Sunday, December 1, 2013

Leave of Absence

This is a special announcement and not one that I ever thought I would be making. I write this with mixed feelings and have shed quite a few tears as it is with regret to inform you all of my decision to take 12 months personal leave of absence from my position on the Board of Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope as President, with immediate effect. It has been a very difficult decision to make but after much consideration and the support of my family, I believe it is for the best interests of Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope, myself and my family. I anticipate returning to the position of President 1st December 2014.

I wish to clarify the reasons for my sudden decision to step back from the Board. There are many but I feel that my immediate and continued contribution over the next 12 months to the Board is extremely limited. I have poured my heart and soul into creating Yasminah’s Gift of Hope in memory of the stillbirth of my beautiful daughter Yasminah and in honour of our twin daughters Aisha and Aaliyah’s premature birth. I wanted to help other parents and families know that they weren't alone on this journey and that there was support and understanding available from someone who has experienced it. The creation of 'Yasminah's Gift Of Hope' being firstly the hand designed journals, then the Premmie Gift Of Hope journal, was one that was designed to not only give parents hope, but also an outlet to heal and a special keepsake and place to record their journey. I started YGOH when Aisha and Aaliyah were only a few months old and I’ve never really allowed myself time to grieve privately and fully acknowledge my own journey. YGOH has been an immense and important part of my healing and growth, but in many ways also shifted my focus and grief. I believe it was in a positive way and one that at the time felt right, helping others who have experienced the same or similar journeys of bereavement and premature birth. I also feel that I have missed out on so much of my little girls first precious years and I don’t wish for that to happen with our precious little rainbow baby we are expecting next year. Family must always come first. At this point in time it is important for me to focus on my physical and mental health, my pregnancy, the impending arrival of my rainbow baby and my beautiful, precious family.

I have formed some very special friendships with you all over the past 4 years and together we have shared a lot of highs and lows. I greatly appreciate and thank you all for your love, kindness and support during what has been a very difficult time in my life. I truly value your friendships and the memories I have made will always be held close to my heart. I will never forget you and what you have each contributed to YGOH. One thing we have always prided ourselves upon is our connection to the community and working together with like-minded organisations and people - thank you for believing in YGOH, your support and contributions. I wish to especially thank my dear friends who have donated their time, skills and professional services via their businesses to supporting YGOH over the years. You have helped us grow from my humble dining room table 4 years ago to supporting thousands of families across Australia. YGOH was born from the loss of my little girl Yasminah Ann who has touched the hearts and lives of many and from the kindness and support of our family and friends and complete strangers whose support has been unwavering!

I will greatly miss the daily interaction with the volunteers and being involved in the future direction of the organisation during the next 12 months. This is the right decision for me at this moment and for my future. I will be back so this isn’t really goodbye just - see you soon!

Please continue in your amazing efforts of raising awareness, funds and supporting YGOH via contributing to journal designing, knitting and sewing. Please keep contributing to our Facebook support groups in order for us to continue the vital support we provide to premmie and bereaved families across Australia.

I do hope that you will all keep in touch. I hold many of you and your babies close to my heart and I will be forever grateful for the beautiful friendships I have made along the way. Thank you for sharing your own journeys and opening your hearts to mine. I look forward to sharing the exciting new journey that lies ahead and the arrival of our rainbow baby next year. My phone number remains the same 0409977999 but I can no longer be reached at rebecca@ygoh.org.au Please refer any YGOH related emails to contact@ygoh.org.au

Thanking you all from the bottom of my heart. Sending you all Hope, Light, Love and Happiness

Bec xx





Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Book About Death Australia

A Book About Death EXHIBITION

Tweed River Art Gallery, New South Wales, Australia.

18 October - 24 November, 2013


This international exhibition originally conceived by Paris artist Matthew Rose was first exhibited in the Emily Harvey Gallery, New York in September 2009.

The exhibition became a world wide phenomena, involving work from over 500 artists and inspiring artists to curate off shoot exhibitions throughout North America, South America, Europe and Britain.

Now 300 artists from more than 20 countries have submitted new artworks for the Australian exhibition at Tweed River Art Gallery in October 2013.

The gallery has magnificent views over the Tweed River and surrounding mountain ranges.
Multiple stacks of artists' postcards will be on the window alcove seats for gallery visitors to take home and create their own 'unbound' book about death.

Back in February I came across the 'A Book About Death Exhibition. I was inspired and in awe of the artists sharing their gift, expressing what death means to them. Their personal, creative expression of grief. loss and heartache. I knew immediately that it was something I needed to be involved in. This had landed on my screen for a reason. This was my opportunity to express via visual art my grief. My book about death. 

I'm thrilled,excited and slightly daunted that I've just submitted my very first official exhibition piece for the 'A Book About Death Australia' Exhibition, to be held at the Tweed River Art Gallery opening the 18th of October. Below is my submission. 


