Friday, February 25, 2011


There is a beautiful quote in Yasminah's scrapbook that sums up exactly how I am feeling at the moment.

Time is too slow for those who wait,

too swift for those who fear,

too long for those who grieve,

too short for those who rejoice,

but for those who love,

time is eternity

Henry Van Dyke

Last night, well actually 3am this morning I finally collapsed into my bed. Exhausted from the days events of cleaning, washing, visitors, cooking, tears, tantrums, baths and bedtime stories. Followed by my nightly ritual of a cup of tea, TV, catching up on emails and completing another custom made journal, I had time to reflect. I always like to reflect on the day that was and as I glanced at my phone I noticed the date.

25th February 2011

Where had time gone? It hit me like a ten tone truck ramming into my chest that Yasminah's birthday was only 1 day and 1 month away. The tears flowed. How could this be? How has it been that long since I held my baby girl in my arms and gently kissed her little button nose. Had I been so caught up in my life that I didn't realize how close we were to her 2nd birthday.

It seems crazy that I didn't know it was that close. I have been organising her birthday celebration for months. A beautiful butterfly release in a peaceful parkland. Close to nature with a place for her brother and sisters to play and her family and friends to gather and remember. Also a chance to meet those that the charity set up in her honour and memory has helped during this journey of loss. People who have helped me through my grief and over time become friends who are like family.

I want to celebrate her life, instead of mourning her loss. Yasminah was and is still a huge part of our life. She is my first daughter, my precious little angel, who I will love for eternity.

It is amazing that someone so small who never drew breath can have such a profound impact on your life and how you spend your time!

Gift Of Hope for Alexandra Charlotte Blue

A Gift Of Hope for Gavin and Kelly

Alexandra Charlotte Blue was born sleeping at 33 weeks on the 9th of April 2006

Sending Gavin, Kelly, and their three sons

Hope, Light, Love and Happiness

Thank you Gavin for all that you give back to the community, because of your own heartache and the loss of your daughter Alexandra. I wish I had known about the wonderful work Heartfelt can provide families when Yasminah was born sleeping and will do what I can to make sure that every family knows about Heartfelt. I am forever grateful for your support for Yasminah's Gift Of Hope and friendship. You and the wonderful team of photographers behind Heartfelt provide the most precious gift of all, providing families who will travel this road and join this club no one asks to join, with photographic memories of their precious child.

For more information on Heartfelt please see their website

Saturday, February 19, 2011


You may notice that I share insipirational quotes or little messages of hope, love and support through our website, facebook page and twitter.

I find comfort in reading these and sometimes a personal connection to the quote or message.

They aren't always about grief or loss, or love and hope. Sometimes they are just little messages of support or inspiration to bring us all back to earth and make us think twice about what we do with each day we are alive.

I have a few personal favourites, too many to list all of them here, but this is a small selection. They may not speak to every one but I believe in them and the power of the positive thinking that comes from reading them.

Everything happens for a reason

"Life: It is about the gift not the package it comes in." Dennis P. Costea, Jr

The best and most beautiful things can not be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller

If there were not hope, the heart would break. Ancrene Wisse

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King Jr

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person. Mother Teresa

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears. John Vance Cheney

The best way to cheer yourself up, is to cheer someone else up. Mark Twain

Everyday tell at least one person something you like, admire or appreciate about them. Richard Carlson

We must be the change we wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

You gotta dance like nobody's watching, dream like you will live forever, live like you're going to die tomorrow and love like it's never going to hurt. Meme Grifsters

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars

I am warmth, I am love, I am a continuous life force, I am energy, I am broken, I sacrifice, I HEAL! Listen to my plea, mend your ways, share your dreams, return the good I share with you all. As I renew, so shall mankind. We are all of the one energy. Connect with me always for my energy is your energy. Together we will heal. Namaste Lin

Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back. Harvey MacKay

Then of course there is my quote

Sending you Hope, Light, Love, Happiness

Find hope to keep you strong,
Find light to lead the way,
Find love all around you,
Find Happiness one day...

This is a very personal message and is actually about my four children.

Zachariah our eldest child gave us hope. After TTC for so many years, just when we were about to give up on the idea of ever having our own children I fell pregnant with Zach. There was hope! He also kept me strong the days after losing Yasminah. Zach gave me a reason to get up in the morning and keep going when all I really wanted to do was crawl into a corner and die.

Yasminah is our light. Having Yasminah opened our eyes to the world around us. She has filled our lives with light and continues to shine down on us. Yasminah has changed my life incredibly as a person and her mother. She has opened a world I never knew existed and continues to guide me to help others through my own pain.

