Healing Hearts newsletter Comfort & Healing for Broken Hearts
Page 2 * New Position Page 3 * Vision, Mission & Values Page 4 * Bears Of Hope Packages Page 5 * Benefit Ball * In the Media Page 6 * City2Surf * Garden of Angels Page 7 * Mother’s Day Page 8 * Article - Sharing your grief Page 10 * Introducing Kelly Merchant Page 11 * Feature Article - Intimacy & Loss Page 13 * Volunteers Needed Page 14 * Online Fundraising Page 15 * Community Fundraising Page 16 * Fundraising Stories Page 17 * Support & Donations Page 18 * Support Groups * Playgroups Page 19 * Support Services * Contact Us Page 20 * Bears Of Hope Partners Page 21 * Huckleberry Markets Page 22 * Messages of Love
Bears Of Hope offers support and guidance for parents who have experienced the loss of their baby during pregnancy, birth or infancy. Through the donation of a bear of hope, parents are provided with the comfort of knowing they are not alone from the very beginning, and offered significant ongoing support to heal their broken hearts. This includes loss through miscarriage, genetic interruption, multiple loss, stillbirth, neo-natal & infant death.
A U T U M N Welcome to the Autumn 2012 Issue of ‘Healing Hearts’ the quarterly newsletter from Bears Of Hope Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Inc 9885618. We welcome all the newly bereaved parents and hope that you can find some comfort and peace.
WELCOME Hello everyone, If this is the first time you have read our newsletter I wish you hope and strength. Bears Of Hope Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support has been super busy with some amazing things in the pipeline. Since our inception in 2006 we have continued to grow and respond to the needs of hospital staff and bereaved parents and really lead the way in providing early and ongoing support to families that experience the loss of their baby. Since 2006 all of our dedicated members and our management committee have volunteered all their time and will continue to do so through this next faze of our growth. With that we are in a time where we are excited to be advertising our first paid role within the organisation to really catapult us into the next stage of supporting others. There are loads of ways you can volunteer with Bears Of Hope and we are looking to build on our already strong committee to ensure a future filled with help! You can read more about these and other opportunities further into the newsletter. We welcome on board some new members to our volunteer team – Mersina and family Resource Manager, Hayley - bear tagger for fundraisers, Lyndal - online fundraising coordinator, Shelley - Community Fundraising Coordinator, Kelly Merchant - Support Group Leader and Grief Support Phone Contact, Catherine Dodd - Support Group Leader, Amanda Gaffney- Hospital Liaison, Jen Thomas - Social Media Role, Nick Thomas - Database Manager, Nikki Howden - Hospital Liaison, Martine - Support Group Leader (Brisbane), Ena Creevey - facebook support groups– to everyone that continues to give their time to Bears Of Hope – thank you – without you we cannot reach the families we do. Our ball tickets are already on sale and the date for this year and venue has changed – for this year only we are holding the event in July and the venue is amazing – see below for information on early bird ticket purchases. If you can help with prizes or auction items please email [email protected]
and let us know. We are urgently needing some gift vouchers for some of the major supermarkets, department stores or petrol stations – if you can spare $30 in a voucher I mentioned we would be so grateful! There are so many families taking the time to write in our online guestbook – if you received a bear, it means so much to another family to see that a bear they donated in honour of their son or daughter has been received so please do enter the details. If you have donated bears there are often some amazing messages of strength and thanks that your bear has provided and can really lift your spirits so be sure to check in now and then on our website. With hope Amanda
NEW POSITION - PR and Marketing Officer A challenging opportunity exists to join one of Australia’s up and coming charities. This role will be initially for 3 months moving to full time for the right person. Bears of Hope is an Australian registered not-for-profit organisation managed solely by a dedicated team of bereaved parents. Our professionalism and longevity has been built on delivering passionate and active pregnancy & infant loss support, education and awareness, and in strengthening relationships with allied health professionals. Bears Of Hope exists to improve the facilitation of the healing journey for families experiencing a loss. Bears of Hope is affiliated with maternity hospitals throughout Australia including all NSW and ACT hospitals. This important position comes at an exciting time of growth for the organisation. The position would suit a marketing professional with PR and fundraising experience who would like to expand to a role that utilises your strengths. It also requires someone who in confident but compassionate and has the ability and confidence to talk to people in all walks of life. You will work on a range of areas including PR, direct marketing campaigns, fundraising (including direct mail, email and social media). You will also need to be a committed and organised individual to contribute to the development and success of our work with hospitals throughout NSW. You will be promoting and marketing our Charity in new areas while maintaining relationships with stakeholders within and outside the organisation. This committed and organised individual will contribute to the development and success of our work with hospitals, providing ongoing support and guidance for Maternity hospitals in NSW. As an integral member of this team you will be responsible for overseeing all inventory and knowledge transfer for all hospitals. This will include planning, guiding, providing ongoing support and executing logistical needs for Maternity and NIQU departments. There will be daily travel in the Sydney Metro but will also require country travel to hospitals on a regular basis. This role will also assist with the ongoing updating and management of Charities CRM where required. Ideally you’ll have a few years’ experience in a marketing, PR or advertising, or have worked within a charity for a few years. You must have excellent written and verbal communications skills, be a team player and be able to manage your workload efficiently. This is an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate your skills with a charity that can offer you a supportive team based environment. And all while working for a fantastic and very special cause.
Key responsibilities of include: · To develop, support and evaluate strategies that encourage corporate and community participation in the years’ activities. · Engage with and act as a liaison with hospitals, community groups, and other relevant agencies/ organisations in order to promote our values and core business. · Overseeing all inventory and liaison/knowledge transfer for all Maternity hospitals across NSW including guiding, providing ongoing support as required. To excel in this role you must have: · Tertiary qualifications and/or relevant experience in one of the following relevant fields - social work or psychology, public relations and or marketing. · Demonstrated experience working with charities or communities. · Knowledge of and experience in working with clients with the health care industry. · Proven capacity to work independently, collaboratively and effectively with people with diverse backgrounds and experience. · Capacity to be self-motivating and proactive, able to find solutions to complex problems. · Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and proven capacity to communicate effectively. · High level of computer literacy. · Capacity to contribute effectively to a team, with a strong focus on achieving results. · Current NSW driving license (minimum green Ps or full license). · Willingness to commit to and support the philosophy and values of Bears of Hope. Ideally we are looking for someone who is a self starter and can bring immediate benefits to the organisation. In return the role will provide the successful candidate with the opportunity to grow and develop their skills as the role and organisation expands further. Skills and Qualifications Desirable Criteria: · Experience in fundraising, PR and direct marketing · Experience in talking to small groups of people · Excellent written and verbal communication skills · Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite · Database management · Own can and Drivers licence. · Desktop publishing skills · Knowledge of social media marketing You must apply for this position through Seek at the address below. http://www.seek.com.au/Job/pr-and-marketingofficer/in/sydney-sydney/21697446
Vision, Mission & Values The past few months I have found myself reflecting on the growth of Bears Of Hope since the program was registered in NSW almost 5 1/2 years ago – I am humbled by the support we have received from so many hospitals, families and the community and although I truly wish there wasn’t such a need for our charity to exist I am proud of what we have accomplished to date. With that, the committee have been busy focusing on how we need to position ourselves to ensure that all families in Australia are receiving the vital and necessary early support our bears and gifts provide and the opportunity to benefit from our Beyond the Bear support programs. I’m so proud to be part of a team of people with such inspiring minds and dedication to ensuring other families facing loss are provided with the best of care and support at every possible level during such a tragic time. I am excited to share with you our new vision, mission and values which I believe will provide solid foundations for our future growth and our values will be embedded in every thing we do within Bears Of Hope from today and well into the future. Vision: To provide leading support and exceptional care for families who experience the loss of their baby. Mission: B ears offered at every hospital providing vital E arly support A n Australia wide program which provides timely and R elevant information to families who experience S tillbirth, miscarriage, neonatal or infant loss O ngoing comfort and a lifetime of support F rom families who understand H elping to challenge and shape beliefs surrounding loss O utstanding care P assionate pregnancy & infant loss support E ducation and awareness Values: · · · · ·
Committed to achieving our vision with integrity. Dedicated to and passionate about making a difference. Respecting grief is personal and unique. Every family has the right to be offered support without judgement. Equal acceptance and acknowledgement of every loss.
