Kara Smith who is participating in this year’s Bridge to Brisbane

In May 2013 our second daughter, Hayley, was stillborn. It felt like our worlds came to a halt and souls were shattered. My husband and I have always been overweight but started making changes when our first daughter was on the way. However, after losing Hayley we sort of rebelled against the universe through junk food and put back on some of the weight we had lost. We decided we couldn’t keep going like that, so for all of our children and our health we again decided to make a change.

Why do the Bridge to Brisbane? Bridge to Brisbane offers many opportunities – a goal, a benchmark to improve on each year, a way to show our girls fitness, but most importantly a way to honour of our darling angel, Hayley and spread the stillbirth and Sands Queensland awareness. We also fundraise through the Everyday Hero page for Sands Queensland in Hayley’s name. Last year we were joined by my in-laws to do the 5km course. This year my husband and I will be doing the 10km course and my in-laws are back to do the 5km course again, for Hayley and other beautiful angels taken too soon. They will be joined by my sister-in-law and cousin-in-law. Who knows who else may join in on this fledgling tradition.

Team Hayley in 2014

Team Hayley in 2014

What are we doing to prepare? My husband has been hitting the gym and is in the best shape of his life. After our girls are tucked into bed I take my dog for a brisk walk, even occasional jog. For safety reasons I do not wear headphones, so I am enjoying my time of quiet as well as the energy boost of endorphins from getting active. I have a lot of random thoughts and conversations, but my mind often also goes to Hayley and I feel her close, especially on those clear beautiful nights where the moon is full and everything is still. I am also planning ways to include Hayley, last year my eldest daughter (and I alternately) carried a pink pony balloon (Hayley’s totem), this year I am looking into shirts and possible a foil helium balloon.

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I look forward to walking this year and spending time with my family afterwards. I hope to be able to meet some of you at the course, if you see us please come up and say hello. Walking in honour of our sweet Hayley and proudly making a change.

If you would like to show your support to Kara, please make a donation at her Everyday Hero page HERE

Would you like to join the Sands Queensland crew at this years Bridge to Brisbane on August 30th?

To register, simply go to Bridge to Brisbane  and select ‘team’

For the 5km
Team Name: Team Sands Queensland
Number: 3123

For the 10km team
Team Name: Team Sands Queensland
Number: 22580

You can also join the Sands Queensland Team fundraising at Everyday Hero, just click on this link HERE and request to join the team.

We would love to hear all about you too, so if you would like to share your story, share your photos and inspiration you can join the event on Facebook HERE, email events@sandsqld.org.au or share on social media using #SaveSands.

 

Links

Family and Friends: How you can help bereaved parents. – Sands Queensland

Family and Friends support booklet from Sands Australia

How you can help – Volunteering with Sands Queensland

Save Sands

2015 is the year we have to Save Sands as our current grant funding will end in December.

More than ever, Sands Queensland needs help to provide essential support for parents who face the tragic death of their baby during pregnancy, at birth or in the neonatal period. Around 700 families face the heartbreak of stillbirth and neonatal death every year thousands more have to deal with miscarriage and early pregnancy loss.

Sands - A little life not a little loss

Sands support service include; phone, email, online and face to face support for bereaved families, along with support and education for professionals.

 

Post by Nicole Ireland, Sands Queensland Committee President

There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for the heartbreak and the sheer devastation – particularly the agony of leaving the hospital without your much loved and longed for baby. Nine years on I remember walking out of that hospital so vividly that I still struggle to go back there today.

 Worse still, what do you do when you get home to the nursery that is all set up and waiting for your new baby – a nursery that you have loving put together and now may never get to use. Instead of agonising over the best pram to buy, it’s trying to figure out how to go on.

 More than feeling like something is missing, you feel like something has been ripped out of you and nine years later the feeling is still there – not every day but still there in the quiet moments and on every family and special occasion. When you meet new people who ask you how many children you have and when you have to explain to your other children why Mummy sometimes gets really sad.

 Family and friends do everything they can to help and we have had amazing support – much of it overwhelming. But sometimes you need more than that.

 At the beginning and for the past nine years, I have relied on Sands as a place to belong, a place where it’s okay to talk about my son and how I feel, a place where I can help others and, now, a place to give back.

Nicole took on the role of Committee President in 2013, here with outgoing president Bev Homel

Nicole took on the role of Committee President in 2013, here with outgoing president Bev Homel

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Nicole and Sands Queensland founding member Judy Clarkson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sands is all about parents helping parents and is an amazing group of parents and families who share the one thing they would love not to share and that is that their baby has died. It’s a club that no-one wants to join.

 It is also so, so very important to help parents through the grieving process and to make sure they know there is someone who understands. I despair to think what might happen if people don’t have this special place.

 Sands maintains an office and a small part-time staff to facilitate support, educational and memorial services across Queensland and to work with allied health professionals and other support services who help parents at the worst times of their lives.

Nicole and State Manager Kate Cowmeadow (right) and parent volunteer Erin (left) at the Sands Walk to Remember

Nicole and State Manager Kate Cowmeadow (right) and parent volunteer Erin (left) at the Sands Walk to Remember

 It is, of course, my greatest wish that no more babies will die and that Sands won’t need to exist but that is just a fantasy. In the meantime, each year in Queensland approximately 1000 parents are affected by stillbirth and neonatal death and a further 20,000 parents experience the impact of early pregnancy loss.