What does death mean to you?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Roots and Wings

I came across the following note that a friend had posted to her page. I don't know who the original author of it is, but it sums up perfectly the way we should parent our children.

As a mother to three young children, I'm mindful that they won't always be little. That the first few years of their lives, they develop the imagination and skills to tackle the big bright world ahead of them. They need the warmth of love, support and encouragement not processions or trophy's.

Give them the chance to explore, create and learn by getting dirty in the mud, drawing on themselves with markers and reading books to excite their imagination. Let them be kids and develop a sense of wonder! Every child is unique and will learn and develop at their own pace.

My eldest Zachariah is 6 years old and was diagnosed as having high functioning autism or aspergers when he was 4. We have always encouraged him to be who he is and have marvelled at the way he views the world around him. I also have two adorable 3 year old twin girls Aisha and Aaliyah, who we call our twincesses! They were born 9 weeks premature and people often suggested that they weren't reaching their 'milestones' when they should have been. Time is a beautiful thing and over time they reached all those 'milestones' at their own pace. Although they are twins, they couldn't be more individual and are growing into strong, confident, happy, caring little girls.




I could add so much more to this note below, but the pre-school teacher sums it up pretty well! Give your children roots and wings. Let them learn how to fly.


Written by a Pre-School Teacher


I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked. Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed.


One mum posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only three. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mum by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our pre-schoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.

So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.

She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.

She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.

He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.

She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvellous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.



But more important, here’s what parents need to know.


That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.

That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high NAPLAN scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mum or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.

That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.

That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like Lego and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.

That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay!


Our children don’t need Nintendo's, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 KPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

THE 10 SUPERIOR SKILLS OF THE TWIN PARENT


I found this many moons ago on a blog written in response of things not to say to a twin parent. It is spot on and made me laugh, and I thought it was worthy of sharing. The original post no longer seems to exist so I'm not sure who to credit this to. 


  1. Strength: Our constant lifting of heavy babies gives us superior muscle tone.
  2. Endurance: We can endure sleep deprivation comparable to special-forces in training.
  3. Speed: We can fly in and out of a baby’s bedroom at 2am like a flipping ninja. (You would too if you risked waking another screaming baby).
  4. Sense: Our sense of smell is heightened to that of a top police tracker dog, being able not only to spot a dirty nappy, but locating it to within 6 inches from the other side of the room.
  5. Humour: We laugh in the face of danger. (Mainly because we accept we can only tackle one danger at a time so the other one may as well be funny!).
  6. Hustling: We have more grey hair than you would expect for our age, which is disarming and helps us hustle.
  7. Gift of the Gab: We should all have PhD’s in Diplomacy and Negotiation (e.g. you get to pull the plug out tomorrow, the second hand shoes are magic, three divided by two is one each and one for me, etc)
  8. Emotional Resilience: We can do all of the above while simultaneously crying without even smudging our mascara. (We have no time for makeup).
  9. Lords of the Dance: We always have enough people for the hokey pokey.
  10. Brute Force: Our prams are bigger than your prams. Move over, we’re coming through whether it suits you or not!
What are your qualifications/special skills?

Monday, August 19, 2013

About Me Monday 20 Questions

1. Do you have a middle name? Yes - Ann which I have passed down to my daughters who also have the middle name of Ann

2. What was your favourite subject in school? Visual Art. I studied 3 Unit art and pursued an Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at University after finishing High School.

3. What’s your favourite drink? I'm loving Nescafe Green Blend Cappuccino

4. Favourite song at the moment? 'We come running' by Youngblood Hawke. I recently got to see them perform this song live at the P!nk Sydney Concert


5. Do you participate in any sports? Nope....  I'm not very athletic however my husband manages our family business, his Karate Dojo in Western Sydney - Western Sydney Kyokoshin Karate

6. Favourite Colour? Do I have to pick one? I'd probably say blue, but I love bright colours like
yellow and greens and the subdued browns.

7. Favourite Animals? Tigers and Panda's

8. Favourite holiday? We haven't been on many holidays together as a family, but I would have to say our first ever family holiday to Diamond Beach on the Central Coast of NSW was perfect! I got to walk along the beach everyday and soak in the sun with my little ones. It was my twincesses first time at the beach. One other really special thing my son and I did was write Yasminah and other angels names in the sand.

9. Have you been out of the Country? I have never travelled overseas, but really hope to one day!

10. Do you speak any other Languages? I have some very basic Arabic knowledge but that's it

11. Do you have any siblings? I have a younger sister Sandy-Lee and brother David.

12. What’s your favourite store? Sportsgirl

13. Favourite Restaurant? Sahara at Parramatta

14. Did you like school? Yes I did, but I was a bit of a nerd

15. Favourite Movie? Sleepless in Seattle

16. Favourite TV show? Grey's Anatomy

17. What phone do you have? iPhone 4

18. How tall are you? 175cm

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Oscar Chavez honours his premature baby girl Arianna

 
Oscar Chavez is the lead singer of Australian Band Suns of Cascadia. Oscar Chavez shot to fame after gaining a spot on Team Delta on The Voice Australia Season 2 from over 10,000 applicants. Oscar’s Blind audition has received over 250,000 views on YouTube.