Enormous thanks goes to the amazing mind and generosity of time that Karli and her team from GoGlobal Innovations (http://goglobalinnovation.com/) have provided us. I cannot praise this woman or her business highly enough and to donate her valuable knowledge, time and resources to Bears Of Hope shows the integrity Karli possesses which is reflected in everything that GoGlobal Innovations do.
Bears Of Hope Packages for Families Bears Of Hope have a vision to offer personal guided support to all families before they leave the hospital from a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or infant loss. We hope to soften the devastating fall for parents by wrapping them in our love and support right from the very beginning and provide them with the most crucial information they need to know before leaving the hospital without their baby. With the amazing support of the community, this 12 month "Bears Of Hope Gift Package" Project for our Early Support Program was launched throughout Maternity Hospitals of Australia in January 2011. Both our Early and Beyond the Bear Support Programs are highly supported but we need your help to continue this very important service. Gift Packages We currently provide three Packages to meet the more personal needs of families. Hope Package - Miscarriage Loss Support Our Hope bear and miscarriage brochure are placed in this package with our keepsakes. We donate these packages to Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinics, Emergency Departments, Day Surgeries, Social Work Departments, Delivery Suites and IVF Clinics. Sophie Package - Stillbirth Loss Support Our Sophie bear and our important "Creating Memories Booklet" are placed in this package with our keepsakes. We donate these packages to Maternity/Delivery Suites, Social Work Departments, and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Xavier Package - Neonatal or Infant Loss Support Our Xavier bear and our important "Creating Memories Booklet" are placed in this package with our keepsakes. We donate these packages to Maternity/Delivery Suites, Social Work Departments, and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Our Support Packages include: •A Bear of Hope keepsake -Sophie, Xavier or Hope teddy bears tagged with your baby's name and date of birth •"Creating a Lifetime Of Memories In Just One Moment" Booklet - a must have guide for parents to create cherished memories with a no regrets outlook, and to immediately connect parents with our parent support network •A Candle •Seeds of Hope (Forget-Me-Not Flowers) •Journal / Notepad and Pen •A Photo Frame with sunset and poem "A Life So Brief, A Child So Small, You Had The Power To Touch Us All" •Guidance Brochure for family and friends on how to support parents •Standard Brochure about Bears Of Hope •Our Song Live Among Angels Our items are of high quality and each item deliberately chosen by our executive committee of bereaved parents, to meet the very early and ongoing needs of parents.
How can you help us continue this service? Set our program up in your local hospital - Please contact us for further information. Donate a Bears Of Hope Package in honour of your baby to a hospital Create an online fundraiser for family and friends to honour your baby and support another family. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. ALLIED HEALTH SERVICES Our Gift Packages come at no cost to hospitals across Australia. We can deliver as many as you need for as long as you need. If you find that there is something else you would like us to provide your families within this bag, or to omit, please let us know so that we can better assist you in your role. Please email [email protected]
for more information.
Annual Benefit Ball We invite you to our 4th Annual Benefit Ball - TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE Date: Saturday 28th July 2012 Venue: Waterview in Bicentennial Park Address: Bicentennial Drive, Sydney Olympic Park NSW Time: 6:30pm - 11:30pm Dress: Formal Cost: $130 per person Ticket includes pre-dinner canapés and drinks on the balcony, followed by a delicious 3 course meal with sparkling wine, beer, red and white wine, and soft drink. Tickets can be purchased through the Bears Of Hope website. Our MC is Rebecca George, former Home and Away star and our Ambassador. We will be holding a very special candle lighting ceremony during the evening. More information including parking and accommodation details, can be found on the Bears Of Hope website. Prize Donations In order for our Benefit Ball to be a success, we rely on the kindness of the community to donate goods and services towards our auctions, lucky dips and raffles on the night. If you own a business and can help in any way, or if you can contact your local businesses and source donations for us, this will be most appreciated. All donators will be advertised on our website, in our national newsletter, and throughout the evening of our Ball. Please contact [email protected]
Want to be Cinderella for the Night? One Lucky attendee will win the Cinderella Treatment for the night. Prize includes: * 1 Night accommodation at Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, * Have your hair done in the privacy of your room by Truly Inspired Hair & Makeup * $200 StyleTread Gift Voucher to purchase your very own Cinderella shoes for the Ball. Conditions: Accommodation at Novotel Sydney Olympic Park in standard room type, accommodation & hair & makeup to be redeemed on 28th July. StyleTread voucher must be redeemed online. Non Transferable, Not redeemable for cash. Winner will be drawn at random from all persons purchasing tickets by 31st March. Prize has been donated by Bears of Hope, StyleTread & Truly Inspired Hair & Makeup, Conditions may apply to individual portions of this prize. Full conditions available by emailing [email protected]
Proudly sponsored by
Purchase your tickets and complete the online form to be in the draw for the earlybird tickets today!
Bears Of Hope in the Media Bears Of Hope has received some coverage in the media over the past few months. For further information, please visit our website www.bearsofhope.org.au to see the full story on the media articles below: “Letter Of The Week" Sunday Telegraph Magazine 19/2/2012 "All we have is love and hope" Sunday Telegraph Magazine 5/2/2012 "Making a Difference - Brooke Welch" Channel 7 News 3/2/2012 "Pregnancy Etiquette" Practical Parenting Magazine February 2012 "To Brooke: You are an inspiration" Mamamia 31st January 2012 If you see Bears Of Hope in the media, we would love to hear from you.
City2Surf 2012 We invite you to join Bears Of Hope in our 4th City2Surf Get your friends and family together this year and join Bears Of Hope in our 4th City2Surf! An amazing 14km scenic course starting in the Sydney CBD and finishing at beautiful Bondi Beach. Run, jog, or walk; you will feel a wonderful sense of achievement as you finish the crossing line in honour of a baby special to you. Don't miss out on being a part of Sydney's favourite sporting event on Sunday 12th August 2012. All enquiries please contact [email protected]
Registration opens late May More information through the City2Surf website at /www.city2surf.com.au Fundraise For Bears Of Hope We would love for you to consider fundraising for our charity in this event. There will be great incentives for 2012. These will be available on our website soon and in our next newsletter. It's very simple and free to set up an online fundraising page. A page where you can share a special message, photo or video. You then send the link to family, friends and colleagues for donations. When you register your official entry into the event, you will be given the option to open an online individual or team fundraising page through Everyday Hero. Please select our charity to support.
Last year we had over 80 fundraisers supporting Bears Of Hope who raised over $32,000!!!
Garden Of Angels Our Garden Of Angels is a place of remembrance and somewhere to recognise and honour our angel’s birthdays. Below is a list of angels whose birthdates are in the months ahead, we wish the families of these angels peace and hope as this day arrives and know that we are here if you need further support. Milana Matilda Rose 23 February 2009 Johnathon Colin Shannon 1 March 2010 Bridgette Faith Hebb 16 March 2011 Yasminah Ann 26 March 2009 Sophie Thomlinson 28 March 2010 Jasmine Miller 31 March 2009 Viviene Sarah Elizabeth Connolly 31 March 2009 Tianna 2 April 2011 Isabella Wren Diefenbach 6 April 2010 Stephen Whelan Carroll 12 April 1985 - 1 June 1985 Benji "Bubba" McNamara 13 April 2010 Cooper James Tattis 22 April 2002 Kaitlyn Annie Tattis 22 April 2002 Karoline Anne Hyland 22 April 2009 Katherine Anne Hyland 22 April 2009 Aimee Isabelle Merchant 24 April 2007 Luca Cristina Adelbert 30 April 2010 James Tattis 6 May 2004 Tadpole Stewart 7 May 2010 Brock Geoffrey Riddiford 10 May 2010 Mikaela Mae Harris 11 May 2004 Angel Timmins 11 May 2010 Samuel Liam Clarke 13 May 2009 James Turner-Bowes 14 May 2009 Beau Taylor 22 May 2009 Rhys Alan Tattis 24 May 2001 Peter Sklibosios 29 May 2009 If you would like to have your angel listed in the relevant newsletter please email [email protected]
and include your angels name and date of birth. Please note that we only include names and dates for angels that fall into the months for this particular newsletter.
