Wednesday, 25 January 2017

When anyone we love dies our lives are changed; things we had planned will no longer be the same. The death of a baby is the least expected death, and the ongoing effect upon the remaining family can seem endless. One of the commonest things I hear said is: “You don’t expect to attend the funeral of your children.”
We assume in life that we will grow old, having watched our children become people and take their place in the adult world.
When your baby dies, whether through stillbirth, miscarriage or suddenly, we can feel that we have failed as parents. We were unable to stop them from dying, and the torturous feelings of failure coupled with vastness of loss can be horrendous. 
Relationships with friends may be difficult too and it is normal to feel isolated and to be unable to express or discuss feelings even with those closest to you. Some couples keep their feelings to themselves in an effort to protect each other.
Sexual intimacy may also be affected by any bereavement but between parents it is normal for the sexual relationship to suffer. Physical/sexual intimacy may feel uncomfortable and both men and women may experience a lack of desire alongside a need to be close.
Longing for another baby may also be a confusing emotion that parents may not wish to discuss or share… there may be guilt at the thought of replacing your baby but these thoughts are normal and part of the search for and wanting to make life how it once was.
so how can you help yourselves?
Facing the death is the beginning… talking about your feelings even though it is painful and sometimes frightening. Communicating your thoughts, no matter how strange they may seem, can be very helpful. Often, partners share the same thoughts but are afraid to say them to each other.
If you have photographs keep them around so that others can talk about your baby and your loss more easily. sometimes friends and family are worried about upsetting you, when in fact not talking about it can make you feel more upset.
Counselling can be helpful, being able to talk about feelings in a non-judgemental and safe place can be enormously comforting and beneficial, but  we are aware that  for some people, counselling is not an option for many reasons,
There are some wonderful organisations available who offer support and understanding for more information
Men only group

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Over the last year there has been a few programmes on TV that have covered the subject of child and baby loss.

Some of them have tried hard to get the details right and have done a reasonably good job of portraying the devastation that is caused to the parents and other family members.

Some of the details however have not always been true to life. 

In the programmes it usually shows the support given to the families as being good and given very soon after the tragedy. 
We know from our own experience and from other families we have spoken with that this is not always the case.

Understandably the television producers like to show the better side of the support given as they are trying to cover the actual process for the family following their loss.

What would be a more realistic programme would be one showing the parents struggling to find the support they need, or being let down by the services that should be giving help and advice. 

We know this would probably make even tougher viewing than the ones already shown but it would help those families that have been
overlooked to realise that they should have been given help and where they should be getting it from.

A lot of the stories shown also show the parents having a lot of family support to help them with everything that needs to be done following the death, yet again we know that there are single mums and couples out there that have no family to fall back on or do not have access to the internet to enable them to research what they need to do.

The most recent TV programme showing the effects on the family is Coronation Street and the two actors playing the parts have both themselves gone through such a tragedy. 
This has made it even more poignant and realistic as they have been able to call on their own experiences. This must have also made it a very difficult part for them to act out as well as it would bring all their own emotions back to the surface again.

So far the show has been really good at showing the events that parents will go through in this situation and have not shown it through rose tinted glasses. They have shown the feelings of anger that are felt and how that anger can be aimed at each other. They have shown the grandparent struggling with her emotions but keeping them away from the mum and dad as she doesn't want to trouble them with her sadness.

I hope that they continue to cover the subject in such a powerful and realistic way and that they show that there is a long way to go for the family to try and repair themselves.

The actress, Kym Marsh, has used the programme to help her publicise a petition asking for babies born at 20 weeks onward to be given a birth certificate. Currently the birth certificates are only given to babies born from 24 weeks. 

The petition is on the site and is called 'Department of health uk, allow registered birth certificates for children born from 20 weeks'. 

We think that this is such an important thing that we want to ask all of our supporters to go along and sign both our petition and theirs. The more support families are given at this awful time the better.

All families that have experienced the death of their baby or child all say that they want their child's life to be recognised and remembered. 
By changing the ruling to provide birth certificates from 20 weeks is going some way to achieve this. 
To these parents their baby was here, they existed, and by not being able to have a birth certificate can take feeling away. 

