For an unforgettable few weeks in 1997 Anne was a mother-to-be of twins - longed for babies conceived via IVF.

Sadly, very soon after seeing two healthy heartbeats, Anne suffered a miscarriage, claiming the lives of the two babies who would have grown to call her 'Mum'. After 12 harrowing years of IVF and another 17 failed embryo transfers, Anne never fell pregnant again.

"In all the years since I lost the twins I never considered myself a mother. I felt that because it was an early miscarriage, I didn't have the right to grieve," she said. “But to me, as soon as I saw those heartbeats, they were very real babies. I had all the same hopes and dreams of a life ahead with them as any other pregnant woman."

It wasn't until many years later when Anne first became involved with Sands that her identity as a mother was recognised.

"It was a watershed moment for me to be invited to a Sands meeting. To have others acknowledge and validate my experience. To be met with understanding instead of pity.”

“In the Sands community there is no hierarchy of grief. My miscarried babies were acknowledged as being as real as any other baby, not the clump of cells that so many said they were,” Anne said.

It meant so much for Anne to be accepted as a bereaved mother that she is now a volunteer parent supporter with Sands and will spend Mothers’ Day supporting others on Sands’ national support phone line.

“Helping others is my way of honouring the lives of my twins,” she said.

Anne will spend the quiet moments, however, in reflection of her own experience. 

"It's one day of the year when I give myself permission to grieve, something any therapist will tell you is an important part of the healing and recovery process, " Anne said.