Then Aisha and Aaliyah gave us love and happiness at a time when we needed it the most. Having our twins, and them surviving after being born so premature gave me incredible hope. They filled and continue to fill my life with complete love and happiness.

So finding hope to keep you strong, is about finding that person who will keep you going, or that special something to keep you strong. There is another saying 'there is always a light at the end of the tunnel' and I have to believe that there is. It may not seem that way in the early days when you are mourning everything you have lost, but it does get easier and you will begin to come out again into the world, into the light. Every one deserves to be loved and I hope that families are surrounded by love through their journey. I hope that everyone find's happiness one day...

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. Hugh Downs

What quotes or messages speak to you and give you hope?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Erin Carmody New Vice President YGOH

We are delighted to share that Erin Carmody is the New Vice President of Yasminah's Gift Of Hope Incorporated.

Erin and her husband Michael recently experienced the devastating, neonatal loss of their son Aiden. Erin and myself connected through a mutual friend. I personally offered Erin my support and understanding, as well as a Gift Of Hope. Erin and her family and friends have donated Gifts of Hope in memory of Aiden for other families to receive but she wanted to do more.

This is Aiden's Custom Made Gift Of Hope

Erin knows personally what a difference A Gift Of Hope can make to a family and the support YGOH can provide from one parent to another who knows exactly what they are going through following the premature birth or loss of their child.

Erin graciously accepted the challenging role of Vice President, even after I bombarded her with the responsibilities of the Vice President role and our current projects. Erin has drive and passion, with a kind, caring nature and the commitment required to fulfill this role. She is the perfect addition to our family.

Please welcome Erin to YGOH's family. We will be updating our website to reflect these changes over the coming weeks. Erin will also be adding her own personal touch to our Gift Of Hope and sharing her story of Aiden.

I would like to personally thank her from the bottom of my heart for her passion and commitment to helping provide families with support, understanding and a Gift Of Hope.

Sending you Hope, Light, Love and Happiness

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gift Of Hope for Levi Asher Simpson

A gift of Hope for Dimity, Paul and their two older sons
with love from their friends Miriam and Marc

Levi Asher Simpson was born sleeping at 26 weeks on the 11th February 2011 weighing 840g and measuring 32cm long

Sending the Simpson family Hope, Light, Love and Happiness
at this difficult time

Gift Of Hope for Jacob and Olivia White

Jacob White was born sleeping at 15 weeks on the 18th September 2009

The following year his family had another child, Olivia Paige White who was born at 25 weeks and 1 day on 24th August 2010 weighing 754g and measuring 32cm long. Olivia spent 57 days in ICU and 24 in Special Care. Olivia is now 5 months old (6.5 weeks corrected) and has Chronic Lung Disease so is currently on oxygen 24 hours a day.

Sending the White family Hope, Light, Love and Happiness

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Corrected 1st Birthday

Today Aisha and Aaliyah were due to arrive. I still find it hard to believe that they are 14 months old. Let alone that they were born 8 weeks and 2 days premature, and that we made it through NICU.

It is amazing to me that they survived, given their premature age and the challenges they faced when born, but they did have their own personal guardian angel watching over them and a wonderful team of Doctors and Nurses who we are very thankful to.

Yesterday we had their 12 month corrected age, growth and development assessment. It basically assesses their weight, height, problem solving skills, language skills and gross motor development. A paediatrician performed a physical examination and a psychologist completed a series of tests to see how their skills are developing.

We were at the hospital for 3 hours. Not an easy task when you have 3 children, aged 3 and under in a tiny room with no windows. But we made it through with snacks, hugs and laughter with a few tears thrown in for good measure.

At birth Aisha weighed 1554g and was 41cm long.
At 14 months, 12 months corrected Aisha weighs 9.56kg and is 74.3cm long

At birth Aaliyah weighed 1773g and was 41.5cm long.
At 14 months, 12 months corrected Aaliyah weighs 9.36kg and is 74.4cm long

So suffice to say that their growth is outstanding. The last time we visited for their assessment was when they were 8 months, 6 months corrected. At that time they were both still breastfed and having a lot of difficulty with reflux. I managed to continue breastfeeding them until they were 8 months old but sadly they stopped gaining weight and lost interest, so we weaned them across to an anti reflux formula and we haven't looked back. Establishing solids was difficult, but that has also settled and they eat a wide variety of food. They both LOVE their veggies especially peas! And just like their dad and their brother cheese and yoghurt are their favourite.

