Butterfly Awards

Don’t forget to cast your votes!! If you’d like to vote for Sophie’s Angels (but there is no pressure!) then please feel free to use my email address maria.kirk@hotmail.co.uk

If you would like to nominate Sophie’s Angels for the support organisation or for the blogger award then please do. Also you can nominate me, any of the admin, or any other members in the group for any of the awards. It will ask for an email address, so please ask your nominee for their email address (or if you want to do it secretly then message me and I can get the email address for you!!!)

Thank you. and happy voting!!!

https://babylossstar.co.uk/2017-nominations/

Categories:

1.) Bereavement Worker
The Bereavement Worker award celebrates the work of people who provide some form of bereavement care outside of maternity services. This can include funeral directors, non-clinical hospital staff, chaplain and religious ministers, mortuary workers and bereavement counsellors.

2.) The Thank You Award
Anyone who has made an impact on a single person, a group of people, or the baby loss community in general.

3.) Most Valuable Contribution
People who has made a valuable contribution within the baby loss community to a cause. This can include any person or collective who has made a valuable contribution to the baby loss community. Individuals from support organisations can be nominated.

4.) Midwife of the Year
A midwife who has had an impact on parents at the time of loss or during subsequent pregnancies. They don’t necessarily have to have delivered their baby or held their hand throughout labour; it can also be (but is not limited to) a midwife who sat with them when they received bad news, one who visited at their home, bereavement midwives, one who looked after them in the hospital after birth, a midwife who cared for someone during a subsequent pregnancy, and so on.

5.) Author/Blogger International
Writers who have either experienced the death of their own baby, or those who write about the topic. They may have created one book or blog post which made a big impact on the reader or may be a prolific writer who has affected change within this community. Open to both Authors and Bloggers.

6.) Inspirational Mother
A mother who has lost a baby during pregnancy (at any gestation) or after birth before the age of 18 months. A mother who has inspired others. A mother who has had to deal with the loss of more than one baby, being ‘hit’ with the devastation multiple times and still stands. Survivors. A mother who has been through devastating periods during their life as well as losing their baby who shows courage, strength and determination to make it through the next day. A mother who has made a change or a difference in the baby loss community. A mother who has had an impact on the baby loss community, whether it be one person or one thousand people. Someone who has, despite her own grief, helped other people through their grief through the means of providing online support, personal support, friendship, guidance etc. A mother who, whilst grieving for their own baby, has gone on to create a safe haven for parents to turn, established an organisation or charity to offer support/keepsakes/books etc to other grieving families.

7.) Inspirational Father
A father who has lost a baby during pregnancy (at any gestation) or after birth before the age of 18 months. A father who has inspired others. A father who has had to deal with the loss of more than one baby, being ‘hit’ with the devastation multiple times and still stands. Survivors. A father who has been through devastating periods during their life as well as losing their baby who shows courage, strength and determination to make it through the next day. A father who has made a change or a difference in the baby loss community. A father who has inspired others. A father who has had an impact on the baby loss community, whether it be one person or one thousand people. Someone who has, despite his own grief, helped other people through their grief through the means of providing online support, personal support, friendship, guidance etc. A father who, whilst grieving for their own baby, has gone on to create a safe haven for parents to turn, established an organisation or charity to offer support/keepsakes/books etc to other grieving families.

8.) Awareness Advocate
An individual who has made an impact with their own story, a campaign or raised awareness about a particular issue. Someone who has developed a new product or policy that has had a positive, sizeable, impact. Someone who has successfully changed policy or procedure. Someone who has had their story or work produced in a way which has attracted large amounts of media attention.

9.) Best Hospital Bereavement Care
A team who provides support to parents and families after the loss of a baby/infant.

10.) Cherished Keepsake
An item or creator of an item that enables parents to honour their baby, remember their baby or create a special place for their baby. A service provided to enable a family/parents to create memories with their baby (e.g. remembrance photographers, remembrance castings, jewelry etc).