President and Founder of Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope Rebecca Aziz said ‘We first learnt about Oscar and the premature birth of his daughter as a contestant on The Voice’.


“As soon as I heard about ‘Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope’, I just knew I had to be involved.” “I wish that I knew about ‘Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope’ while going through what we went through.”  “This is a topic that is very close to my heart and I want to do all that I can to help” said Oscar Chavez.
 


Rebecca Aziz is the mother of Yasminah who was stillborn and of identical twins who were born 9 weeks prematurely.  Her experiences made her realise how important it is to have something by which to remember each child and their special birth journey.  The tragedy is that some families have nothing: no photos, no record, nothing to hold.

 
Premature birth is the number one killer of newborns.

Over one million little angels around the world each year never come home.

Over 45,000 babies are admitted into neonatal intensive and special care units every year in Australia. This is over 14.5% of all babies born and translates to over 115 admissions every day.

In 2009 there were 78 babies who died from SIDS and 2341 babies were stillborn.  *Australian Bureau Of Statistics AIHW National Perinatal Statistics Report

There are roughly 10 times more stillborn babies than babies who die of SIDS each year, yet this statistic hasn't changed for years. That's roughly 2000 babies a year or six a day in Australia. We all fear SIDS, yet stillbirth, which is far more common, is rarely talked about. *Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope

‘Yasminah’s Gift of Hope’ is a non-profit organisation that has provided over 8000 Australian families with a ‘Gift Of Hope’ support package since 2010. The G.O.H. Journals are special keepsakes that display ultrasound images, photos, cot cards, arm bands, and foot and hand prints as cherished mementos. The journals also allow parents to express their thoughts in a therapeutic and healing way.

Oscar Chavez said his decision to become an Ambassador for Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope was after his own personal experience of premature birth with his daughter Arianna.


“I have decided to become an Ambassador for ‘Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope’ for the simple reason of having experienced the hardship of premature birth with my Daughter Arianna. She was born at 31 weeks and weighed 1.1 Kilograms. I've seen the strength that these babies need to survive and I've seen the incredible nursing staff and equipment required to ensure these babies have the best chance of survival. Our daughter is one of the children that survived premature birth and she is the happiest baby I have ever met. She is a miracle to this world and means everything to me. I wish for other parents with premature children to have the same chance to hold their happy, healthy children every day.”


As Ambassador, Oscar Chavez will promote awareness of the high rate of premature birth and stillbirths in this country and the ongoing support and understanding available from Yasminah's Gift of Hope.

“We’re delighted to have Oscar as an Ambassador and grateful for his passion for the cause.  Oscar plans to write a song for Yasminah’s Gift Of Hope to help raise awareness. Oscar’s personally experienced premature birth and knows the struggle that parents go through at that time. He offers a unique prospective as a father of a premature infant. So often the focus is on the mother and with his help we can let dads know that there is support available for them too. ” said Rebecca Aziz

Oscar and his wife are currently expecting their second child, due later this year.
 
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Collaborate For A Cause


Members of Australia’s handmade community will be hoping to raise more than $50,000 for a variety of charities including Yasminah's Gift Of Hope through Collaborate for a Cause – a massive online charity auction being held late July.

The event – which will take place via Facebook from July 26-28 – involves more than 340 small handmade businesses and hobby enterprises.

We are honoured and thrilled to have over 25 handmade businesses participating in over 15 collaborations. Together, they are hoping their collaborations raise over $2500 for Yasminah's Gift Of Hope.




The inaugural event in 2011 – which included 200+ businesses – raised $18,000.  Last year this was doubled to a massive $40,000 shared amongst 105 charities. This year, organiser Jen Kennedy from Ainslee Fox Handmade believes the donation tally could reach $50,000.

“We’ve had such an overwhelming response from the creative community on Facebook. We’ve got collaborations of two, three, four and even more businesses who have all worked together to create some amazing, beautiful handmade items. "

“Australia is fortunate to have a thriving community of talented craftspeople – many are stay-at-home mums – and this event is being held in the name of fun, friendship and giving.”

Members of the public will be able to bid on the auction via the Collaborate for a Cause Facebook page simply by commenting under a photograph of their favourite item. Payments will be taken by direct bank deposit or PayPal.

Full details about the auction and photographs/descriptions of the items being auctioned are available at www.facebook.com/collaborate4acause


Friday, June 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye........