Mother’s Day 2012 Anticipating and facing Mother’s Day after the loss of your baby, can be challenging. A time when you should be celebrating, becomes a time of remembering, yearning, painful stabs in the heart, and thinking about all the “what ifs” and “should have beens” instead. Not only is your precious baby not here with you, but witnessing the celebration and joy in other families can make it even more heartbreaking. Many parents have found that the lead up to certain special dates is worse than on the actual day. We almost fear that day, not knowing how we will cope; not wanting to feel more pain than we already are. Your anxiety may increase, you may experience sleepless nights, you may worry over how to perfectly plan the day to honour your baby. Through planning the day though, Mother’s Day can also be a beautiful one. Performing certain rituals to get through these special dates may provide comfort and healing to your hurting soul, by giving you some tangible purpose in your day. The way you wish to remember your baby is completely unique to you. Whether you are on your own, or are surrounded by family & friends, this is a time for you and your baby. Here are some ideas you might like to think about to help you get through Mother’s Day. * Donate a bear to Bears Of Hope in honour of your angel * Release a balloon – perhaps inscribe a message on it before doing so * Light a candle throughout the day * Write a poem – perhaps read it at a special place during the day * Visit the cemetery – place fresh flowers, light a candle, * Have a special place to go to for breakfast, lunch or dinner each year * Go for a walk – along the beach, through a park, drawing on the beauty of nature to soothe your soul * Write a letter to your baby – in a special diary * Plant a special flower or plant * Buy or create a special piece of jewellery to wear– perhaps add to your Pandora bracelet * Create a scrapbook page * Listen to some music that will offer comfort and hope Some of you may be questioning whether you really are a mother, perhaps because you experienced an early loss. No matter how far you were when your baby went to heaven, you will always be a mother to this baby. Below is a poem that many have drawn great comfort from. We hope that you are able to find some calm in your day, as you remember and feel the love you have for your baby. Draw your strength from the beautiful memories of your pregnancy and/or time spent with your baby, support networks and knowing that you are not alone. If you are already a member of our online support group, please know you are more than welcome to share your feelings and thoughts, and know that we are only a fingertip away for support.
Happy Mothers Day Mummy A kiss to you on Mother's day, a hug from me to you. I know that you are sad sometimes, I know that you are blue. Please wipe away that tear, and put on a happy face. For I'm with the stars now, and oh, Mummy, what a wonderful place! I was given wings so I could fly, they are white with a hint of blue. I'm a big boy Mummy, with these wings of mine they carry me down to visit you. I am learning how to catch your prayers, prayers that come as wishes. Your wish is the same everyday, a wish that I could have stayed. I have a prayer for you now Mummy, I pray that you will hear. I have no pain or fear. For I am an Angel now you see, I watch over you each night and day. A little piece of Heaven on earth, guiding you on your way. I come to tuck you in each night, as you wanted to do with me. I hear your prayers and kiss your cheek, and then I watch you dream. Before I leave you and go back home, I look at you and sigh. And as I fly back to Heaven I sing you a lull-a-bye. A kiss to you on Mother's Day, a hug from me to you. I love you Mummy, please don't cry, you'll get to hold me soon. Author Unknown
I'll never get to see your precious face or whisper words to make you feel safe, I'll never get to hold you tight when you can't sleep at night, I'll never get to sing to you a sweet lullaby to calm you down when you cry, I'll never get to fall asleep with you in my arms, all bundled in a blanket to keep you warm, I'll never get to to hear you laugh and giggle, or see your toes wiggle. There are many things I won't get to do, but the hardest is not being with you. Author Unknown
Not So Private Anymore: Sharing your grief Following the loss of a baby, it’s a difficult time to understand your own grief response in how to make sense and meaning out of your own life which can look very bleak any time you look remotely into the future. Most people struggle at some stage to pinpoint any emotions that they are experiencing, as many feelings are often occurring all at once (i.e., sadness, anger, guilt, denial, depression, shock, numbness etc) and occupying all brain space as they all wish to compete for moving on. The easiest way to start letting others know how we are feeling is to take some time to reflect on ourselves and the internal turmoil we are experiencing. It is only through awareness of ourselves that we can then share our feelings with others. When we are uncertain of how we are feeling and what we need to feel better, how can we expect anyone else to meet our needs? The large majority of us are not mind readers, so what is required is an open and honest conversation with people whom you can rely on for support. I acknowledge and understand that no one likes to feel vulnerable in letting someone else into your private experience of grief, but talking about your loss is part of accepting your new reality. I’ve met many people who have soldiered on, remained stoic and internalised their grief, until when they least expect it, it’s come to bite them in the bum with a vengeance. Sure, talking won’t bring your son/daughter back, but it helps to validate that as a couple you were pregnant, and like any new parents, that you had hopes and dreams about your future family, that for now; won’t be fulfilled. Speaking about your baby facilitates an appreciation that your baby was real, was nurtured, was longed for, was loved, had lived and has died, leaving an indelible imprint on your heart. For many of us, our whole identity is wrapped up in being fiercely independent, being seen as competent and we pride ourselves on these traits. Unfortunately, these personality traits can also be our downfall, so allowing ourselves to feel exposed is a skill that we need to learn and practice. Over time, we may even become (slightly) more comfortable with the process and increase our chances of a positive outcome. The way in which we can minimise our anxiety in doing this is to start by: ·
Accepting any offers of support, whether that is someone suggesting they’ll cook you a meal, pick up your other children from school, do some basic shopping, come round for a cuppa with morning tea. Whoever earned a skippy badge for being stoic in their time of grief? Remember to practice your response “that would be great, thank you”, or “we’d really appreciate that”.
Think about who in your support network can provide you with the emotional support you need. Choose someone whom you trust, this does not necessarily have to be your partner, that you can talk to and will just listen, without judgement. Then pick a place where you feel most comfortable to talk, this may be inside your home, in your garden, a local coffee shop. And finally, select a time of day that works best for you. If it’s too hard to get out of bed in the morning, or you’ve always never been a morning person, perhaps aim for meeting up early afternoon.
Practice or rehearse asking people for help. Start this process with a small task and build from there once you’ve mastered the art. “Bec, as you know I’ve been in a pretty dark place lately and getting out of the house is such a challenge, I know you’re really busy, but could you maybe drop in once a week/fortnight/month or so for a coffee, as I really appreciate how you just listen and don’t need to fix anything for me”.
Remind yourself, the worst case scenario is that the person says “no”, or that they can’t provide you with what you need. Grief has the habit of making others uncomfortable, as people tap into their own losses and how these were managed. Use these experiences as a lesson to help you refine what you want/need from your grief partner/s.
Jump on the forum or come along to a support group, you don’t have to isolate yourself and walk this path alone. Many other parents have survived before you and are generous in sharing their journey, warts and all, as they move towards accepting life’s tragedies.
Not So Private Anymore: Sharing your grief When our feelings and needs change over time, often it’s hard to address these issues with our partner. We are not always aware of this transition unfolding, so we often also catch our partners ‘off guard’ that we’ve made inroads into moving forward. For instance, if the original plan was to keep your daughter’s ashes in the urn, and you’ve been thinking about releasing some/all of them in a place meaningful for you, how do you go about raising this with your partner? 1. Prepare your partner that you want to talk and suggest a time to do so. For example, “I’ve been thinking a lot about Ella and there are a few things I want to discuss with you, can we talk them over tonight/tomorrow after dinner” 2. When you’ve met up, acknowledge that the other person is likely to have feelings about this is new information and that they will need time to digest what has been suggested. For example, “I wanted to speak to you about Ella’s ashes, and I know you’re likely to have strong feelings about my thoughts, so I’m asking for you to just listen. Obviously, she’s our daughter and any decisions are likely to affect us both, so don’t feel the need to respond right away, you’ll need time to think it over”. 3. Explain how your needs have changed over time, what may have contributed to these changes and finally what you would like to occur. For example, “When we initially made the plan for Ella’s ashes to stay with us, I wanted her close so I could hug her, talk to her and feel comforted in knowing that she was always there. I’ve since realised that she’ll forever be with us in our hearts and I would like a place where I can go to pay tribute to her life. There are constant reminders of Ella at home that I am working through, but I’d like her to be released at a place that has meaning for us as a couple/family”. Another example may be on displaying your baby’s photographs: “I’ve been thinking about Ashton and wanted to see what you think about something, can we set aside some time after we put the kids to bed tonight?” Later that evening, as planned, approach again “I’ve been doing some soul searching and realised that, I feel upset that we have all the other children’s photos up around the house to admire and treasure; and we haven’t any photos of Ashton on display. My thought is that we haven’t broached the subject before this because it’s been too painful to remember, but I’m at the point where I want him all around me. We only ever have people in our home that know our story, and besides, we have nothing to be ashamed of that we had a baby that died. If you’d be happy to do this, I’d like us to choose the pictures together; so that we’re both comfortable with how and where we are honouring Ashton in our home as part of our family. I know this is a lot to take in and a big step for us as a family in moving forward, so can I ask you to think about it and let me know in the next few days where you feel you are at?” Finally, with Mother’s Day approaching: “I’m feeling nervous, with this being my first since Jacob’s died, I’m not too sure how I’ll be or feel on the day. Some days I don’t feel like a mum cause I’ve got no baby to show for it, but then I tell myself it’s my time to remember and derive hope, that one year, I might be able to celebrate. I’m going to speak to mum about catching up the weekend beforehand and wanted to know if you could discuss catching up with your mum on another day? Maybe we could aim for a picnic down by the river, and if I’m not feeling up to it, we can just have it in the backyard. Would that be ok with you? If you are just ‘stuck’ in your grief and have been ‘stuck’ for quite some time, it may be helpful to seek professional counselling to help facilitate your grieving process by naming the emotions and supporting you to work through them at a pace that suits you. I hope this piece has helped you think about what you might need from others and now, armed with some strategies, helps you take a leap of faith in having your needs addressed. Sally Findley, Psychologist
Introducing Kelly Merchant Bears Of Hope would like to welcome one of our newest Volunteers, Kelly Merchant. Kelly is a bereaved mum and also holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology Degree (BSc Psyc), and is currently completing a degree in counselling. Kelly is the Sutherland Shire Support Group Leader and will soon be managing the new Grief Support Phone Number. Below is Kelly’s story.