Aisha and Aaliyah's problem solving skills are considered above average for their age. Their gross motor skills were slightly below average. They have only just begun to pull to stand and Aisha chose this day to pull up to stand all on her own. My husband and I looked on with amazement as Aisha pulled up with all her might to stand on her own two feet. Today both of the girls have been pulling up to stand. Their older brother walked at 11.5 months and honestly I did not think the girls would be walking until they were about 18 months but you never know...... The Doctors have recommended we obtain some physiotherapy for both of them to help them progress and develop their gross motor skills. If they haven't improved or they are not walking by 18 months then we need to phone to make another appointment, but fingers crossed with some encouragement they will be walking and running in no time.

Their language skills were also assessed by the psychologist. They say all the usual words like mum, mumma, dad, dadda, Za (which is Zach) and recently added bye, bye to their repertoire. We read a lot of books and have done since they were born. One of their favourite books is The very hungry caterpillar. Aisha just a few days ago pointed to my t-shirt and said ba. She was pointing at the butterfly in our logo, on my t-shirt. I was so proud, my baby is beginning to say real words, understand things around her and communicate with these new found skills. During Aaliyahs assessment a series of objects were placed in front of her and she was asked where the dolly was. Aaliyah reached for the dolly and said bubba! Another first for Aaliyah. Aisha was considered as average for her language skills and Aaliyah as above average.

Overall they were very happy with their growth and development and we don't need to go back! After 14 months they have been given the all clear! Happy corrected 1st Birthday to my two beautiful girls, we love watching you grow and develop and are so very proud of you. Thank you for bringing so much love and happiness into our lives

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love bites, squeezy hugs & haircuts

Personally I love to be hugged. Some people love kisses, some like hugs, some prefer to shake hands. But I am a self confessed hug-aholic. There is no greater feeling than being hugged.

In our family we lovingly refer to hugs as squeezy hugs. They basically involve a warm embrace, with our arms squeezing each other tight ie squeezy hug.
Aisha and Aaliyah have only recently started giving us squeezy hugs. It is so wonderful when your children can start returning the love and warms my heart that they are now at an age where they understand. Aisha is just like me, loves giving and receiving hugs. She gives the BEST hugs she snuggles into your neck, rests her head on your shoulder and wraps her arms around you ahhh! I Just LOVE it!

One other thing Aisha loves to do is bite :/ She most recently gave me what we have nick-named love bites, whilst giving me a squeezy hug. Ouch! Boy oh boy did it hurt! She sunk her teeth right into my shoulder, whilst her arms were lovingly wrapped around my neck. Aisha also likes to give love bites to her sister Aaliyah. We discovered Aisha had sunk her teeth into Aaliyahs arm. The evidence is right there and she even drew blood. Poor Aaliyah

Aisha and Aaliyah like any sisters have a real love, hate relationship. They can be the best of friends laughing and playing nicely with each other, then in an instant they are fighting over a toy, biting, pulling each others hair, pushing, kicking and climbing over each other. They share an amazing bond, two peas in a pod but their personalities are completely opposite! Chalk and cheese really.

Then there are haircuts! Zach has always had a problem with us cutting his hair, ever since I can remember. We have tried everything and even taking him to a barber didn't help. If you were to walk past our house whilst we are giving Zach a haircut, you would be mistaken to think he was in immense pain and being held against his will......well he kinda is. It is a military operation that involves me holding Zach in a squeezy hug so he doesn't freak out whilst my husband trims his hair with the clippers. We have tried bribery with chocolate, lollies, ice cream, cars, and toys and he will still scream, cry and carry on like we are hurting him and trying to cut off his head.
It's not his fault though, he has trouble dealing with his emotions and controlling his reactions to the world around him. You see Zach has some developmental delays that I wont go into a lot of detail about here, other than say that they suspect he has some form of autism, but can't make an official diagnosis as yet because of his age. He is 3 and a half, even though to look at him you would think he was 5 or 6.

It is still hard for me to believe that my affectionate, caring, bright, artistic, young man could be autistic, but I have had to learn to accept that there could be something wrong. He has been through a lot, and sometimes I blame myself, wondering if it was something I did or didn't do. Is it because I was too consumed in my grief for Yasminah at a crucial stage of his development. Have I failed him as a mother, and parent in not seeing that something was wrong sooner. He was always ahead of his peers in his development (yes one of those kids) he walked at 11.5 months, was saying lots of words then sometime after or before we lost Yasminah his vocabulary slowed down. The sad thing is I can't even pinpoint an exact time. Most kids his age can tell you their name, how old they are, where they live, and talk in 5-6 word sentences. Zach has only just mastered answering 'What is your name?' and we are working on 'How old are you?' but I suspect by the time he knows he is 3, he could be 4 lol so then we would need to start again.
The surprising thing is he has a thirst for knowledge and an outstanding long term memory of the strangest things. For example clothes he has received as birthday or Christmas presents, he can tell you when he got them and who they were from. So everyday when we are getting dressed I will hear 'nanna's shirt, Christmas' or 'mummys jumper, birthday'.