Memories of your pregnancy, birth and time with your child are precious. Before saying good bye you may want to:

  • Take photos
  • Bathe your child
  • Wash them in a special scented soap
  • Put a nappy on them and dress them
  • Take your child outside
  • Have family and friends visit
  • Take hand and foot prints, hand and feet castings
  • Collect a lock of hair
  • Place items of clothing, blankets/wraps that your child wore in a snap lock bag to retain their smell

You can keep hospital bracelets, name cards and other hospital items used for your child and place them within your journal. Just ask the hospital staff to keep them aside for you.


It might help you to create a scrapbook of your memories including items from your pregnancy like pregnancy tests, ultrasound pictures, belly photos and other keepsakes from your pregnancy and birth.




Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Return To Zero

Return To Zero written by Sean Hanish is a movie about a successful couple played by Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein (Private Practice) who lose their child on the day he's supposed to be born. They must overcome their grief to save their relationship and start a family together. It is the FIRST film of it's kind that directly focuses on the grief of losing a child to stillbirth and what that experience is like for so many families.
 
Each day in Australia 6 babies are still born. Each day! My daughter Yasminah was one of those 6 babies stillborn on the 26th March 2009.

This film needs to be seen and we need your help to prove to Hollywood that they NEED to bring this to theatres worldwide!

As a Local Leader for Sydney, NSW Australia I need your PLEDGE to come and see this movie on opening night with me in Australia!

In the next 30 DAYS our goal is to have 150,000 people pledge to see RETURN TO ZERO opening weekend!

If each LOCAL LEADER can get 100 people to Pledge, then we will easily surpass that goal and be one giant step closer to getting the film released around the globe!

Let's get started right away--below is the RETURN TO ZERO PLEDGE FORM! List me Rebecca Aziz as your local leader!


In English


http://bit.ly/16H3uNz


In Spanish


http://bit.ly/116zM1q

There's still time to become a Local Leader in your community! Sign up here!

http://bit.ly/15QejwV

And if you haven't had a chance to view the First Glimpse of RETURN TO ZERO check out this video!

http://youtu.be/4Gq7OL-0fs4

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This is your song

There is an African tribe, where it is believed that the moment a woman thinks about having a child, her child is born. This becomes the child's birth date. When the woman decides that she will have a child, she goes and sits alone beside a tree. She carefully listens for the 'song' of the child that wants to come. After she has heard the song of this child, she goes back to the man that will be the child's father and she teaches him, his child's song. When they make physical love to conceive their child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, to bring it to life.

When the woman is pregnant, she teaches her child's song to the midwives and the old women of the village. When the child is born the midwives and old women of the village welcome the child into the world singing the child's song. As the child grows, the rest of the village are taught the child's song. The belief is if the child is injured or hurt, the other villagers sing the child's song to comfort them. The child's song is also sung during important milestones as a way of honouring their achievements.


If I had to choose my song, it would have to be 'I was here' by Beyoncé.



We may not all be able to sing like Beyoncé, or have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not.

When my husband and I first started dating, there was one song that just expressed how we felt about each other and what we both hoped and dreamed, that one day we would have a child together. Without even realizing it, our child was born. Therefor our first born child's song would have to be 'Tamika' by Immature.
"You mean the world to me, Tamika. You are my everything, Tamika".


We never knew exactly how long it would take to have our first child, or that our first born would be a boy. After 6 years we were completely over the moon to be parents! We never thought that we would fall pregnant for a second time so easily. Yasminah was a miracle from the very beginning. Despite a complicated pregnancy, she was our little angel and never would will realize just how true those words would be. After Yasminah passed away and even on the day of her funeral, Beyoncé's song 'Halo' played everywhere we went. I can still remember the warmth of the sun on my face, as tears streamed down my cheek after laying my daughter to rest. It quite quickly become 'her' song.

"Remember those walls I built, well baby they're tumbling down. They didn't even put up a fight. They didn't even make a sound. I found a way to let you in, but I never really had a doubt. Standing in the light of your halo, I've got my angel now. It's like I've been awakened, ever rule I had you breaking. It's the risk that I'm taking....... Everywhere I'm looking now I'm surrounded by your embrace. Baby I can see your halo. You know your my saving grace."




No song could more profoundly be appropriate for our twin daughters Aisha and Aaliyah than Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole's 'Somewhere over the rainbow'.
"Dreams really do come true"


I hope you can find your song. Sing your song. Sing like no one is listening!



Monday, May 13, 2013

Best Before

Today grief pulled me back into the depths of sadness and reality that my daughter died.

Doing the mundane task of groceries, one by one I checked off the items on my shopping list. As I walked through the meat department I searched for the Kangaroo Sausages my son loves! Kanga Banga's! Quite a funny name, but a huge hit in our family with mashed sweet potatoes. I don't know about you, but when I'm shopping I always check the back of the shelves for the freshest produce or the furthest best before date. Reaching to the back for the freshest Kanga Banga's and the date took me by surprise.