In 2007 we received the words no parent wants to hear “ I’m sorry but we are unable to revive her, your baby has died”. I had been 39 weeks pregnant and had gone in to hospital to deliver my baby under what I expected to be a routine delivery….but as many of you know routine does not guarantee a living birth. Our daughter Aimee Isabelle Merchant was born and died on the 24th April 2007. There was no cause given for her death – just one of those unexplained things. At university when I was a young and innocent girl I had completed a Bachelor of Science Degree specialising in Psychology. I had no idea then how much this study would come in handy especially as I listened to the social worker talk to me about the ability to access the baby bonus…..while I was still comprehending the death of my daughter, less than 24hrs after delivery. Her uncomfortableness being in this situation with me was obvious and I sensed her inability to relate to my situation. She told me to call her if I needed anything…and with a sympathetic smile she left the room never to be heard from again. I left that hospital devastated but determined that my grief would not consume what was left of my life. I was not fortunate enough to have experienced Bears of Hope but found support through an online forum where I read about other people’s tragedies and the lack of professional support available to them. Close to a year after Aimee’s death I decided that my studies needed to be used in a way that could honour my daughter while helping those that were to also experience the loss of a child or pregnancy. I felt it was vital for bereaved parents to be amongst those that understand what it is actually like to have experienced such devastation and yet also acknowledging that everyone grieves differently. In 2009, after the positive birth of our subsequent child, Tim, I began my post graduate study in counselling and am currently three quarters of the way through. I have specialised in trauma and bereavement and with only 2 subjects and a few practical sessions away I hope to be able to combine my experience with my knowledge to provide a service to bereaved parents that comes from the heart and understands with the head. I am fortunate to have two living children – Sam who is 7 and has lived through and shared with us the loss of innocence in the experiencing the death of his little sister and Tim, who is now 3 and is beginning to learn about death and his big sister. Two completely new and different experiences as they grow and develop their own thought processing – just like we all do when faced with something that no-one should expect to experience. By Kelly Merchant
Feature Article - Intimacy and Loss This topic originated as a result of this months' Norwest Support Group. A word of caution: expect to feel challenged by the content of this article. If you are feeling particularly vulnerable right now, read what you are comfortable with. You can always opt to read the rest at a later stage or skip to the suggestions at the end. I am all about being playful and kind to yourself, so, if something you read or think about is particularly confronting, see if you can soften it, or shift it. If you start to feel uncomfortable, just notice that feeling, and with kindness, remind yourself know that none of us are perfect. As a group reading this, you would know best of all, that life really is too short to sweat the small stuff! Intimacy is based on trust and openness, and fulfils our universal need to belong, love and be cared for by significant others. It isn't just about sex. Ask yourself, what do I think intimate relationships need to look like? Who has modeled these beliefs to us along the way? We've generally got some idea of this when life is going well, but when tragedy strikes, we can lose our footing and feel very alone and isolated, despite ample support and our partner beside us. These feelings are perfectly normal, and the more you are able to talk to others who have experienced a similar loss, the more you can appreciate similarities in your grief. Hence why support groups are beneficial. The way we feel about intimate relationships is often a reflection of our knowledge, experience and self confidence. This article will explore how our beliefs about intimate attachments can also be influenced by the way we were raised, our relationship with ourselves, our existing relationship with our partner and our life experiences (i.e, sexual abuse, domestic violence, losses, trauma, birthing/delivering a much wanted baby, children prior to or following your loss etc). Messages from our Parents: Note: If thinking of your parents' child-rearing is distressing, please feel welcome to substitute the word parents, for other role models in your life (i.e. grandparents, family friends etc). How open were your parents to encourage you and give you feedback? How often did your parents give each other praise and appreciation? How was love and affection demonstrated? Were your parents open and honest in their communication? How did they resolve their disagreements? Were your parents able to listen to each other without interruption or criticism? Did they show genuine interest in each other? Were your parents able to apologise to each other and demonstrate forgiveness? Who was instrumental in teaching you about loss? Who taught you how to manage strong emotions? Our relationship with ourselves: How do you feel about where you are at in your life (i.e., comfortable, lacking, successful, empty, wanting, challenged, fulfilled etc)? Your relationships? Your career? Your spirituality? Are you able to be philosophical when life looks a little pear shaped? What do you do to nurture your body? Your mind? Your soul? Do you continue to blame yourself for the death of your baby (i.e. shouldn't have jogged, had caffeine, carried the shopping, had that glass of wine)? Blame others (i.e. your partner, caregivers, hospital staff)? What do you now know as a result of your baby's death? Where are you at in your grief (ie. denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance)? Are you living a life full of regrets, or viewing life full of possibilities? How did you feel about your body following your loss/es? (i.e. broken, ugly, beautiful, grateful, punished, defective)? How does this contrast to feelings you had about your body prior to your pregnancy? Or whilst pregnant? Our relationship with our partner: What does your day to day relationship look like? Do you consider yourselves as equals? How are the responsibilities of living shared (i.e., managing finances, negotiating external family relationships, housework)? How often do you make time for each other and plan to do things that are important to the other person? In your relationship, do you offer more praise or criticism? Do you feel listened to? Appreciated? Desired? Loved? How is your partner meeting your emotional needs? How do you manage conflict? How often do you check in with how your partner is feeling? How did you feel about your partner prior to your loss? How have these feelings changed since your loss? Has your partner been in a position to support you in your grief? Is it important to you that you grieve in the same way, at the same time and together? Are you comfortable with your decision to plan another pregnancy/ cease extending your family? What plans are there now for your future together? Our Life Experiences: Some of us are fortunate to go through life pretty unscathed, others can have more than their fair share of trauma and loss. How do you wish to define your life? What do you want your life to stand for? What would you like written on your tombstone? Do you want to be defined by your loss and what you've been through, or how far you've come? What I would encourage you to appreciate is that you are more than your loss, I understand that it is an undeniable part of you, but try not to let your grief envelope you. As a bereaved parent, you don't suddenly cease your role as a parent, partner, friend, colleague, daughter, sister, aunty/uncle, niece/nephew, neighbour because your baby has died.
