I am proud and overwhelmed to share that I have been shortlisted for Tommy’s Mum’s Voice Award 2017. This is an award that celebrates mums who have spoken out about their own pregnancy experiences, and in doing so have helped and given hope and support to others. I am honoured to have been shortlisted alongside some other incredible mums who have helped me immensely through 2016 and who are all are worthy of winning. I feel so lucky to know them and their babies, and to be able to call them friends.
I have spoken out about losing Orla, my experience of stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy and pregnancy after loss, the impact that this has on myself and Andy and how we are learning to navigate life after loss and survive our heartbreak – all in the hope that it will make a difference in some way. There is so little that I can do for Orla now that she is gone, but the love I have for her drives me to do anything I can to keep her memory alive, and to try and help others. It is something that I hope would make her, and our future children, proud.
I have openly shared things that I would never have done before, in the anticipation that I can do my little bit towards breaking the silence that I feel exists around pregnancy and child loss. I believe talking is the thing that can make a difference. My passion for improving mental health support for parents has leaked from my work life into my personal one (or rather, crashed into it), and being on the other side of services has meant that I have been given a new and very different perspective. For me, this makes this nomination all the more meaningful.
If you would like to vote for me then you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (with the subject line ‘Dear Orla’), just with a sentence or two on why you would like for me to win. Thank you to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive of my writing on my blog, instagram and Facebook – it has been the most difficult year of my life, but I think the year that I have learnt the most about myself, my values and the priorities I have for life moving forwards. Orla has taught me so much and I owe her everything.
Thank you so much to Tommy’s for the nomination – you are a special charity that has given me hope for the future, both for myself but also that fewer people will have to suffer the heartache that we sadly have in losing Orla.