I am so very proud and delighted to have been named in the Best Campaigner shortlist for the Mumsnet Blogging Awards.
The bloggers in this category have been selected for using their voices to inspire and change the lives of others. What an accolade!
Being shortlisted is a huge achievement in itself, and I’d love to reach the final.
Please would you vote for me to help me reach the finals?
After Hugo died, I wanted his memory to live on by helping others: through raising awareness of HELLP syndrome, which nearly killed me and stole my precious boy away from me; of the needs of NICU families; and of trying to improve support for bereaved parents.
Hugo’s Legacy has achieved more than I ever could have imagined.
- Through my blog, Twitter chats, and conference talks I have told the story of me, my boy, and our journey. I have written and talked about how we shall always be grateful to the staff who did so much for us, who saved my life and gave Hugo the best-possible chance – but wish the communication could have been so much better in order to have prevented much unnecessary additional stress and upset. I have encouraged staff to reflect on how they give news to parents: what they say, how they say it, and when.
- With St George’s neonatal unit, where Hugo was cared for I created a bereavement card with basic information to help parents through the raw early days after their baby has died;
- Bereavement and grief, especially baby loss are still terrible taboos in our culture. Consequently many people are uncertain of what to say, which causes the bereaved unintended further pain and isolation. I have encouraged people to talk about grief and loss, and to say the baby’s name. Something so simple can often offer bereaved parents comfort because we fear our babies will be forgotten.
- With the other fabulous people involved in the #MatExp campaign, I have established a change platform through which people from all walks of life can come together to help women, their families, and the staff who care for them have the best-possible maternity experience. The passion involved never fails to move me.
- Through #MatExp, we set up the Nobody’s Patient project with funding from the Department of Health. We want to help the families like mine who ‘fell between the cracks’ of services, and prevent that unnecessary additional stress and upset.
- Talking openly about my post-traumatic stress disorder, the impact that it has had on my life, and the frustrations of getting the support I needed.
- I want bereaved parents to have a voice, and for us to receive the care we deserve. Bereaved parents are currently excluded from the national patient surveys – with the best of intentions for this sensitive area. The unintended consequence is that decision-makers do not have sight of the needs of families and staff, or the huge gaps that families fall through because the services do not exist because the needs are not recognised because those needs are not detailed in the survey because those groups of families are actively excluded. It is not good enough, and must change.
I could talk about this all day!
Hugo is my life, just as a child is for any parent. Hugo is no longer in my arms, but he is making a difference to the world. His life mattered, and continues to matter. There is nothing that could have been done differently, nothing that could have saved him, and there is nothing that will bring him back.
But I can help others.
The solutions are often so very simple: we need dialogue and better communication. In particular, we need to stop treading on eggshells and give bereaved parents the voice they deserve.
I do not do this for accolades – I do it to help prevent other families enduring similar additional unnecessary pain and torment at an already difficult time.
That said, there is no denying that such an accolade brings with it an unparallelled platform to promote my campaign, and an opportunity to further raise awareness and help others.
It is an honour to be shortlisted with the other five women in this category. Each of them does incredible work, and I would urge you to take some time to browse their blogs.
Please would you spare a moment to vote for me to go through to the Best Campaigner category final?
(If you think I deserve to?)
It is a simple form – all you need to do is vote and it’s done. No other information is asked for, it takes literally 10 seconds. The voting is open until October 7.
There are eight names on the shortlist, and the three (I think) with the most votes will then go through to the final. Winners from each of the categories will be revealed at the BlogFest conference in November.
Mumsnet is the UK’s biggest parent network, and the bloggers’ network is highly respected.