Feature Article - Intimacy It is tempting to be completely consumed by your loss, however if this resonates with you, professional assistance would be helpful. Complimenting therapy by attending a Support group, logging onto an online forum, can help you move through the depths of your despair and see that life does get a little easier and brighter the more you open up to these opportunities. I now invite you to consider the following strategies to help you work through some of the issues these questions may have raised, and to help get your relationships, both intrapersonal (your relationship with yourself) and interpersonal (with others) a little more balanced: 1. Pick only one question to reflect upon in each section that is particularly relevant for where you are at right now. Is this something that you can change? If your answer is 'no', find some way to let it go. If your response is 'yes', what is one small action you could take to make a difference in this area of your life? 2. Start talking and learn to listen. Any of us can attempt to listen, but the idea is to really hear what the other person is trying to say. 3. Don't expect to know what to say, to fix the problem, just being present, to sit with someone in the midst of their grief is perhaps all they need, and an incredible privilege to experience. Rather than shy away from this role and define it as onerous, try to view this as a gift, this person trusts you enough to share their pain with you, and allow themselves to be vulnerable. You just being there can offer them some containment for their intense feelings. 4. Plant a seed of kindness. If you want rich, abundant growth, it is important to give a seed what it needs to grow- nurturing, patience, persistent effort, and a favourable environment (i.e. good soil to re-establish roots, protection from harsh conditions, exposure to sunlight, warmth, fresh air, sound nourishment etc). If you don't have these conditions, one's growth will be compromised. Work out ways in which you can apply this basic principle to yourself. Once you are on your way, you may opt to start being open to providing these conditions to your partner and your relationship. Then sit back, watch a beautiful garden emerge and enjoy the fruits of your labour! For those of you who were disappointed that this didn't touch on sex, Sexuality and Loss will be the title of my next Newsletter article, so I hope you'll return. Best Wishes, Sally Findley Psychologist
Sally Findley Sally Findley is a Registered Psychologist who works part-time in her own practice in Baulkham Hills. She provides counseling for a range of client issues and also facilitates workshops. Sally recently joined our Norwest support group in a professional capacity in order to be available for those attending who may need some additional support, but also to be a resource in facilitating the discussion around presenting issues within the group. She has a particular interest and expertise in the area of Perinatal Health and Wellbeing (conception to two years after birth), and brings this knowledge with her to our team. Sally's gentle and friendly approach has been well received by those attending the Norwest group and we are excited about expanding her services in our Beyond The Bear support groups across Sydney.
Volunteers Needed Bears Of Hope are at a crucial time of exciting growth and are looking for dedicated volunteers to join our team so we can continue with our vital support services. The following roles are available for those passionate about what we do, have the time and skills, and are ready to commit for 12 months. City2Surf Fundraising Coordinator You will be responsible for overseeing all fundraising participants for Bears Of Hope in the City2Surf this year. This includes: · Liaising with Bears Of Hope Fundraising Manager · emailing all participants who open a fundraiser for Bears Of Hope · keeping updated participant details in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. · maintaining email contact with participants throughout their fundraising · organising spreadsheet for printing of shirts to be sent through to Shirt Organiser · Organising spreadsheet for tagging of bears of hope for each fundraiser You will have: · Excellent organisation and time management skills · Competent Excel and email experience · Passion and commitment to the role This volunteer role will start from April and go through till late August. Please attach your resume and email [email protected]
City2Surf Shirt Organiser You will be responsible for organising Bears Of Hope shirts to be printed for our City2surf participants this year. · Liaising with the City2Surf Coordinator who will give you the list of shirts and details to be printed · Organising with the Printing Company (same business as previous years) the printing of all the shirts. · Posting the shirts to each participant or team · You will need to reside in Sydney (close to Hills Area would be more convenient) to be able to pick up shirts from our Resource Manager, take them to the printer and pick them up to be posted. · This role will take place from July to August. Please contact [email protected]
Sydney Events Committee Volunteers needed to join our event committee for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, October 15 and Family and Friends Christmas Picnic. Hunter Region Event Manager Volunteer Manager requires event planning expertise Newsletter Manager A Volunteer to drive this newsletter sourcing articles and information from relevant parties, each quarter. Support Group Manager A volunteer to oversee all Bears Of Hope Support Groups Leaders and new applications. Online Support Group A volunteer to oversee our yahoo and facebook groups. Accountant Volunteer to manage our financials
Please direct all interest to [email protected]
by Friday 9th March 2012
Online Fundraising Since the last newsletter some fundraisers have closed. We would like to congratulate and sincerely thank these families on the success of their fundraisers. We hope that knowing your child's memory can live on in the hearts and homes of other families faced with similar losses, gives you some comfort. Sandy O'Sullivan in honour of Dominic Taylor Amy Brown in honour of Koda & Ashton Elana Mcleary in honour of Chloe Ava Angela Price in honour of Ozzie Amy Holmes in honour of Alex Shane Neilsen Hayley Reed in honour of Haven Reed Michael Tong in honour of Bill and Bob Kerr Kat Semmens in honour of Lilliana Rose Stephen Grech in honour of Ella Jessie Stuut Shelley Kennedy in honour of my baby Bruce Graydon in honour of Hannah Fewings Danielle Steedman in honour of Lola Mae Fallon Shorten Teresa Butcher
Stephanie Durrant in honour of Shiloh Joy Durrant Bianca Pratt in honour of Lucas & Joseph Pratt and Nathan & Christian Pratt Emma Comitoin honour of Imogene-Kate Comito Ben and Natalie Charles in honour of Sydney Rose and Patience Blue Charles Amanda and Jason Collits in honour of Angie Sofia Collits Vivian Lowes in honour of Andrew John Lowes Emma Addington-Page in honour of Sophie Teresa Lindy Donnelly in honour of Brody James Donnelly Brooke Welch in honour of Charlotte Pamela Welch
We would like to thank so many families for opening online fundraisers in honour of their babies. We currently have over 60 current open fundraisers. We would like to offer each of these families our continued support in their efforts to raise funds for our program. Kristy Cartwright in honour of Addison Adrian Raftery in honour of Sophie Raftery Erin Smith in honour of Lochie William Smith Natasha Mostowyj in honour of Owen Thomas Candace Burns in honour of Bella Angelo Jessica Ribbons in honour of Bridget Faith Chantele Clark in honour of Lost Butterflies Cathryn Wilson in honour of Ethan Katerina Tepania in honour of Anthea Lynn Donges in honour of Josiah Hayley and Mark Evans in honour of Carter Lisa Walters in honour of Elijah Maynard Laura Welsford in honour of Liam Thomas Carly Walters in honour of Noah Gabriel Erin Loudan in honour of Keira Justine Calvert in honour of my angel babies Rebecca Stanik in honour of Angel Stanik Sabrina Pratt in honour of Joesph Leslie Pratt Nikki Wilson in honour of Gracie Sarah Mosley in honour of Jason Carolyn Booty in honour of Angel Baby J Katrin Kley in honour of Leonard & Ferdinand Alan and Rose Rumbiolo Naomi Kruizinga Sonya Sawyer Colleen O'Sullivan Sheri Bain in honour of Cameron & Daniella Dermot O'Boyle Sam Fewings in honour of Hannah Fewings Linda Hunt Chantel James Donna Hyde in honour of angel baby Lilly Rose Trent Morrison in honour of Ethan James & Joshua Lachlan Morrison
Mersina Bosden in honour of Harrison Spencer Debb and Christopher Myer in honour of Xavier Christopher Myer Deanna Reedy in honour of Austin William and Christian Tyler Cassandra & John Davies in honour of Jesyca Lee Harris Wilhelmina Long in honour of Evangeline Frances Long Paul and Kelly Collins in honour of Paul and Jack Webb Michael and Danni Kerr in honour of William and Robert Mark McDonald in honour of Zoe Emmanuel McDonald Michelle Mikhael in honour of Lawrence & Isaac Mikhael Rebecca Austin in honour of Jack Edward Austin Simone Taylor in honour of Jordan Robyn Roney Kristy Terelinck in honour of Roby Anne Nicholson Tracy Price in honour of Ruby Mikaela Willingham Suzanne Little in honour of Thomas Daniel Pacitto Cherie Maglis in honour of Nicholas Peter Maglis Kirsty Hickson, Grant & Megan Elliot in honour of Jaxx Robert David Elliot Rebecca Lloyd in honour of Oscar Kayden Lloyd Michele Rolland in honour of Xavier Peter Rolland Kayla Radonich in honour of Haydan Radonich Brittany Wood in honour of Riley Jack Hawkins Cass Tibbetts Nadine Val Erick Bayot in honour of Aiden Gallardo Bayot Katrin Kley in honour of Leonard & Ferdinand Jodie Griffin in honour of Meikah Jodie Griffin Fiona & John Senior-Conroy in honour of Hope Elizabeth SeniorConroy Kellie Savage and Jayson Pollard in honour of Kaiah Savage Pollard Judy Andronicus in honour of Madison Hope Andronicus Joycelyn & Graham Duncan in honour of Hunter Walter Morley
Online Fundraising Bears Of Hope Support Packages provide parents with comfort, acknowledgement, important creating memories information and an invaluable link to support once they leave the hospital. For a $45 donation, we will send a Bears Of Hope Package to a hospital in honour of your baby. Bears Of Hope need to raise at least $50,000 each year to continue donating these packages to families who experience a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or infant loss. To donate a Bears Of Hope Support Package, please go to https://bearsofhopegifts.gofundraise.com.au/page/Bearsofhopepackages Your support will have a profound impact on the lives of families and is greatly appreciated by Bears Of Hope. Thank you to the following families who have already supported our Bears Of Hope Support Package online fundraising. Jacinta Lyons in honour of Harry James Martin Anonymous in honour of Emily Kate Dean & Nadine Susnjara in honour of Addison Adam MacDougall in honour of Austin Thomas MacDougall Kristy Waller in honour of Caden Jake Cook Kate Johnstone in honour of Tommy Johnstone Shaun and Nicole Cook in honour of Caden Jake Cook Anonymous in honour of Edie Paige Olivetti Anonymous in honour of Baby Strud Kylie Ling in honour of Baby Ling Hannah Nunn in honour of Baby Nunn Kathy Gore in honour of Joesph Pratt Sarah Martin in honour of Lachlan James Smith Kathy Morrison in honour of Ethan James and Joshua Lachlan Morrison Leanne Tait in honour of Daisy Elizabeth Rita Koutsellis in honour of Michael Kai Sotiropoulos Simone Mulder in honour of Maya Jacob Robyn Prior in honour of Mark Thomas Michelle Heggie in honour of Benjamin Anonymous in honour of Hazelnut Alyson France in honour of Toby Hartmann Jacquie Lee Anonymous in honour of Baby Lamby Melvin Nand Anonymous in honour of Felix James McGurren Kate Spittles in honour of James Causley Psychology Anonymous in honour of Taddy Anonymous in honour of Logan Crouch Anonymous in honour of Chloe Louise Bettina Leate in honour of Sofia's little one Kylie Pace in honour of Jesse Jay & Jamie Vic Jake & Nikki Peake in honour of Ned Leslie Peake Judy Andronicus in honour of Madison Hope Andronicus Pam & Wayne Hodge in honour of Jonathan Tobias Hodge
Community Fundraisers Thank you to the following families who have recently held community fundraisers for Bears Of Hope. Alex and Wilhemina Long in honour of Evangeline Frances Long - holding a Christmas Lights Display Fundraiser Kinda Kapers Long Day Care Centres (Newcastle) - for donating $10,000 We wish Kirsty Hickson all the very best on 11th March with her Party Planner fundraiser in honour of Jaxx Robert David Elliott.
