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.

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

SandsQ Butterfly Drive 2016

Welcome to the 2016 SandsQ Butterfly Charity Drive, the first in what we hope will be an annual event to get a jump start on the year and provide Queensland hospitals with memory bags and bereavement clothing.

SandsQ Butterfly began in 2013 and with the help many we made our first bags to be sent out to hospitals. As we spoke more with hospitals we found there was a need for clothing for the tiniest of babies and so began making bereavement clothing for babies between 12 weeks and 30 weeks gestation. Our aim is to provide appropriate, gentle and warm clothes to softly wrap these delicate babies in and give them respect and dignity of items made especially for them.

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The feedback we have received is that parents are always so incredibly touched that someone handmade something just for their baby. At a time when parents feel most alone, these items let them know they are not and someone is thinking of them. Hospitals are also appreciative of the quality and appropriateness of the clothing and the professional way it is donated, making it easier for midwives to access when needed.

Thanks to the many crafters we have met who are making bereavement clothing for the program, we have donated over 300 pieces to hospitals in Queensland in 2015. We have now started an online group for our crafters to chat, share patterns and connect as we come from all corners of Queensland.

This year also brings a few changes to the SandsQ Butterfly thanks to the generosity of supporters and volunteers in our community.

We have new bag design, thanks to Josepha from Nokobelle, that is easy to make and still has that lovely handmade quality. The memory bags are made to specific guidelines and we are looking for experienced seamstresses to help us reach our target of 300 memory bags in 2016.

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Talented Artist, Esther Anghart, gave us special permission to use her artwork, with which a beautiful Special Memories Book, and matching Certificate of Life and Print Certificate (ink less print kit) was designed by our volunteer Lyndell and with the guidance of the Virtually Done Team at Volunteering Queensland.

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SandsQ Butterfly Volunteer Kate has developed a new gift for women who have experienced a miscarriage. ‘Flutter’ is a handmade fabric envelope containing a poem, small crochet butterfly, Sands support reference card and gift card. The gift card allows mothers to request, if they wish, a small set of beanie, booties and blanket from us as a keepsake for their baby.

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Last year we supplied items to eight hospitals and this year we hope to increase that number.

How You Can Help

Find out more about the SandsQ Butterfly Drive HERE and how you can help whether you craft or not.

Follow us on Facebook to see the latest news, FB@SandsQButterfly

Join the online event to see what we are making FB@SandsQButterflyCharityDrive

Sign up to the eNewsletter to keep updated with donation requests, donations and fundraising

Join our online crafters group for support and a chat FB@SandsQButterflyCraftersNetwork

 

or contact Lyndell at events@sandsqld.org.au

 

Thank you so much for your interest in helping us and making the Drive successful.

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Save Sands Campaign Update

All year long we have been talking about money and, in particular, about where the money will come from to keep running Sands Queensland.

While this has been a daunting experience for the Committee and the staff, it has also been an amazing opportunity.

As many readers know, we had been told our funding from Queensland Health had been cut and was due to end in December this year.  This meant we had to find alternate income and the Save Sands campaign began.  While there is a lot of hard work that goes in to organising events, the most refreshing and rewarding aspect was realising that our members and our community truly value what we do.  Our members and their friends, associates and colleagues gave so generously of their time, money and donations that we were overwhelmed.  The Save Sands Gala, the Save Sands High Tea and some flow-on donations received through interactions at the events, raised nearly $70,000, which is incredible. The Sands Management Committee want to thank everyone who contributed and helped us to ensure our long-term security.  We also found that an additional benefit was that the events attracted a whole new audience of extended family, friends and colleagues allowing us to raise awareness of our member’s experiences.

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Save Sands Gala

In even bigger news though we have received news in recent weeks that Sands Queensland funding from Queensland Health has been renewed and will continue for at least the next three years.  This is a massive relief for us all and reflects the hard work we’ve done in making sure the Government understands what we do and how valuable it is to bereaved parents, their families and the medical community.

The grant represents less than half our annual budget so fundraising remains vital to maintain and extend our reach across Queensland.  The grant provides a baseline of predictable cash-flow to ensure we can keep Sands House open, maintain our important online supports and support the work of our volunteers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Treasurer and Sands Member Curtis Pitt and Sands Queensland Committee President Nicole Ireland

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Treasurer and Sands Member Curtis Pitt and Sands Queensland Committee President Nicole Ireland at Parliament House

With the new funding security, we will be working on extending our educational program for hospital employees and other professionals.  This training program allows us to work with those people who help bereaved parents – doctors, midwives, other health professionals and funeral home employees.  This program includes information on the need to recognise grief; how important babies are to our families; creating memories; how to talk to bereaved families and the sharing of parent stories.  We have presented to one of the larger Brisbane Health and Hospital Service and we are hoping to present in Mackay and Rockhampton in the New Year.  Parent volunteers play a big part in developing and presenting these training programs and we will continue to do this important work to make sure any future parents facing the death of their baby are well cared for and have access to important information in a timely manner.

Thank you all for ensuring Sands Queensland continues to support bereaved families.

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LINKS

Save Sands Campaign

Save Sands Gala Slideshow

Save Sands High Tea Image Gallery

Funding Restored for Community Groups: Queensland Government Media Release

Sands Queensland: Get Involved

Sands Queensland: Support Services

 

A New Butterfly at Harvey Bay

Guest post by Jodie Tangikara

My name is Jodie Tangikara and I am now the Butterfly Coordinator for Hervey Bay Hospital.

Let me tell you a little about my loss and how I ended up here. On the 22nd September 2012 I delivered my son at 19 weeks 5 days gestation after a 32 hour labour. Marcus was beautiful and only 17cm long and weighing 135g. The following day I was discharged from hospital to go home to my four beautiful children. Twenty four hours later I was placed back into hospital due to lack of blood in my body. After a night in hospital and three bags of blood I was right to go home. Four days later I was rushed back to hospital due to heavy bleeding. Some placenta had been left behind, which caused my body to get a infection. I was taken to surgery for a curet only to flat line on the table due to major blood loss. After two minutes of nurses trying to bring me back I finally had a heartbeat again. I spent the next four days in ICU to be closely monitored. Once I was given the all clear I left hospital to go pick up my sons ashes and go home to my family.

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A few months passed and I felt lost and needed to do something. I started a petition to get all babies recognised from the state government and after 18 months I finally accomplished it. Now the Queensland Births Deaths and Marriages issues In Loving Memory  Certificates for babies under 20 weeks gestation. I have also raised money for the SCN unit at Hervey Bay Hospital and money for a Cuddle Cot for the Maternity Ward.

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I ended up becoming a volunteer for Sands Queensland after speaking to Nicole the Sands Queensland Committee President at the In Loving Memory Certificate launch. Knowing what a difference this beautiful organisation does I wanted to be a part of it and help families in need. I look forward to moving forward with sands and hope I can make a difference.

 

You can help support Jodie at Marcus’s Butterfly

 

To learn more about the Sands Queensland Memory Bags, please visit our Website HERE and if you would like to know more about how to become a Butterfly Coordinator in your area, please email Lyndell at events@sandsqld.org.au