11.) Health Professional
Someone who works within a health setting who has had profound impact through helping a family through their loss. An individual (not a group of people) who has gone above and beyond in their work to support grieving families in their care. A health professional who has made a difference or made a change in the ‘baby loss community’. This may be a nurse who has guided a family when turning off their baby’s life support, a consultant who has guided parents through a bleak diagnosis, a sonographer who showed outstanding compassion, a student midwife who has had an impact on the baby loss community and/or puts time and effort in to making a change etc.

12.) UK Support Organisation
A U.K. based organisation set up to help parents and families who suffer the loss of a baby. Founder does not have to have experiences baby loss first-hand but needs to support those that have. Does not have to be an organisation that offers a material service: can include online support groups and forums. Their main ‘aim’ does not have to be to support people who lose a baby, but it does have to be a fundamental role within their work.

Austin’s Story and A Very Special Gift

Austin’s Story

Ashley, one of the members of Sophie’s Angels has very kindly offered to let me tell the story of her precious angel, her much loved and very sweet baby boy Austin. She was 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant when she found out that Austin has passed away and she says ‘The 24th of August 2017, was the day my world changed forever. At 41+2 we heard the words no parents ever want to hear. Our little boy had gone. Two days later Austin was born. Heartbroken doesn’t quite cover it, in fact, it doesn’t come close’.

Something that not many people consider, and it took me by surprise when it happened after Sophie passed, is that you still produce milk… because to your body… you have had a baby and therefore the milk begins to flow! I personally found this to be one of the hardest things, but Ashley has turned this into something positive ‘Throughout this horrific situation one overriding feeling was present, a lack of control. However, there was one thing I could control, what would happen to his milk. Like so many angel parents before me, I had the overwhelming urge to do-something, anything, to help others. So I refused the pill and began to pump’. Ashley is a nurse and breastfeeding supporter so she felt very strongly that she should be able to help other babies in need. She says ‘Leaders of my local breastfeeding support group were able to put me in touch with my nearest milk bank to begin the process. I learned that early milk is particularly important to the most vulnerable babies, those in special care, which meant that Austin’s milk could be lifesaving’.

Knowing that her milk was helping others gave her a great deal of comfort, and since Austin passed away she has started to help to support other people and she then explored the possibility of milk donation among angel parents. She says ‘I was lucky that owing to my past experience and being a member of a national breastfeeding support group I had excellent support. I was however, sad to learn that this is not true for everyone going through this unique situation. That really hit a nerve’.

Milk donation and the comfort it can give to Angel parents

As Ashley started to talk to grieving parents and bereavement professionals she noticed several things, these included:

  • Not being aware of milk donation.
  • Being given medication to prohibit lactation without any explanation and even in some cases consent, and this reinforcing their feelings of loss of control.
  • Professionals said it was difficult to have these conversations at such an emotional time
    The option not being discussed in a positive light, by family and professionals.
  • Professionals and friends/family not aware of how it can be a positive way of making and maintaining connection with baby, mothers report that ‘creating a legacy’ can be very helpful during the process of grieving.
  • Not knowing how to access information regarding milk donation/banking and accessing/loaning pumps.
  • Mothers have talked about not knowing how to, or, not wanting to access usual breastfeeding support owing to unique nature of their situation and discuss a feeling of ‘not fitting in’.
  • Pumping mothers describe lack of support relating specifically to exclusive pumping, feeling isolated during this time and discuss desperately wanting to seeking out others who have experienced similar for both practical and emotional support.
  • Mothers who were already pumping for babies in NICU/SCBU settings report support stopping when baby died and them not knowing how to manage either stopping pumping, or continuing to donate.
  • Mothers who do not wish to donate not having any information on how to manage milk coming in.

A Very Special Gift

A Very Special Gift was created in response to the research conducted by Ashley; she wants to increase awareness of donating ‘legacy milk’ & provide these special people the support they deserve.

If you could share this to spread the word about A Very Special Gift then that would be amazing, this is such a worthwhile and important cause for both angel parents and also parents with babies in NICU, for who donor mile is potentially lifesaving.

Feel free to contact them for more information; you can email averyspecialgift@outlook.com, see their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter @legacymilkgift. If you have experience of milk donation after loss then they also have a closed Facebook group.

They are also currently fundraising so that they can produce a website and create more awareness, please don’t feel obliged to, but if you would like to donate then please click here.