Fundraising If you are thinking "How can I help Bears Of Hope?" you might like to start an online fundraiser or held a fundraising event in honour of your baby. If you would like to help, we would love to hear from you. Please contact [email protected]
Donations Bears Of Hope can only continue with the support of the community through monetary and bear donations. We always donate our own branded Bears Of Hope and we actively fundraise throughout the year to ensure we can support as many families as we can. Sadly we donate over 2000 bears a year and yet there are always more bears needed. If you would like to make a donation in memory of your baby or someone else’s, please feel free to get in touch with us. Your donation may have a profound impact on another family’s life.
Fundraising Stories In Memory of Evie 2010 was a hard year for us, the hardest ever yet. We gave birth to our first child too early. At just 23½ weeks gestation, unspeakably early in the hours of 22nd June while at Norwest Private Hospital on the Labour Ward, we delivered Evangeline Frances Long. If any one thing could bring us to our knees, and shatter our world, it was this loss of our baby girl and the plans and dreams we had for her. However Alex and I were not going to just mourn and grieve and do nothing else. We wanted so badly for Evie’s name to have some impact in the world, to earn some recognition. We attended the 3rd Annual Bears of Hope Ball and were so inspired by the other parents there and what they do in the name of their angel babies, and by the organisation itself. They all really had an impact on us and we admire them all greatly. Combining our intentions for Evie with carrying forward what we get from what Bears of Hope do for people like us we decided to put up our outdoor Christmas Lights and celebrate the season. We hoped to make our display bigger than it had been before and give some pleasure to our local community and our neighbours and while we considered that point we hoped to cheer ourselves up, too. It did become bigger and it pleased more than just the locals as I had posted it up online and we had visitors from all around Sydney! A few soggy wet weeks kept our spirits low, it took ages to sort out the electrics but we pushed on regardless and finally had all the lights on. We enjoyed meeting the shiny wonder-faced children and their smiling parents, neighbours we hadn’t met before and then, later, other parents who had experienced what we had. We had not initially considered fundraising through our lights but two charming little boys visited us one night, with their mum and dad, and they offered us money towards the cost of our lights. We were chuffed! And then we thought, if they gave us their little coins, other people might too and we could collect their money in Evie’s name and donate that to Bears of Hope on her behalf and achieve what we set out to: giving Evie wider impact in the world and we also managed to increase awareness of BoH as a charity. We approached BoH to legitimise our sponsorship and they supplied us with banners and a collection box. We were in a great article in our local newspaper and we got heaps of visitors because of it and also the online listings. To our delight, BoH Psychologist Sally Findlay popped by with her family; it was brilliant to see them. We met lots of other mums and dads who stopped on their way past our house, intrigued by the huge banners we had from Bears of Hope. They listened to our story and some of them had their own very sad ones to share. We realised not many people had heard of BoH and nor had people felt they could talk about what tragedies had struck them until they met us and we got to exchange stories and listen to heartbreak just like ours. We raised $960.80 from the coin donations over December 2010, plus, on top of that, our online fundraiser has reached $1,344.00. So, next Christmas, when we start posting about our next Christmas lights display, come with your rainbow babies and your partners and share your stories with the rest of us and help heal the hurt. Alex and Wil Long
Fundraising Stories Late February last year we were absolutely devastated to receive a phone call telling us that Ella, our friend’s 22 month old daughter had passed away after a very brief illness. As friends do, we attempted to support Ella’s parents, (Sonya and Nick) in any way we could, but needless to say most of us felt completely helpless. The extraordinary strength shown by Sonya and Nick in the weeks and months following Ella’s passing inspired many of us, and we later discovered that they had received support and assistance from Bears of Hope. With the anniversary of Ella’s passing approaching, and knowing that Christmas must have been particularly painful, a few of us discussed the idea of participating in an organised event as a way of honouring Ella’s memory. As Ella had lived in Freshwater and loved the beach we chose the “Sun Run” and “Cole Classic” both held near Manly beach. The Everyday Hero fundraising website made it very simple to register a team to raise funds for Bears of Hope. What began as a couple of names, soon grew to a team of 13 people for the 6.5km run, and 4 people for the 2km ocean swim. The team comprised various friends of Sonya and Nick, and for many this was their first attempt at an event such as this. The positive feedback received however suggests that it could become an annual event. Having witnessed so many sad faces placing frangipanis on Ella’s tiny coffin last March, it was beautiful to see frangipanis and smiling faces proudly worn by many of the same people who through their own commitment and efforts are on track to raise $5,000 for Bears of Hope. Regards, Stephen Grech
Support & Donations We have been really blessed with support & donations and wanted to acknowledge and thank those that have honoured an angel and offered help to Bears Of Hope Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support so we can continue to reach out to families. Sadly more and more bears are needed. If you would like to make a donation please contact [email protected]
Thank you to the following people for their donations over the past few months: Kinda Kapers & 3L Photography Amber Technology P. Boshell Gema Catering Events Nutrimetics R & J Zajac in honour of Richard Stanislaw Zajac J. Duncan L. Davis S & N Andronicos in honour of Elliot Andronicos and Nicholas Andronicos C & J Grant in honour of Hannah Grace Fewings A & B Roper in honour of Jayden Mac Drury S. Galland in honour of Dragan William Radisic P. Fransen-Taylor & M. Taylor Bayer Australia Limited Kay Heaslet Wilhelmina Long Sonia Gottardo
Sydney Support Groups
NSW Regional Support Groups
Hills District Venue: Fantasia Bella Vista Address: Unit H145, 24-32 Lexington Drive, Bella Vista Time: 7.00-10.00pm Dates: First Friday of the Month 2 March, 6 April, 4 May, 1 June, 6 July RSVP: [email protected]
Central Coast Venue: Meeting Space 2, Erina Centre Address: The Hive, Erina Fair Time: 7.30-10.00pm Dates: 3rd Friday of the month 16 March, 20 April, 18 May, 15 June RSVP: [email protected]
or 0412 563 446
Northern Beaches Venue: Rock Lilly Natural Health Care Address: 1/1 Vuko Place, Warriewood Time: 7.30-9.30pm Dates: Last Wednesday of the Month 28 March, 25 April, 30 May, 27 June, 25 July RSVP: [email protected]
Sutherland Shire **NEW** Venue: Gymea Community Centre Address: 39 Gymea Bay Road, Gymea Time: 10am-12pm Dates: First Tuesday of the month 6 March, 3 April, 1 May, 5 June, 3 July RSVP: [email protected]
or 0403019511 Morning Tea Provided South West **NEW** Venue: Acacia Room, Western Suburbs League Club, Campbelltown Address: 10 Old Leumeah Road, LEUMEAH, NSW 2560 Time: 7.30-9.30pm Dates: Third Wednesday of the Month 21 March, 18 April, 16 May, 20 June, 18 July RSVP: Catherine [email protected]
or 0403 279 721
Dubbo Venue: NALAG Centre for Loss & Grief Address: 100 Welchman Street, Dubbo Time: 7:00pm Dates: 1st Thursday of the Month 1 March, 5 April, 3 May, 7 June, 5 July RSVP: Mel - 0407 967 529 or [email protected]
or Ang - 02 6885 3867. Grandparents welcome. Light supper provided Singleton **NEW** Venue: Uniting Church Hall Address: Church Street, Singleton Time: 6.30-8.30pm Dates: First Tuesday of the Month 6 March, 3 April, 1 May, 5 June, 3 July RSVP: Toni on 0400 475 012 or [email protected]
Newcastle **NEW** Venue: Holy Cross Meeting Room, 30 Oakland Street Glendale (white building behind the church) Time: 7pm-9pm Dates: 3rd Wednesday of the Month 21 March, 18 April, 16 May, 20 June, 18 July RSVP: [email protected]
or 0400475012 Coffee and Tea provided.
