Passion, Charity and Awareness – the month of October

Image Credit Robyna MayToday is pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day.

It is one day in a month that hosts so many awareness initiatives. Amongst them, Down Syndrome awareness, Breast Cancer awareness and Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness. Each one of these things has touched me. Each in different ways.

After losing my son Xavier as a newborn, I could not imagine supporting any charity other than one that saved the lives of babies. When I heard the terrifying statistics that 1 in 135 births end in stillbirth, I could not fathom why more wasn’t being done. Like many before they enter into the world of child loss, I thought SIDS no longer occurred and that stillbirth belonged in Victorian times. But this isn’t the case. When people find out these statistics (usually in the most terrible way possible) they are horrified that more isn’t being done. And their voice joins the others shouting against the wind. This beautiful and brave community is trying so hard to make themselves heard, and their voices are often lost in the wilderness. But there are inroads being made. The beautiful Carly Marie has brought a generous and clear voice that is being heard.529195_598819030174690_1832011590_n Her images touch hearts – whether that heart holds a missing child or not. Each year, she hosts an October initiative called Capture Your Grief. Those who have experienced the loss of a child are invited to document their grief through photographs. In amidst my Instagram feed of clothes, little moments in my life and my lovely boys, there are images that talk about my grief. As incongruent as the images must appear next to the lighter moments, I choose to be part of breaking the silence.

I shunned other charities for a long time. Then a few things happened. A terrible tragedy struck an old school friend. I read a few different and gentle perspectives. One of my close friends learned that her daughter had Down Syndrome. My compassion, which had been turned inward on my own struggles, started to turn towards the very real battles of those around me.

Be kind;-2

There is a beautiful and true saying:

Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

When you are in the midst of your own battle, it can be hard to remember that. But kindness begets kindness and compassion breeds compassion. The best way to have good friends is to be one. And so I let the other stories touch my heart.

My dear friend has a daughter who is a few months older than baby E. She has a gorgeous, cheeky smile. She is quite determined as children her age are wont to be. She loves playing with her mum and her sister. And she has one more chromosome than I do. Her slightly flattened button nose and her wide beautiful eyes signal to others that she has Down Syndrome. But more than anyone else on earth she looks like her gorgeous older sister. She is a happy soul, not because she has Down Syndrome, but because she is surround by love. She will face challenges in her life, as will her family. She will need help and assistance. But her biggest challenge will be one that doesn’t need to exist. The prejudice of others. This is why Down Syndrome awareness month exists. To expel the myths. To let people know that Down Syndrome might be part of a person, but it’s never the totality of a person. That parenting a child with an extra chromosome can be challenging, but it’s also beautiful, wonderful and full of adventure. If you want to follow my friend Maddies’ adventures, you can here: The Adventures of Maddie Moo I also follow Mumma Love , which is a beautiful blog about parenting first and foremost and also charts the ups and downs of parenting a child with Down Syndrome.

Photo credit Robyna May

Some of my Froctober frocks

I have seen many of my friends lose their mothers to breast cancer. Vibrant, beautiful, kind women taken much too soon by an insidious disease. It touches those that are dedicated to their health, it touches those that are not. We should take a moment for ourselves and our health and make sure we check our breasts. Not just this month, but every month. We should take a moment and remember the women that fought bravely but did not survive and those who have. Not just this month, but every month. This month I am also supporting an initiative called Frocktober. The aim is to raise funds for research into an early detection test for ovarian cancer. Two things drew me to this initiative – yes, wearing a frock each day but I have a soft spot for the unsung charity. So this month I am delving through my wardrobe and keeping my spending money to donate. I am posting my daily frocks on Instagram along with other lovelies with the #Frocktober.

My first passion will always lie with the charities that support research into Stillbirth, SIDS and early childhood health issues. But I have discovered room in my heart for more. Because we all walk on this path called life. That path can hold the devastating and unexpected. That’s when we carry each other.

What is your charity passion? Why does it touch your heart?

4 thoughts on “Passion, Charity and Awareness – the month of October

  1. Sandra Kelly says:

    Beautifully written post from the heart Robyna! You’d be hard to find anyone not touched by these tragic life events in some way in our own little worlds. Yes, support charities that speak to you and have meaning in your life and therefore will having meaning in the life of others to do the same. Great causes. Lovely images too Xx

  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Robyna! What a lovely post. I’ve been seeing those lovely images in your Insta feed, feeling for your loss and hoping for your healing. Through reaching out as you are, your little babe will never be forgotten, but will touch and help others. That is truly magnificent.
    Our charity is The Arthritis Foundation. Our 11 yo daughter suffers Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which has had a big impact on our entire family. A few months ago hubby and I raised over $3400 by doing the Run Melbourne event, and we we’re overcome by the love shown by family, friends and the wider community. Such people and their support of us have inspired us to keep reaching out and paying it forward to support other charities….we have a couple of sponsor children, support a little chap with Cerebral Palsy, ride for breast cancer research etc. it feels good to do things for others, and fills our hearts. All good! Sarah xx

    • Robyna says:

      I am so sorry to hear that your daughter faces such a challenge, but delighted that you are surrounded by support and love. I truly think the world is full of very kind people but we often get fatigued by charity. It’s when those charities touch our hearts or the hearts of those around us, that change seems to really happen. Congratulations on raising such a wonderful amount and thank you for all you are doing. See you on Insta xx.

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