Best Before 26.03.2013

It stopped me in my tracks. It's not like it's the first time I've seen her date of birth on something, especially on something trivial like food packaging. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Remember the moments

I feel empty. Devoid of feeling. I think I do this mostly to protect myself. Quietly tip toeing around the heartache that one of my 4 children will never be here on earth to wrap their arms ever so tightly around my neck, gently delivering a soft, sweet, tiny kiss upon my cheek. Bringing me their handmade card filled with the colours of their growing imagination.

I began this Mothers Day in tears as my precious little people ran to my bedside to plant their kisses and wrap their cold hands tightly around my neck. One of my 3 year old twins, gently caresses my face with her tiny hand. Her piercing blue eyes lighting up as a smile appears on her face, asking me if I had a nice sleep. In this moment I realize that it's Mothers Day. I'm grateful that I have 3 of my children here with me on earth. I will always wish I had all 4. I rub my eyes as if I'm wiping away sleepy dust, trying to hide the tears that well in my eyes. I appreciate and adore my 3 living children all the more, because of what losing my first born daughter taught me. Life is precious. Every single moment is precious.

Mothers Day has been commercialised and the true meaning of the day, I feel a little misplaced.  The campaign to declare the second Sunday of May 'Mothers Day' was lead by Anna Marie Jarvis, one of four living children born of Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis. On May 12, 1907 two years after her mother Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis passed away, Anna held a memorial for her mother and embarked upon the campaign to have Mothers Day officially recognised. Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis gave birth to 11 children, sadly 7 of them passed away. Mothers Day was meant to be a day to honour and remember a bereaved mother, the children she holds in her womb, in her arms and the ones she holds within her heart. Mothers Day was officially declared a recognised holiday in 1914, by President Woodrow Wilson.

Mothers Day should be a day to recognise all mothers. I feel that we are beginning to break the silence and bring this day back to it's original true meaning.To all mothers, step mothers, grandmothers, single mothers, bereaved mothers, those struggling to be mothers, this day belongs to you.

I hope you had a peaceful day, surrounded by the love and family and those who care about you. I was spoiled with a cheese omelette, orange juice and tea for breakfast. The best gift of all was receiving my Mothers Day card, complete with artwork by my 5 year old and 3 year old twins. Zach my eldest drew a little butterfly and told me it was baby Yasminah. I'm truly the luckiest mum in the world, to hold 3 children in my arms and to have held an angel, even if only for a moment.






Friday, May 10, 2013

Never give up

Race against the clock. A ticking time bomb waiting to go off. The bomb squad are on standby for full blown war and self destruction at any given point in time. Unstable, unwilling, unmotivated.

I wipe the tears away from my eyes. Emotion washes over my soul, the tears stream down my face. Unable to stop the water escaping from my eyes.

Barely able to keep my eyes open.

Every day is a struggle against the demons inside my head. I constantly have a raging battle against my own mind. Do you have any idea what that is like? I'm thankful if you answered no. I understand if you answered yes.

I can't do this. I'm not strong enough. I'm just so tired. What is the point of all this anyway.

I can tell you all the different ways I've thought about giving up. I could take all those prescription pain killers I still have left over from the day that my daughter died. I could grab some rope from the garage and suspend it from the top of my stairs, I think the drop is high enough. I could always let the grip on the steering wheel slip from my hands, and close my eyes as the car veers into the wall or over the bridge.

It is terrifying when you have thought about all the different ways you could end your life and those thoughts come easily to you. I would never follow through with any of them, but I can't stop those thoughts from still occasionally entering my mind. Occupying that little spot of doubt and lack of self confidence.

I've been working so hard on trying to change my mindset, trying to retrain my brain to think positively. To ignore the voices in my head. The same voices that tell me that I'm responsible for my daughters death. That I shouldn't care about what other people think, but I do.

I am an amazing person. I am blessed. I know love. I have lived. I'm grateful. I'm someone's wife, lover, best friend, sister, daughter, cousin, granddaughter, colleague. I'm a mum.

I inspire people. I never quite understand why.

Retreating and hoping to find some peace....

Monday, May 6, 2013

I am still standing

Putting my thoughts and feelings into written words, hasn't come easy lately.

I sit here in the quiet still of the midnight air, feeling my chest rise and fall, hearing my breath inhale and exhale with each passing moment. There is no sound, apart from the click of each key I press on my laptop. Writing the words as my fingers connect to the keyboard, pouring the words from my soul. I close my eyes and be still with this moment. Thankful to just be. Thankful for every breath I have taken. Still with each moment and memory past. Thankful for the love and joy in my life. Thankful.

Just over four years ago I gave birth for the second time. I became a mum again. This makes me smile. I inhaled and exhaled with a purpose to deliver my second child, my first little girl physically into this world. I was guided and supported by my husband and my midwives through the birth of my daughter. The passage of birth, a new precious life that was over before it had begun. With one final force of air through my lungs and pushing with all my strength, my eyes closed for fear of losing my strength, forgetting this memory, my daughter was born into this world, never to take a single breath.