Directions: Wests Leagues Club is located just metres from Leumeah Station and only a minute’s drive from the M5.
NSW Regional Playgroup Sydney Playgroup
The NSW Regional Bears Of Hope Playgroups are an opportunity for siblings to play and comfortably talk about The Sydney Bears Of Hope Playgroup is an opportunity their brother or sister with others that understand what it is for siblings to play and comfortably talk about their like to have an angel brother or sister. brother or sister with others that understand what it is We welcome any mums that are expecting a new baby after like to have an angel brother or sister. If you are a loss as this is an opportunity to talk to others that have interested in joining please email been through a pregnancy since their loss also. [email protected]
for address details. Central Coast playgroup We meet 1st Wednesday of each month at Quakers Please RSVP Emma Sutherland on 0412563446 for more Hill at 10.30am and ask you bring a plate of something information. to share. Singleton playgroup will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of We welcome any mums that are expecting a new baby each month after a loss as this is an opportunity to talk to others that Venue: Uniting Church Hall, Church St, Singleton have been through a pregnancy since their loss also. Time: 10am-12pm It is a wonderful morning and we would love to have RSVP: Toni on 0400 475 012 or [email protected]
you along. Morning Tea provided
Queensland Support Groups
Gold Coast Venue: Saint Monica’s Catholic Church Address: Golden Four Drive Tugun Time: 7pm Dates: Last Thursday of each month - 29 March, 26 April, 31 May, 28 June RSVP: Debbie - [email protected]
A new support group will be starting in Brisbane soon. Please check our website or facebook for details.
Email Support Services - NEW
Contacts Toni Tattis Ph: 0400 475 012 [email protected]
Amanda Bowles Ph: 0439 643 203 [email protected]
PO Box 352 Stanhope Gardens NSW 2768
We now offer an email support service.
Please email [email protected]
Lynn Jenkins [email protected]
Grief Support Phone Number - COMING SOON Bears Of Hope will soon offer a Grief Support Phone Number. Kelly Merchant, our new Sutherland Group Support Leader will be managing this service. More information to follow soon. See Kelly’s story on page 10.
Home Support Services
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ pages/Bears-Of-Hope/ 120095541371012?ref=ts
Live Among Angels
We now offer home visits in Sydney selected areas and the Hunter Region. We are looking to strengthen our support services by expanding support groups across Bears Of Hope has created it’s NSW and the ACT. If you would like to donate your time and set up a support group or coffee & chat mornings in your local area, please email own song, Live Among Angels, which can be purchased through [email protected]
itunes or on a CD. A sample of this beautiful piece of music is available on the Bears Of Hope website. Please visit our website for further information.
New Psychologist - Sydney Support Groups
Kara Smith (B.Sc(Psych); M.A (Psych.Dev.Psych.Path); R.Psych; MAPS). Kara Smith holds a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master of Arts (Psychology, Developmental Psychopathology). Kara is a registered psychologist and full member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS). She has worked in a variety of settings including university, community and disability services over the past 14 years. Her focus is on working with children, adolescents and families both individually and within a group context. Kara is currently employed with Learning Links Family Services. Here, Kara works with families who have a child with a developmental disability providing support around grief and loss, relationships issues and well as specific issues relating to their child's disability. Kara also works in private practice as well as providing workshops/training on a variety of topics to both parents and professionals.
Bears Of Hope Partners Fetal Impressions In January 2011 Fetal Impressions launched a new, world first technology that has captured the interest of our community. The reason that we are so excited about this incredible technology is that it can actually make a 3D model directly from pictures or ultrasound scans. David Neuwen who together with his wife Nadia have created this amazing product. The original idea for the business came from Nadia, a mother of 3 boys aged 26, 21 and 13. “A few years ago I was looking through an old photo album. I came across the first ever picture of our son, a black and white ultrasound picture on faded thermal paper. I remember thinking how sad it was that these images would only be viewable for maybe another decade and then they would be lost.” said Nadia. Whilst the original focus was 3D ultrasound scans for expectant mothers, Fetal Impressions realised very quickly that their technology had another application. “Almost immediately after our Facebook page and website went live, we were contacted by so many mothers who’s babies were born sleeping and we realised that we could do something to create a meaningful memento of a life that ended too early” says Nadia. There are many different product options, that can be viewed on the website. Prices start at just $289 less the discount of $40 when purchasing through Bears Of Hope. Fetal Impressions also generously donate 10% of the purchase price to Bears Of Hope to enable us to continue to deliver our services to those who need them. You must go through the link http:// www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?af=1305209 to receive the $40 discount.
Keep It Unique Keepsakes In March 2006 a tiny baby boy lived for 9 weeks. He was my firstborn and together with his two younger brothers, he became the inspiration behind Keep It Unique Keepsakes. It’s here that the Mother and Baby relationship is honoured with lots of love and an absolute understanding of just how precious life is. At Keep It Unique Keepsakes our aim is to help soothe your soul after a miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillbirth or baby loss with a range of beautiful personalised keepsake jewellery, memorial jewellery, heart-felt memory books, poems, grief and loss resources and memorial ideas. If you have something special in mind and can’t find it here, please contact us and we will work with you as best we can to fulfil your wishes. 15% of your purchase will go directly to Bears Of Hope upon the mention of our name when you place your order.
Give Them Wings Argnesh Rose will create a beautiful Angel or Fairy portrait of your beloved, based on photographs you send her. In honour of her own Angel baby Sophie, who is her greatest teacher in forgiveness, letting go, and letting her heart break open, rather than close to love. A donation of $20 for each order will go to Bears Of Hope.
