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About the book: Finley's Footprints
Finley’s Footprints is a wonderful resource for people who have been personally affected by the death of a baby, and for professionals who work with those who are affected.
As a grieving parent this book provides a comforting insight into the journey of family in the early days after loss. This can help by helping you feel less alone, by highlighting some of the thoughts and experiences that commonly occur – but are rarely talked about. You can follow the journey in real time, a little bit each day, picking up ideas that may help you to navigate your own journey.
This is an invaluable book for midwives, student midwives, obstetric medical staff, sonographers, nursing staff, chaplaincy, funeral and mental health service staff. As the days progress you will gain a remarkable glimpse of the thoughts and feelings the families in your care may experience. You can witness a family’s decision to spend time with their baby, to capture a lifetime of memories in a moment, understand the feelings that run alongside planning a funeral for the child you never met, walk with the parents as they go about life’s daily tasks pointing out the triggers of going to the shop, or revisiting the hospital. You’ll take away many ideas and points of reference for your own practice.
Why have I chosen 2nd August to release my book?
How do you even begin to explain the significance of that date?
How can you put into words, something which is a million different feelings?
It is the date that I became a Mum, that Baz became a Dad.
It is the date that we had waited almost 10 months for.
It is the date where Grandparents were created for the first time, and Aunts and Uncles.
It is the date where we counted ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes, and spoke about the shape of his ears.
It is the date where a new Dad nervously, but oh so gently, bathed his son.
It is the date where clothes were chosen and the first time the baby was dressed photographed.
It is the date where a family portrait was taken.
It was everything that a new family experience on their baby's birth-day.
Yet it was also the direct opposite.
It was stillness.
It was breathtaking cold.
It was silence that screamed so loud.
It was the smell of flowers and the absence of new baby gifts.
It was a heaviness so much heavier than 9lb 7oz.
It was waking up to a nightmare that would never end.
It was peeking at your baby to find out whether you had a son or a daughter - and turning away because he was dead.
It was hearing the words "I'm sorry he didnt wake up".
It was hearing a Dad tell everyone that his little boy had died.
It was welcoming numbness and longing to forget.
It was sleeping cuddling your baby - and no one telling you off because he was already dead.
It was aching breasts and an empty tummy.
It was a love so big, with no where to go.
August 2nd 2009 changed me immediately, changed me forever.
August 2nd 2009 was the day 2 became 3, the day a family formed.
August 2nd 2009 was the day I learnt how to be a Mum to a memory.
August 2nd 2009 was the day I broke into pieces.
August 2nd 2018 is a day to celebrate this Mum.
August 2nd 2018 is a day to share this memory.
August 2nd is another step in Finley's legacy.
August 2nd 2018 is a day to look back with pride and forward with hope.
August 2nd 2018 Finley's Footprints (the book) will be released, on Finley’s 9th birthday.
About the Author
When Mel learnt that she had a little boy – who sadly would never wake up – her life changed. Everything she had been hoping for and dreaming of was gone. Upon leaving the hospital, she began her journey of healing, drawing upon knowledge and skills gained from many years of working as an Occupational Therapist in mental health. Within 3 months Mel had almost completed a book, and had created a workshop for other parents in a similar situation. In the 9 years since then Mel has dedicated her life to the babyloss community, establishing herself as a powerful advocate for parents, for change. She has facilitated bereavement and pregnancy after loss study days for birth, mental health and funeral service staff and is a regular inspirational speaker at many events. She created The Butterfly Awards, a unique platform recognising the stories and achievements of others and runs registered charity Towards Tomorrow Together which provides support and resources in the South West of England. Mel trained as a bereavement doula, and provides support to families at time of loss and in subsequent pregnancy and runs regular support groups.
The book begins with the story of Finley’s birth. With heartbreaking honesty Mel shares her memories from the three days we spent in hospital with Finley after he died during labour. The reader learns about us bathing and dressing Finley, our visitors, capturing his footprints. And they read as we have to prepare to leave the hospital without our son.
The main book picks up the story on day 5 after Finley’s birth. Each day I captured my thoughts and feelings, in the hope that writing would help me to begin to shape some sense of normality and being healing. The reader can join us, almost in real time, as we plan the funeral to honour our son’s time on earth, as we bring him home to be with us one last time. And then they get an insight into learning to live after loss as the book comes to a close almost 4 months on, when we learn the results from the post mortem.