We are also hoping that because these programmes are starting to show this subject that the people in parliament and the government will start to take notice of what is being said. 
It is a shame that it has to take the TV to get the publicity this topic deserves but if it initiates the start of improvements then that can only be good for families.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

If the first week of the new year is anything to go by then 2017 is going to be an amazing year for us.

We have already started looking into events that we are going to host and have started the emails and phone calls to companies to help us. 
Once we have a list of events for the year we will share them with you.

Our campaign for the improvements to bereavement support for bereaved families has already got us sending messages to the local CCG to get them into a meeting with us to discuss where Leeds is going regarding the improvements that are so desperately needed.

We will not let up on our mission to get every family the help and support they need and deserve following the loss of a baby or child. Our campaign is still going and we are determined to get the signatures up to the 10,000 mark thus getting it on the agenda within parliament. If you have not yet signed it please do and share it with everyone you know.

There are still Just Giving campaigns running and we also have 3 projects that require your votes/signatures.

On Just Giving we have the 'Memorial Garden' campaign, raising funds for us to provide families with a beautiful memorial garden for them to have in honour of their baby or child.

There are two very special girls that we have put forward to the Yorkshire Choice Awards 2017 for the Young Achiever award. 

They are Rhiann & Amy Curtis who are Charlies cousins.

When we lost Charlie they were 6 & 4 but they wanted to be involved with every event we have organised to raise money for the charity. 

They have baked cakes and stood outside local shops selling them, they spoke with their school headteacher who agreed to hold a non uniform day to raise money, they come along to bucket shaking days and often spend many hours stood holding buckets always with a smile on their faces.

We think they are such caring, compassionate and hard working little girls who really should be recognised for their dedication and commitment to their cousins memory.

If you would like to help us get the recognition they deserve please go along and give them a vote.

There is also the Galaxy Hot Chocolate fund that gives small grants to charities and ventures that help and support the local communities. If we were lucky enough to be given this fund it would help us to keep supporting families at our Community Support Meetings and providing our bereavement packs to families.

These are just some of the ways you can help and support us and we are always looking for other ways for people to raise funds for us.

If you would like to raise funds for us by running a race, climbing a mountain, sitting in a bath of beans or embarking on a sponsored event please get in touch with us and we can help you set up a Just Giving page for Charlies-Angel-Centre.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year

What a year 2016 was for Charlies-Angel-Centre. 

We have seen the charity go from strength to strength, and the families we are now supporting has grown so much. 

Whilst it is sad that we are getting more families referred to us as it means that more babies and children have grown their angel wings, the positive side is that these families now have somewhere they can go to for the help and support they need.

Our confidence in organising and hosting fundraising events has grown so much as well. 
We still doubt ourselves at times and wonder what on earth we have taken on, but every event we have taken on has turned out to be a great success. This is not only down to our increased knowledge and confidence but your support and backing for us.

This year has also seen businesses start to realise that we are a charity they can get behind. This has been through them sponsoring events such as our very first Charity Ball back in September to donating items or services we can use as raffle prizes. Without their support we would have found certain events harder to arrange.

Our local community have also shown us their support through attending events, allowing us to fund raise in their premises, donating prizes and their time, allowing us to use their rooms to hold functions and meetings and by doing all of these things again & again. 
The support we receive always amazes us but it also shows us how important the work we are doing is.

Our website and social media has gained more and more viewers during 2016 and we have had people from all over the world both visiting our site and getting in touch with us.

We often look at the statistics to see how many visits and from which areas, every time we do it it blows our minds that people so far away are taking an interest in what we are doing.

During November & December 2016 our website had 25,324 views from countries such as South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Germany, Canada, USA, China, Japan, Italy and the UK.

We have even had phone calls in the middle of the night from families in the USA looking for our support and help.

When looking back at all the events we have organised or attended in 2016 it fills us with pride at what we have been able to achieve and what an amazing legacy Charlie Arthur Curtis has left. 

His name will always go hand in hand with 'improving provisions for bereaved families following the death of their baby or child'.

For such a small little boy he has achieved such an enormous amount. 

Here are a few of the things we have done over the last 12 months.

We are looking forward to 2017 as we think it is going to be an even better year for the charity than 2016.

We hope to see as many of you as possible at the events we will be hosting and we will continue to keep you up to date with everything that happens.

Thank you for all your support during 2016 and for the support we know you will give us throughout 2017.