Huckleberry Markets - Melbourne Huckleberry Market is the new kid on the Melbourne market scene, specialising in boutique and hand made items for babies and children! Huckleberry Market originally began as a once off fundraiser market for a little girl named Holly. You can find more details about Holly at www.hollyswheels.com. 100% of our gold coin entry goes to Bears Of Hope - a charity very near to us. Please visit their website http://www.bearsofhope.org.au/ Our first market was such a success for Holly and her family and stallholders alike that the words on everyone's lips were, "When is the next one?". We really had no choice but to make Huckleberry Market a regular event! Although no longer purely a fundraiser, Huckleberry Market will be holding another fundraiser for Holly in April. Our aim is simple: Collect the best in boutique and handmade items for babies and children under one roof, have fun doing it and lend a helping hand at the same time. Our stallholders offer handcrafted goodies that range from T-shirts to softies, play rugs to beautiful quilts; almost anything you can dream of (and even things you didn't know you wanted) for your little one you will find at Huckleberry Market. We also have a select few that sell designer items from small manufacture lines, be it jewellery for all ages or art of all sorts. And the shopping experience is just as much about the kids as it is the adults pushing them around in prams! Every Huckleberry Market will have some form of entertainment for the kids be it a face painting fairy, balloon twisting clown, gardening activities or craft. It's all about the littlies! We pride ourselves on listening to what both the stallholders and customers would like to see in a market and aim to better every Huckleberry Market based on this feedback - after all you are the people we aim to please! If you've been to one of our markets, let us know what you think - we can only get better at what we do by listening to your opinion! We'd love to meet you face to face so come down and say hello to our stallholders at the next market. And of course, you can contact us any time if you have a comment or question. For further details on Huckleberry Market please visit - www.huckleberrymarket.com.au Twitter: HuckleberryMrkt Facebook: www.facebook.com/huckleberrymarket
Subscription Bears Of Hope produces a quarterly newsletter with information about specific loss or grief topics, current events, opportunities to support us and a special place for parents to share their story with others. We invite you to include poetry and tributes for your angels or ideas and ways that you have overcome stages of your grief journey in order to help others through. Please email [email protected]
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Messages of Love Zafirah Leigh Goldenberg 26th August 2011 Queen of my Heart; I searched for you I looked to the stars; I saw your promise there. I went to the trees, and asked the eldest; ancient and steady. They spoke of life, unending. "Persistence and courage. Strength and deep roots. These allow one to live on firm ground, to endure on this earth". But where, I asked, is my daughter? You know, the little one, with round cheeks and brown hair. Her eyes are Beauty and Wonder. In her smile stars abide and light dances. She has gentle soft feet, but they seemed eager. Maybe she went in search of gardens filled with jasmine and honey suckle. Only to find herself away. I pondered the possibility. I questioned the bees. They told me: Work to make sweet from bitter. Visit all the pretty wonders within and out. Spread your talents and collect your rewards. Life is this. They said. So where, please tell me, is my little one? The child with the sweetest face. She has a core of honey and nectar far richer and sweeter than any you'll find in this place. Her thoughts are the sound of musical perfection. The harmony of all mysteries and beauty is in the mind of my child; it is as open as the universe. Her greatest talent that I know is kindness, but she is so young, many more are sure to grow. Where is she? My daughter? She is a precious gift of mine. The wind blows and howls. Dark clouds cross the skies and form a purple swamp above my head I take my stance looking up and ask, "Where, oh cloud, is my child? My firstborn? She was here, just a moment ago. You, you cover so much ground. Your lightening strikes cliffs I can reach only in thought. Your thunder rumbles and roars over grassy terrain so wide I cannot hope to cover the distance in my lifetime. The forests your mass darkens are too deep and entangled for me to navigate. Can YOU tell me? Have you seen my Zafirah? She is about this high. And is perfectly white. Her chest is little, but gorgeously robust. And her shoulders are adorably placed. Her hands are like mine, but miniature and unscarred. Her legs are of the most succulent nature. Her knees bend like this when she lays on her back, in the deepest sleep that is. And her little rump, well, I did not see it, but from where I was it looked tiny. Have you seen this little girl? She is so new her flesh folds softly into her wrists and thighs. I feel I must try her with my mouth, gently like a mother wolf. But I cannot find her. Her belly is the most beautiful I have seen. But it is empty. I have yet to feed her from my breast. I'm eagerly searching and wanting to express my love and dreams, my strength and beauty into her. I look around and what I find is a world where mothers have babies. These mothers are queens. I too held a princess in my belly. Where did she go to. The babies look into my face and smile. I ask them with my eyes, 'Have YOU seen my baby? Their smiles just get bigger. "Oh cloud, where is she?!" My voice reaches up and scatters along the vapours ...silence... The cloud begins to tremble and weep. Torrents fill my heart, my vision goes blurry and breathing becomes difficult through the thick liquid curtain the cloud weeps and weeps and weeps 'Hmmm', I say softly as I begin to shield myself from the cold, 'surely, she will remember the stories I sang to her about rainbows...''
Messages of Love Bella Angelo 8.3.11
To My Precious Angel,
My eyes just start to fill with tears as I write your name. My heart misses you so much every day. It always will. I miss all the hugs and kisses and giggles we would have shared.
As your 1st heavenly birthday approaches not a day goes by I don't think of you and wish that things were different. A moment in my arms but a lifetime in my heart. Love Mummy xx
In honour of Leonard and Ferdinand Kley Not a day goes by that we don't feel the pain of our broken hearts. Not a day goes by that we don't wish you were here with us. However there are very special moments when we feel your presence. In those moments we find comfort in thinking you never really left us. We are so proud to be your parents and think of you every day. We will always love you. Mama & Papa “I waited so long for you and then in such a short time you were gone. Such a tiny life, such a huge impact.” Author Unknown
James Turner-Bowes 14th May 2009 Darling James, Another Spring arrives in England the third since we said goodbye. I've learnt to live and smile again and carry you more gently in my heart.
As your little brother Harley grows and learns, takes his first gorgeous wobbly steps I am so happy but at the same time my heart aches for all the happiness we didn't get to share with you. I love you my boy. Daddy and I are about to welcome another little brother for you and Harley into the world. Little Byron. I wish you were here to greet him but I know you are taking care of him now, whilst the pregnancy is still very hard and as I approach the 40th week when we lost you, even harder, it warms my heart knowing you are looking out for us. I hope you are warm and safe and feel loved although we are not with you. All my love always Mummy and your family. 2 sweet angels, loved so much, the smallest of hearts and hands. I wish I could hold you, and gaze on your face, But I guess that God had other plans. I know that your place is not on this Earth, And there’s nothing we could do or say. And even though you’re now where you’re supposed to be, That won’t make the pain go away. We loved so much, and then lost so soon, And I felt my heart truly break. And try as I might, to think good thoughts, Nothing can ease this ache. I long to know you, and hold you close, But I know that that will never be, So instead know forever, you’ll be in my heart, You’ll always be remembered by me. Love, Mum Written by Louise Paul, dedicated to Babies Paul, January 2009, September 2010.
But I will always keep your footprints on the shelf And forever feel you stir inside my heart, especially when the bluebells ring... Again, this Spring. Love Mummy xxxx
Messages of Love A Birthday In Heaven I heard you crying yesterday And felt your heart-sent love So I’m sending you this message Now, from Heaven up above. You’re wondering if I’ll celebrate My birthday (way up here) I know you’re missing me today I feel your essence near. God planned a special day for me He told me with a wink He’d ordered me a special cake (It’s Angel food, I think) I’m getting lots of hugs from God He’s really good at that And every time that I walk by He gives my head a pat Balloons will fill the streets for me They float up through the clouds And we have lots of clowns up here That make us laugh out loud There is a birthday carousel Jeweled horses ride the wind With music playing oh so sweet… The magic never ends I’ve made so many friends, you see We laugh and play and sing We ride our bikes and play jump rope And sleep in Angel’s wings We’ll have our cake and ice cream And open gifts, surprise! But we don’t blow out our candles here Instead, they light the skies by Kris Smith Happy 1st Birthday Bridgette All Our Love Mummy, Daddy and Charlotte xoxo P.S. Hope you like your Butterflies - one for each month you should have been here with us An angel opened the book of life and wrote down Harry James Martin birth. Then she whispered as she closed the book... "too beautiful for earth" Harry James Martin 29.1.2012
For Evie, Our darling angel, Mummy & Daddy always think of you. We continue to walk around our home talking to you as if you're here with us because in our minds and hearts you never left us. We visit your resting place with heavy hearts a few times a week & we leave feeling revitalised with the feeling that you were there proud of us and showing us off to all your friends. Daddy reads your storybooks to you & Mummy always makes your flower arrangements look brilliant and she still wears your little pink hat very close to her heart every day. Why we do this is because you're our loving, beautiful, darling little daughter & you always will be. Keep enjoying the sweet butterflies, sweet girl. We love you our precious little chicken xoxo Mummy, Daddy, Miss Pepper and Cooper.
To Tianna With Love; God chose a little angel To come to earth one day; To bring much joy and happiness And then was meant to stay. So as this little angel journeyed Along a path so rough God realised his bidding of This angel was too tough; So in his loving wisdom, He recalled this special angel home To live with him in heaven And never more to roam On earth there was much sadness That this angel did depart But she had done gods bidding, And entered in their hearts. So from this day forever more This angel will abide Safely in gods mansion With Lord Jesus by her side. Til We Meet Again, Love Mummy, Big Sister Zaylie, Aunty Sarah & Uncle Troy, Nanny And Grandma..
Charlotte – our rainbow – you were welcomed and farewelled at 21 weeks by our choice due to genetic interruption but you will always be our beautiful little girl and we will always know you are our second daughter. Angel Day – 25 March 2011. Our thoughts are also with everyone who is touched by this newsletter. We hope our rainbow watches over you also.