In that single moment of time. She took my breath away.

Birth is supposed to be this big beautiful moment of pure happiness, joy, and hope. It still was all these things and more. The elation of meeting our beautiful little girl that had been wriggling around, gently tugging at my heartstrings for 9 months was overwhelming. I felt happiness and nothing but pure love for my daughter. I still feel this way. I will always feel this way. I don't think of her with sadness. How can I be sad about someone so beautiful? I think of Yasminah with love and peace in my heart. I can close my eyes and pull myself back into that moment in time, where everything stood still. My daughter Yasminah may have been born still, but it is because of her that I am still standing.

I am still standing.

Today is International Bereaved Mothers Day. I send my love, support and hope to mums everywhere. To the mums who yearn to hold their babies in their arms, I want you to know that this will get easier. You will still be standing as time passes. Sending you all hope, light, love and happiness <3 class="goog-spellcheck-word" span="" style="background: yellow;">Bec

Monday, April 29, 2013

Chore Chart

Zach our eldest thrives on routine and structure. Since starting school this year it has been a little bit of a struggle to get him to focus on some rather mundane day to day tasks like make his bed, brush his teeth and complete his homework. I had a go at creating my own chore chart but I wasn't happy with it, so reverted to searching the net for a downloadable chore chart that we could customise for each of the kids.
 
I found this really cool chore chart via Sutton Grace blog who found it via ModEcoKids.com.
 
Since downloading this chore chart our children have been more focussed and their behaviour has improved dramatically. Because it took me quite a while to find a chore chart that worked for our family I decided to help via sharing here too! I didn't create this chore chart and I'm not the first to share it but wanted to easily be able to find it, when we need to amend our chores as the kids grow.
 
Please click below to download the file. It is edit only so you won't be able to save any of the names or chores you type on the document but you can save a template of the file for later use.
 
 
 
 
Tip: on the left side of the screen under google docs there are two tabs: FILE and VIEW. Click on file and then select "download original". It will then download to your computer and should open in reader automatically (if you have adobe reader already installed on your computer).
 
 
I love how this teaches them how each child contributes to the family and also visually rewards them for positive behaviour and actions. Zach is only 5 (almost 6) and the twins Aisha and Aaliyah are 3, so the chores we have are very basic. We tend to focus on the little things we struggle to get them to achieve. My husband and I discussed about whether we pay them for the chores that they do. We think that Zach is old enough to understand the concept of money and we have already begun teaching him about earning, saving and spending money. We have followed Erin's example from Sutton Grace and are paying Zach $0.05 for each tick he gets at the end of the week. For Aisha and Aaliyah if they get mostly ticks we will reward them with some stickers or a special craft activity.

 
 
 
The Aziz Family Rules
 
share
listen
be kind
be honest
ask once, ask nice
no yelling
no talking back
no whining or complaining
no hitting, punching or kicking
wash hands after using the toilet
respect others, respect yourselves and respect your family and friends
use our manners - please, thank you, no thank you, you're welcome and excuse me
 
 
Morning
 
get dressed
brush teeth
make bed
eat our breakfast
get ready for school
put our shoes on
 
Afternoon
 
put our shoes in the laundry
complete homework or have quiet time
 
 
Evening
 
wash our hands ready to eat
eat all our dinner
take our plates & cups to the sink
 
 
Bedtime
 
put dirty clothes in the basket
have a shower
brush teeth
get dressed in pajamas
hang up towel
quiet time and ready for bed
no whining or crying
kiss, hug and say goodnight to everyone
 
 
 
Another method we have been using is a behaviour chart I found on Pinterest. You can print it out, laminate it and cut it up. I placed some double sided Velcro on the back of each one and place the appropriate one on the bottom of each children's chore chart. Zach loves this!! Just need to find a Dora or Barbie themed one for the girls, but for the moment we are using the superheros for them too.   
 
 
I'd love to hear from you if this works for you too, or if you have any secrets you'd like to share.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thank you


I want to sincerely thank you all of you who follow, interact, share and support Yasminah's Gift Of Hope. I want to personally thank you for continuing to inspire me and empower me to break the silence for babies born too soon. For over 4 years I have posted quotes, questions, reflections, positive affirmations, shared articles and my personal journey following the stillbirth of my daughter Yasminah and the premature birth of our daughters Aisha and Aaliyah.

We have a beautiful community, connected by the invisible bond of grief. This page, my blog, our community is more about sharing kindness, support, and love. Breaking the silence, creating awareness and guiding families on their journey. I hope you feel safe and supported in sharing your own experience in a positive space without judgement or fear.

