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Finley’s Footprints – the book

£17.99 £12.99

The book begins with the prologue, the story of Finley’s birth. With heartbreaking honesty I share my 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.

 

There is a happy ending in the form of an epilogue, introducing the reader to our baby girl born just over a year after Finley.

 

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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.

Summary of the Book

The book begins with the prologue, the story of Finley’s birth. With heartbreaking honesty I share my 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.

There is a happy ending in the form of an epilogue, introducing the reader to our baby girl born just over a year after Finley.

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 baby-loss 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.

What can you get from the book?

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.

 

Reviews

  1. Pauline Harris. Founder of Cariad Angel Gowns (for stillborn and neonatal loss)

    I read the book in one sitting unable to put it down.
    This insightful book is easily read, written in a way that quickly builds a relationship with the writer and captures the struggles of everyday life after such a life changing event.
    The honesty and portrayal of the huge range of emotions experienced is so accurate. It will resonate with families who suffer the loss of their baby, and help give hope that after the depths of sorrow there is brightness.

  2. Samantha Collinge

    As a bereavement support specialist midwife for over 20 years, I have witnessed the devastation of baby loss first-hand and the impact that this tragic event has on people’s lives both in the short and long term

    Mel has channelled her own personal experience of baby loss to raise awareness of this important issue, which in turn has led her to become a leading and well respected campaigner in the baby loss community

    Mel’s moving memoir is an open and honest account of her experience of miscarriage and stillbirth which for the reader gives a vital insight into the trauma of loss and the needs of grieving parents
    Uplifting and spiritual, heart breaking and humorous, this book will be a life line to anyone who has experienced the tragedy of baby loss

    It is also a must have for all those professionals working alongside families experiencing loss who want to improve their understanding and make a real difference

    I cannot recommend this book highly enough

    Samantha Collinge RGN,RM
    Bereavement support Specialist Midwife, Co-chair of the Pregnancy Loss Review

  3. Sarah Davies – Founder of Ffion’s Gift

    I read Finley’s Footprints with tears in my eyes. Its emotional rawness is such an accurate portrayal of what parents like us, who have sadly lost a baby, go through. The roller coaster that is life after a loss. Its beautifully written in a way that captivates its audience. I commend Mel for sharing her story and I’m positive that it’ll not only raise awareness of baby loss, but will help some parents on their personal journey.

  4. Sarah Davies – Founder of Ffion’s Gift

    I read Finley’s Footprints with tears in my eyes. Its emotional rawness is such an accurate portrayal of what parents like us, who have sadly lost a baby go through. The rollercoaster that is life after a loss. Its beautifully written in a way that captivates its audience. I commend Mel for sharing her story and I’m positive that it’ll not only raise awareness of baby loss, but will help some parents on their personal journey.

  5. Michelle Channon

    I begun reading Finley’s Footprints just a few weeks ago, and although I’m not finished reading I am eager to leave a review, it feels very important to me to do it on Finley’s 9th Birthday – 2nd August.
    I knew this was going to be a heart wrenching story of loss but I wasn’t expecting it to be a spiritual journey told through the raw words of Finley’s Mum, it feels like I’m seeing it through her eyes, watching her husband grieve and feeling helpless while she grieves too. Her ability to connected with her precious son in a spiritual sense, sometimes it feels like I’m sitting next to Mel & Barry but just a bystander absolutely un able to help!
    Such a beautiful book that I can not wait to finish x

  6. Sarah Watts – Trustee of Sophia Pregnancy Loss Support

    Finley’s Footprints is a personal book full of raw emotion showing the immediate impact on a family after the death of their beautiful baby boy. The pure love that Mel has for her son shines through the words on every page.

    It is a moving account that as a bereaved mother myself, I can relate to almost fully; I identified with so many of the feelings and emotions Finley’s mummy, Mel, wrote about. After finishing Finley’s Footprints, I feel less alone in my grief.

    Although I read the book five years after my own son was stillborn, it still provided me with comforting reassurance that the emotions I previously felt/currently feel are completely natural and not unusual. It can be an emotional read at times, but it is a fantastic book on the impact of grief after the death of a baby nonetheless.

  7. Maggie Handy

    If you have not read it yet I recommend you read the book Finley’s Footprints. Written by Finley’s Mum Mel who is a totally inspirational woman ready to be published on what would have been Finley’s 9th birthday. Once I started to read this book I couldn’t put it down. I know this book will bless many who have been or know someone who has been through similar circumstances. #finleysfootprints

  8. Maggie H

    I was honoured to be asked by Mel to read this beautiful book. I strongly recommend you read the book Finley’s Footprints which was written by Finley’s Mum Mel who is a totally inspirational Mother and woman. Mel wanted it to be ready to be published on what would have been Finley’s 9th birthday. As soon as I picked up the book and I started to read it I found that I just couldn’t put it down. I know this book will be a blessing to all those who have been or know someone who has been through similar circumstances. Definitely recommend. #finleysfootprints

  9. Rachel Kowalski

    I read this book 2 years after having my own sleeping baby. This book helped to comfort me, normalise my feelings and remind me that I can get through my grief. An amazing resource for grieving parents, their family & friends and professionals.

  10. Julie

    As a professional who helped the bereavement team in a large paediatric hospital looking after families on a daily basis dealing with the loss of a child, I found this book so emotional and raw, so brave of Mel to share her journey with us, but so right..
    I can’t applaud Mel enough.

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