Four women who’ve touched the lives of so many parents this year

We want to recognise each one of our incredible Mum’s Voice Award nominees for the difference they have made in the lives of so many parents who have lost little ones across the past year.

Tommy's blog, 09/01/2017

The loss of a baby is a cruel and devastating thing which can be made harder if mothers are made to feel that they cannot or should not talk about their pain.

At Tommy’s, we are always championing parents who have the courage to speak out about their experience and help us try to break the silence and stigma around baby loss.

By blogging about what they have been through, they have shown other parents that they are not alone, that it’s ok to talk about your hurt if you want to and given advice and support to others who are facing loss

The Tommy’s Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate individuals who have done incredible things to show support to someone during some of the hardest times of their lives.

The Sling Studio Mum’s Voice Award, celebrates a mother who has used her voice after a devastating experience of loss to help other mums and dads.

Last year we awarded the incredible Leigh Kendall this title. Leigh has used her blog, Headspace Perspective, to create something beautiful and lasting from the loss of her beautiful baby boy Hugo who sadly passed away after 35 days.

‘After Hugo died I just wanted to write, I used my blog to write about HELLP syndrome, giving people warnings about what it stands for, what the warning signs are, and I wrote Hugo’s story as well.’

Leigh said that all she had wanted from Hugo’s legacy was to make a difference, something she has achieved on an extraordinary level.

Recently Leigh wrote for Tommy’s about New Year as a bereaved parent; you can read her touching and thoughtful words here.

This year, we have four incredible nominees for this award who have all made a difference in their own way.

Who they are and why we chose them

Jess Clasby-Monk

Jess is a proud mother to baby Leo who was born sleeping in January 2016. Since the devastating loss of Leo Jess has used her blog, The Legacy of Leo, to come to terms with the grief she and her wife faced after losing Leo and to raise awareness of baby loss.

Jess has gone on BBC radio Oxford to share Leo’s story and more recently opened up about pregnancy after loss, as she is currently 14 weeks pregnant.

‘This isn’t a normal pregnancy. We will try and tap into the normal aspects as much as possible, but there is a limit, and for people to support us in this pregnancy, they need to understand that our thoughts about the future come with caveats, ifs and buts.’ Read more

Jess wrote about Tommy’s collaboration with Selfish Mother last year and how the jumpers gave her confidence in calling herself a mother; you can read her heartening post here.

Sam Jones

Sam is the proud mother of baby Guy who was born sleeping in November 2015. Sam began blogging at Storms and Rainbows at the start of her third pregnancy, which sadly also ended in miscarriage.

Sam has blogged about her journey through stillbirth and recurrent miscarriage, more recently talking about her clinical experience of receiving tests results from the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic.

‘It was so easy to be disappointed by ‘normal’ results. But looking at the bigger picture, this is nothing but good news. I think the disappointment lies in the fact that it doesn’t give us answers to our previous miscarriages.’ Read more

Sam wrote a blog for us about how social media can help bereaved parents find and support each other through the toughest experience of their lives; you can read her insightful piece here.

Michelle Tolfrey

Michelle is mum to baby Orla who was born sleeping in May 2016. Following her loss, Michelle began writing Orla daily letters to help her process her overwhelming emotions.

Michelle has used her blog, Dear Orla, to speak out about the heartbreak of losing Orla, her experience of stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy and pregnancy after loss, as well as the impact these experiences have had on her and her husband Andy.

‘I have had to navigate a world that continues even though mine has been shattered.  And this was all without warning, without any time to prepare or make sense. But I guess there is no sense: it just is.’ Read more

Michelle is pregnant again and writing about her journey of pregnancy after loss. She wrote for us about going into Christmas pregnant again and uncomfortable contrast between the festivities and how she was actually feeling; you can read her honest account here.

Jemma Willson

Jemma is an incredibly brave mother who writes at Mayflower Blogs. She has spoken out about her experience of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and severe anxiety following recurrent miscarriage.

Following her miscarriages, Jemma has gone on to have two children but continues to talk openly about how she has struggled to overcome the anxieties left by her losses and the way this can spill into her parenting.

‘It’s just another effect left over from the utter trauma and devastation I went through when going through my miscarriages…I convinced myself [my daughter] wouldn’t be mine, just like the others, and from that, comes this long term denial I’m now stuck with.’ Read more

Jemma wrote for us last year about how she is not the same person she was before miscarriage; you can read her powerful blog here.

Each one of these incredible mothers deserves recognition for what they do. Unfortunately we can only award one of these wonderful women the title of Mum’s Voice Award Winner 2017.

You can email us at [email protected] to let us know who you think our winner should be. Please put the title of their blog in the subject line.

We want to say thank you, both from us and on behalf of everyone who has felt comforted or supported by these blogs, for everything they have done following their experiences. They truly are an inspiration!

If you want to find out more about the Tommy’s Awards you can read more about last year’s winners on our website.

If you want to read more from our fantastic nominees, you can do so at their blogs:

Mayflower Blogs

The Legacy of Leo

Dear Orla

Storms and Rainbows

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