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As you will have seen from the blog header and Twitter profile, June marks #SandsAwarenessMonth.

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This is an opportunity to raise awareness of charities like Sands that offer help and support for bereaved  parents and their families, friends, colleagues and the health care professionals affected.

Charities like Sands, Tamba and Tommy’s are helping families bereaved by stillbirth and neonatal loss and working to improve bereavement care and reduce the number of preventable deaths through research and lobbying decision makers to get this issue on the health agenda.

I want to use this post to explain a little more about what Sands has done to help me and why I think it’s deserving of your donation.

What Sands has meant to me

In the hollow weeks following the stillbirth of our twin sons we heard many variations of the same sentiment.

I don’t know what to say

Sands are very aware of the difficulties of saying the right thing and how often the fear of getting it wrong can lead people to say nothing at all and how this in turn can increase the sense of isolation of parents struggling with their grief.

When I posted the announcement that our sons had not made it I made sure that there was a link to the Sands guides on what to say to help friends and family understand what was and what was not helpful.

When I made my first hesitant steps back towards the mundane horrors of a job that seemed more pointless than ever I sent the Sands guide to my colleagues to help them better understand the insubstantial wraith that would be sitting among them.

When I received a well-intentioned but tragically misjudged attempt at consolation unwittingly dictating to me the terms of my own grief it was a volunteer on the Sands helpline that talked me through the mixed emotions and best handling strategies.

Sands were there when it all got too much and helped me make sense of the maelstrom of thoughts threatening to overwhelm me.

They also helped facilitate the special consultation events for bereaved parents as part of the NHS Maternity Review enabling parents to feed in their experiences into the review and make sure their voices were heard.

How you can help be part of this

All of these activities cost money and while they do receive some Government funding they rely on donations for fundraising to support their helpline, research and campaigns.

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As part of Aoife and John’s  #5for5Challenge  in memory of their son Seamus I sought to raise a modest sum with my blogging challenge to raise awareness and encourage others to share their stories.  Donations help towards the efforts of Sands and Tommy’s to prevent what happened to us from happening to more parents and supporting those where that wasn’t possible.  It also goes towards training and supporting the professionals involved in maternity care so they can help parents and also have their own emotional support.

Chances are if you reading this blog (unless you came here for Paw Patrol rants, in which case I’m sorry but please read on) then you will be familiar with my story and the often brutal accounts of the raw grief that is always there and never fades.  You may have also read my posts on the good and bad of maternity care and the good work going on and what needs to be done to #endstillbirths.

If you have then you will know why a charity like Sands is important to not only parents like me but to expectant parents in helping maximise their chances of a safer birth.

If you are able to contribute even a small donation towards Sands during #SandsAwarenessMonth you are helping to support that work.

Thank you.

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