Then there is the iPhone - he picked this up the moment we got it and can use it like a pro, better than most adults and has even taught me a thing or too about it! We made the decision to get him an iPad as our developmental paediatrician recommended some wonderful applications we could use to encourage him to communicate with us and extend his vocabulary and help him understand the world around him. I have to say I honestly think it has helped. We have to constantly prepare him for new situations, places or people, otherwise it can be too overwhelming for him and cause him a lot of distress.

Which brings me back to squeezy hugs! When he gets distressed he likes squeezy hugs. I have read somewhere that children on the autism spectrum like to be held tight and enjoy firm overall pressure. This is a whole new world to me and just like being a mum to an angel, having a child on the autism spectrum is like belonging to a club no one asks to join...........We will just keep taking it one squeezy hug and haircut at a time

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Custom Made Journals

I have always kept a journal, but never realised how many I actually owned.

I own a lot of them and these are just the ones I found in my studio!

Each one is about a different moment in my life. Dating my now husband, planning our wedding and trying to conceive our first child.

The ones that had the most impact on my life were Yasminah's pregnancy journal and Aisha and Aaliyah's journals through NICU.

Yasminah's journal is still something that I only occasionally open up to read. There is raw emotion, memories and pain sprawled across the pages. The days following her death, were very dark filled with questions, anger, tears, and feelings of loneliness, depression and helplessness. But writing my way through my grief, three things were very clear. The profound love I have for my child, hope for the future and support from those around me.

Writing is often used in grief counselling, particurly refelective writing. Studies show that reflective writing after the loss of a loved one, can positvely impact on reducing emotional abuse and self harm.

Reflective Writing is a practice in which the writer describes a real or imaginal scene, event, interaction, passing thought, memory, or observation in either essay or poetic form, adding a personal reflection on the meaning of the item or incident, thought, feeling, emotion, or situation in his or her life. Many reflective writers keep in mind guiding questions,
such as "What did I notice?" "How has this changed me?" or "What might I have done differently?"

Thus, the focus is on writing that is not merely descriptive. The writer doesn’t just hit the replay button; rather, he or she revisits the scene to note details and emotions, reflect on meaning, examine what went well or revealed a need for additional learning, and relate what transpired to the rest of life

So whilst our journals are pretty to look at, they also have a pratical meaning, they are a Gift Of Hope. A way to help families heal through reflective writing. Most importantly it provides families with a place to record the memories of their precious child.

The first custom made journal I made was sent to a family who just lost their second child, a little boy who lost his life in NICU.
A simple blue and white journal with a single white flower embellishment and three words
Live, Laugh, Love

It was Wednesday the 26th May 2010, exactly 1 year and 2 months after we lost Yasminah.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Life is what you make of it

If I have learnt anything from the loss of Yasminah, it's that life is short and to make the most out of each and every moment.

You can shed tears that she is gone,

or you can smile because she lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,

or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,

or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her only that she is gone,

or you can cherish your memory, and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,

be empty and turn your back.

Or you can do what she'd want,

smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins

Today my husband and I celebrated our love as this day 12 years ago we first started dating. We have been through many up's and downs together but always make the most of what we life gives us. One thing that really helped me the weeks following Yasminah's death was something my husband said to me.

You choose how you deal with it

This simple statement turned my life around. I was in the deepths of dispair and struggling to function day to day. I consider myself to be a positive person and I always try to look on the bright side of life, even after everything I have experienced but losing Yasminah broke me and my spirit and changed me forever. BUT after that statement I chose I how I dealt with it and chose to make the most of our heartache and cherish her memory and let her live on in the lives of others, hopefully making a difference to their life.

Life is what you make of it, so smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Happy Anniversary to my friend, lover, husband and father of our children. I will always remember the first time we met and the fun we had getting to know each other before becoming husband and wife. You always make me laugh and give me a reason to smile. I cherish the memories we have made together and cant wait to see what the next 12 years will bring I will love you always and forever x x x x x x

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brand New Donation Boxes

Can you or do you know someone who would like to help by placing one of our new donation boxes in their workplace, business or local school. Every cent counts & you will also help raise awareness & support for YGOH mission of hope for bereaved families.

Please contact me or comment below. Thankyou for your support