In the middle of November I decided that I needed to actively do something this Christmas to remember Holly. I needed to do something public for her and something that would keep me busy.
I was struggling (and still am) with the prospect of facing Christmas without one of my babies and so I needed a project to keep me busy.
Since losing Holly I have become part of a community on instagram and facebook. Although I wish I never had 'met' these people I am truly thankful to have so many wonderful mamas and papas around the world who I can relate to. This Christmas I decided that I wanted to include them in a project. I wanted them ALL to be remembered and honoured. And so 'The Tree of Remembrance' project was born.
I decided that I wanted to create a Christmas tree decoration for each baby to then hang publically. I needed them to be seen by the public beacuse it is part of Holly's legacy, increasing the awareness for pregnancy loss and breaking the taboo which surrounds it.
I started searching for what decorations I could make and I put a shout out on my IG and FB pages for any parents who would like to take part. The response and love I recieved was overwhelming and spurred me on with my motivation to do something good this Christmas.
After searching different sites for 'weatherproof' Christmas decorations, I came across a beautiful page on making snowflakes out of wooden pegs. This felt just right to me, creating something beautiful out of something ordinary. The link to the page is here should anyone wish to make their own this Christmas!
My next challenge was finding somewhere to hang the decorations. Sadly, it was extremely disappointing to find that so many places wouldn't give me permission in letting me hang the decorations. I must have contacted well over 10 places to be told various reasons as to why they couldn't. I got a plain and simple 'no we cant help you' to a 'no it conflicts with those women who can't fall pregnant' (I still don't understand that one!) to a 'no we cant as then we would have to do it for everybody.' Every no I recieved was extremely saddening to me. I had 33 snowflakes to hang in total and I really was so sure someone would help. I decided not to be defeated as the constant 'no's' just encouraged me even more to help break the taboo surrounding baby loss. So I decided to just 'wing it' and I went down to my local, beautiful park today and hung them on a tree over looking the pond. We had lots of people walk past and comment on how beautiful they are and I am proud to say that many of them had tears in their eyes when they heard of the story behind the project.
I really hope that they dont get taken down too soon. We don't have permission for using the land but for the time they are there I KNOW that they will bring a lot of love, tears and hopefully encourage people to start talking when it comes to the topic of baby loss.
I also decided to set up a donation page to cover the cost of making the snowflakes waterproof with the rest of the money going to ECHO, a charity which is very close to my heart. Evelina Children's Heart Organisation (ECHO) based at Evelina Hospital, London, diagnosed Holly's poorly heart when I was 20 weeks pregnant and provided much needed love and support for the 5 weeks that we struggled on. The care and support that they provide is so very important to the parents and the children who are diagnosed with heart problems. After Holly was born I managed to raise a little over £1000 for them and I have made a promise that I will continue to support them for as long as I can. If you would like to make a donation then please follow this link, I would be so very thankful.
Now on to the important part, our babies! 33 snowflakes made to remember 34 beautiful babies. Mama's and Papa's it was an absolute HONOUR to be able to do this. Some of these babies I know so very well and some less so but I want you to know that they are all so very loved. I tried my hardest to make sure each snowflake was perfect for them. I have tried to keep families of babies together as much as possible and so you will see in the gallery that there are some groups of snowflakes together as well as all singles too.
Being able to honour your babies has given me something positive to do this Christmas. Holly isn't here for me to mother and so doing this project has really helped me in being able to 'mother' her in a different way. Thank you so very much and know tonight that our babies are playing in the remembrance tree together, swinging on its branches, watching over the ducks in the pond and gazing at the stars.
It has been an honour.
On the 7th September 2016 at 25 weeks gestation, Holly was born, still after a battle with complete heart block.