 After many years of continued support, the Queensland Government offered Sands funding at its current level (approximately $80,000 per year) until December 2015 after which time funding will cease.

 That means, this essential service is at risk of shutting down because the core funding will cease at the end of this year. We have a plan in place to look at other ways to survive but this will take time to deliver. For this reason we are working as hard as we can to “Save Sands”.

 I don’t want other parents to find themselves lost and alone in dealing with the death of their baby and I know that Sands is the only group that continue to provide support and help for parents, families, the community and all of those people who engage with bereaved parents in their darkest days.

Our son forever changed our lives and I hope that in his memory I can help to Save Sands.

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Nicole and her daughters releasing a butterfly in memory of Nicholas at the Sands Walk to Remember

 

 

On June 19th, 2015, Nicole will be hosting a #SaveSands Gala in Brisbane we would love for you to attend. All information can be found HERE. It will be a wonderful night with Rebecca Sparrow as guest MC, entertainment by Pheonix, silent auction and an amazing special raffle where one lucky guest will take home a beautiful piece of jewellery from Canturi.

For those not in the Brisbane are who would like to find out how they can help to #SaveSands, please contact our head office or follow Sands on Facebook for more information.

 

Make a donation today

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sands Queensland and National Volunteer Week 2015

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Established in 1989, National Volunteer Week is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia, and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our community and to say thank you.

Volunteering Australia has announced this years’ theme – Give Happy, Live Happy and we want to hear from our members about your volunteering or how a Sands volunteer has made a difference to you. We rely heavily on our amazing volunteers and this would be a wonderful opportunity to give them that extra recognition and word of thanks that they deserve.

 

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Nominate a Sands Queensland volunteer who has made a difference to you.

The volunteer can be a past or present volunteer who has a positive impact on you.

How to nominate: include the volunteers name and details about why you have nominated them.

 

Share your positive volunteering experience with Sands Queensland.

Write and tell us how you volunteered and what it meant to you. Did it help you connect with your family and community? Did it have a positive impact on your grief journey?

If you have a photo to go with your story, please attach as a full size jpeg file.

Nominations and volunteering stories can be sent to events@sandsqld.org.au by April 25th.

 

All volunteers who submit a story and nominees will receive a special award from Sands Queensland during Volunteer Week. Stories and nominations will be shared via our members newsletter ‘Hourglass’ and Sands Queensland Facebook page.

Join us for Volunteer Week May 11th – 17th and celebrate the difference we all make.

Do all things with Love

This Valentines Day Everyday Hero is donating $3500 to an organisation and you can help Sands Queensland be the recipient.

 What do you have to do?

Download Sands Queensland I LOVE beCAUSE sign or make your own.

Take a photo of yourself holding up a poster that reads I LOVE Sands Queensland because (why you love them).

Upload the photo to either Instagram or Twitter or post it onto the Everyday Hero Facebook wall. Remember to tag @everydayhero and #IlovebeCAUSE so your entry appears on the global ‘Wall of Love’. If you also tag your photo with #SandsQld we will reshare on Instagram (@SandsQueensland) and add to our album on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SandsQld).

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@everydayhero #IlovebeCAUSE #sandsqld

Guest post by Sands Queensland volunteer Lyndell Price, whose daughter Charlotte was stillborn.

I volunteer with Sands Queensland because I love my daughter. The love I have for her had nowhere to go, no baby to care for, no parties to plan, no cute outfits to wear. So for me, I pour that love into making a commitment to something that I know, first hand that makes a difference to parents whose child has died.

From the very beginning I needed to do something practical, so I made the commitment to come into the main office and help one day a week. That day gave me something to look forward to and an opportunity to step out of the house and focus on something other than the pain I was feeling. What I also found was it gave me the opportunity to meet other parents, to talk about my experience, listen to others and know that the grief I was feeling was completely normal. Grief comes from love, and I loved my daughter Charlotte very much. It was ok to keep on loving her.

I have been volunteering at Sands Queensland for just over 3 years now. In that time I have met many wonderful people and made life long friends. Through the support I have received, lesson I have learned from them and watching the amazing way their love for their baby drives them to give back I have grown as a person and found something for the first time in my life that I am truly passionate about.  It is an organisation and a family I am proud to be part of. I love Sands Queensland because it is a place I can love my daughter and use that love to help other parents.

What do you love about Sands Queensland?

* Update

Thank you to all who participated. Sands Queensland came third and received a $500 donation from Everyday Hero.

Here are our entrants

Anna-Leigh Burgess

Anna-Leigh Burgess

 

Dani Hall

Dani Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia Bedford

Georgia Bedford

Jen Miles

Jen Miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kym Marshall

Kym Marshall

Nerissa Healey

Nerissa Healey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penny Ten Brinke

Penny Ten Brinke

 

Sarah Kelly

Sarah Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon Louisson

Sharon Louisson

 

Sophia Miles

Sophia Miles