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All mothers matter this Mothers' Day

International Bereaved Mothers Day6 May

Mothers’ Day: a day that celebrates maternal bonds and honours the role mothers play in families and society.

But what does Mothers’ Day look like for women mourning the loss of that special bond through the death of a baby?

Each year in Australia almost 2500 mothers suffer the death of their baby through stillbirth. 700 more women lose their newborns within the first few weeks of life. It’s estimated that another 103,000 experience pregnancy loss through miscarriage.

That's 1 in every 4 women for whom the self-identity 'mother' rests on shaky ground.

Sands CEO, Andre Carvalho, says that for the thousands of bereaved mothers his organisation supports, Mothers' Day can be an acutely painful time.

“Family celebrations and other significant occasions can be stark reminders of the absence of a baby who has died,” he said.

“These are milestones that everyone takes for granted but for bereaved parents they can be very isolating.”

Mr Carvalho said that Mothers’ Day can be particularly difficult – even many years later – because so much meaning is entrenched in the concept of motherhood in society.

“A bereaved mother’s experience of motherhood is inconceivably different to someone whose journey has taken the typical path.”

“Alongside the death of her baby she also loses her identity as a mother. Because hers is largely an invisible loss, her motherhood is not always recognised or acknowledged.”

Since 2010 International Bereaved Mothers’ Day has taken place in the week before ‘traditional’ Mothers’ Day to give grieving mothers an opportunity to honour their role.

“International Bereaved Mothers’ Day is an important day to observe in the Sands community. It provides a sense of inclusion, community and comfort for women who’ve experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death,” Mr Carvalho said.

“It gives bereaved mothers the opportunity to acknowledge that although they may not have a baby in their arms, they are still a mother.”

 

Parent Stories

Sands Mums Anne Altamore, Ashleigh Rousseaux and Heidi Welsh know what it is like to grapple with the question of “am I still a mother?” They speak about some of the challenges they each face at this time of year here.

 

Are you our new Chairperson?

We're searching for a new Chairperson to provide leadership for our board and executive team and, along with the CEO, to act as the public face of Sands in an ambassadorial role. Interested or know someone who might be?

The successful candidate will have highly-regarded senior experience in strategic leadership, financial management expertise, knowledge and experience in the not-for-profit sector as well as a strong and visible sense of passion and commitment to Sands and its objectives. To ensure Sands remains an organisation for bereaved parents, by bereaved parents, the Chair must also be a bereaved parent.

For further details about the position requirements and how to apply visit our careers page.

Breaking the silence surrounding miscarriage

Our CEO, Andre Carvalho, spoke with Daily Telegraph journalist Alison Stephenson this week about the silence that still surrounds the experience of miscarriage.

His comments were made in response to the news that Australian actress Claire Holt had gone public about her own experience of miscarriage to her almost 4 million Instagram followers.

Andre spoke about the power of shared stories in the public domain to raise awareness of miscarriage and to help others feel less alone.

He explained how Holt’s bravery in speaking out about the “taboo subject” would help others.

“Just by Claire’s action we have already seen thousands of people who’ve felt they like too can share their story,” he said.

“That in itself is a really positive step and I think that’s why it’s important to recognise Claire and (her fiance) Andrew (Joblon) for speaking out.”

Check out the article here: Aussie actress Claire Holt reveals miscarriage heartbreak in hopes women share their stories

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Sydney & Adelaide volunteer training opportunities

VPSAre you a bereaved parent living in Adelaide or Sydney?

Has it been 12 months or more since your most recent loss?

Does the idea of providing emotional support to other bereaved parents and families on our 1300 0 phone line appeal to you?

If so, we'd love to hear from you.

Our Volunteer Parent Supporters play an integral part in the delivery of our support services across Australia.

Volunteers take calls from bereaved parents through a smart phone app - there's no requirement for you to travel or attend our offices for your volunteer shift.

We will be conducting a full one-day training session in Sydney and Adelaide as follows:

Adelaide - Saturday 7 April

Sydney - Thursday 12 April (city location)

If you are interested and available to attend,  please register your interest here

For more information see our Volunteer Parent Supporter position description.