Too many babies are born too soon. I will continue to break the silence, share our struggles, show compassion and provide support. Thank you for listening and all your kindness. Your love and support is felt, appreciated and returned.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Positivity

A little piece of my heart is missing and it will never be filled. I think I keep trying to fill the gap. Helping others - reaching out, over extending myself to breaking point. I have reached rock bottom and come back again more than once. I'm really making an effort to keep some 'order' and normality in my day to day life. Sticking to a routine helps me. It's not always easy. It is never easy. But the alternative is dark, depressing, lonely and down right wasteful.

I have been blessed.

I have been incredibly blessed!

My life isn't the one I imagined it would be all those years ago, but I wouldn't change any of it for a single second. I would make the same choices. I have learnt valuable lessons. Sometimes at the cost of my own heart and sanity. I have been hurt. I have been hurt too many times. I think it's because I'm so trusting. I believe that people are genuine, that they tell the truth, that they are who they say they are. Until they aren't.......and that hurts. I've promised myself that from this day - beginning now I will not let people take advantage of me. I won't allow myself to get hurt anymore. I won't let negative energy into my positive circle.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Westmead NICU Twin Crib

We need your HELP! Please help us raise $2500 needed for a twin crib in honour of our daughters Aisha and Aaliyah for new multiple families to use at Westmead Public Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 

3 years ago we were blessed with the early but safe arrival of Zachariah and Yasminah's little twin sisters Aisha Ann and Aaliyah Ann. Born at only 31+5 weeks old 

Aisha ~ 16/12/09 ~ 11:53pm~ 1554g ~ 41cms ~


 
Aaliyah ~ 16/12/09 ~ 11:55pm ~ 1730g ~ 41.5cms ~ 
 
 

We spent a very long 4 weeks in Neonatal Intensive Care at Westmead Hospital. We anxiously watched and waited for our girls to be reunited outside of the womb. It wasn't until week 3 that they happened to be in adjoining rooms in the NICU and one of our lovely nurses helped put them together for the very first time! She gently carried Aaliyah attached to all her wires and monitors through the adjoining room’s doorway and placed her next to Aisha. The moment they were next to each other they smiled and nuzzled into each other. This brief 30 seconds if forever etched into my heart. It was magical!




That was a turning point for Aaliyah, who up until that time was a little further behind than Aisha. Her condition improved and one week later both of our girls were discharged home 4 weeks earlier than predicted by their caregivers. I honestly believe it was from this single moment. 

Westmead at the time didn't have a twin crib in the NICU and ever since that moment we have wanted to get one for Westmead, but we need your help to make our dream a reality. 

We are asking for your support to make a donation towards purchasing this very valuable piece of equipment for the NICU. We want to help another multiple family have this same opportunity to capture their premmie twins reunited in the NICU.

A twin crib for use in the NICU encourages co-bedding. Cobedded multiples can see, touch, and smell each other at all times, just like they could before birth in the womb. It allows the babies to share space together and they can even have them positioned as they were in the womb. Feet to head, head to head, back to back - however they were placed. 

Research has shown that heart rate and other stress cues reduce. Cobedded twins seem less irritable than other twins. When twins sleep together, they coordinate their sleep/wake cycles and have less stress and they seem to gain weight better than multiples that aren’t co-bedded. 

Twins are used to being together - so when they are in a situation such as the NICU where holding time is limited - giving them the comfort of companionship of their sibling can increase their chances of survival and promote happiness. Cobedded twins seem to have happier parents, fewer episodes of bradycardia, better thermoregulation, and lower oxygen needs. 

Please make a donation, every amount big or small can make a huge difference. 




To learn more about Aisha and Aaliyah’s journey please watch

http://hopelightlovehappiness.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/aisha-and-aaliyah-our-rainbows-at.htm

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hanging on by a thread

I feel overwhelmed with sadness right in this very moment.

My eyes are heavy, my bones are tired and I feel drained.

Emotionally, physically, mentally exhausted.

Hanging on by a thread.......

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I can't bare to part with......

There is a small collection of tiny, beautiful, precious items that I can't bare to part with. They were intended for our first daughter Yasminah.

We couldn't wait to find out if we were having a little boy or a little girl, even though deep down in my soul I knew that it was a girl! After having a boy, it was going to be nice to buy 'pink' but we were told that there was something wrong with our baby, before being asked if we still wanted to know what we were having. Of course we did! We loved this child from the moment we knew a new life had been gifted to us. No one ever truly knows how long their stay here on earth is for, and even despite all that we were told we left the decision in God's hands.

Time has passed. Things have changed. We have been blessed with 2 beautiful, strong and healthy little girls.

In the early days of my grief, I was so angry. So angry that she would never get to wear the clothes that I picked out, washed, hung to dry and gently folded before placing in her nursery. I wanted to get rid of everything. I wanted the nappies gone, the cradle gone, the clothes gone. Why would I need to keep them when the one reason all of those items existed was also......gone. My daughter wasn't here to hold in my arms, or to rock to sleep. She wasn't here to use the rocking chair at 2am feeds. She wasn't here to change her nappy, we would never get to change her nappy. These are the things you think about. I became angry at the world because my daughter was gone, my hopes and dreams vanished. Sure we knew it was going to be hard. It was going to be really hard! But she was our daughter and maternal instinct takes over.

A very good friend sat me down and said that I shouldn't be so eager to give her things away. There was no rush. There was plenty of time to decide if I wanted to keep them. Perhaps we would have another baby. It made sense. We had kept plenty of our son's clothing and other baby items in the hopes that a sibling would one day use them. Why should this be any different?

I changed my mind and I kept them.


I kept the special outfit I purchased as her 'coming home' outfit. A cute little Mummy and Daddy Love Me set! It was perfect.



I kept the little piglet snuggly blanket that a very kind friend had bought for her.



I kept the cute pink and white 'Little Sister' socks we bought as a gift from her big brother.



I kept the beautiful soft, white, fur vest that was going to keep her warm during a cold winter. It was a gift from my nan. A gift she thought her great, granddaughter would wear.



I kept them all and I can't bare to part with them.......and that's ok.










Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The difference

When we found out that our daughter had limb differences, I searched for other families, other children that had similar differences. I wanted to connect with these families, find out how they had felt during their pregnancy, handled the arrival of their child, other people's reactions, things that had helped them and what had been supportive on their journey.

The hospital were fantastic and referred us to a genetic specialist, who then arranged for us to see a genetic counsellor. Our counsellor was lovely, very understanding and supportive of our decision to continue our pregnancy. The hospital arranged for us to meet with Limb Specialists at the Children's Hospital during the pregnancy. We met with Professors and Surgeons and were handed prosthetics that our daughter might one day want or need to use. We discussed adapting her clothing to suit her difference. Carefully selecting clothes that we could easily alter the sleeves. Dresses instead of pants to accommodate the cast that would be placed on her little foot when she was born to correct her club foot. We wondered how she would eat, use a fork or spoon, hold a cup to drink. Would she be able to ride a bike? How would we explain her differences to our family, her brother, our friends? Would she still be able to attend mainstream schooling? It was completely overwhelming, but we wanted to prepare ourselves and understand what options and support were available and give our baby girl the best possible start in life.

One thing we wanted was to meet other families. Our counsellor mentioned one group the name of which I don't recall, but they had no support groups in our area. There was no website or forum that supported families who were expecting a child with a congenital abnormality, especially a limb difference. I was lucky that I met a lady by pure chance after a Facebook search, whose daughter also had limb differences and she lived locally. She was starting an organisation called CHILD - Children Having Infant Limb Differences to help families like us that were faced with a 'different' outcome than a normal pregnancy. I felt relieved, connected and so grateful. We exchanged emails and then messages via Facebook. We both embraced our daughters difference's and were sure that our daughter's would become life long friends. As Yasminah grew in my womb, my friendship with Katherine grew. I shared her passion of wanting to help provide a supportive place for new families who were diagnosed with a congenital limb difference during pregnancy or after birth. From our personal experiences we envisioned supporting and guiding families through friendship and educating the community about limb deficiency. Katherine was also working on her book and I was honoured to be asked to contribute Yasminah's story.


Whilst it was mentioned during my pregnancy that the Dr's weren't sure 'what the outcome would be for our baby' no one ever mentioned that our baby could die in utero. We were preparing for a life. For her life. The exciting, wonderful life of our second child, our first little girl. It wasn't the dream we envisioned, but the difference to the eventual reality was unfathomable. We dreamed of a life.

I will never forget receiving a message from Katherine asking if Yasminah had arrived yet. Katherine kindly offered me her little girls clothes that she had outgrown. Heartbroken I had to tell Katherine that Yasminah had passed away unexpectedly in utero a few days before.

Katherine still wrote and published her book called 'Our Little Miracles' and she very kindly dedicated the book to Yasminah. I was too distraught to contribute her story, but I'm so very grateful that Katherine still included Yasminah as one of 'our little miracles'. Yasminah is our little miracle. Her story needs to be told. There are approximately 1 in 10,000 children across Australia each year born with a limb deficiency. Sadly sometimes families like mine, don't get to take their little miracle home. There is now a variety of support groups for families that experience limb deficiency. CHILD provide support to parents when they find out about their newborns limb differences. The deficiency can be diagnosed through ultrasound or after birth of the child. Also if the limb loss was acquired through surgical amputation. Through their extensive network of members from throughout the world, the parents never fall short of someone to talk to. This is a beautiful thing! What a difference time can make.

I was honoured to make some very special friends along the way. My CHILD friends are still an important part of my life. I'm honoured that they still involve me in their community and feel blessed to see a small glimpse into their world. I often wonder what our lives would be like if Yasminah was here. If she had of had a chance to the live the life that we dreamed of her having. The child we had, but never had and yet will have forever!