A heart-felt thank you, welcome to my blogfest, and introducing Bertram Bear!

Bertram heartsThe talk I gave in Bristol last week was my last speaking event of 2014, and this was also the last outing of the year for my hearts.  These hearts, in case you don’t know, are hand-made by myself and taken around to many of the conferences and workshops I speak at, as a thank-you for anyone who would like to make a donation towards the running costs of my website and the techy, informational and other support that enables me to offer all this stuff for free. I am absolutely delighted to tell you that, in 2014, the donations that I have been given for my hearts have completely funded the costs of running this project and keeping all the information free, ad-free and baby product free, which means I have only needed to donate my time.  Over the year, 167 hearts went out into the world, and 20 or 30 of these were bought by midwives and birthworkers who then gave them to a bereavement midwife for her ‘baby boxes’.  This means that, if they wish to, bereaved parents can have a little fabric heart included in the keepsake photo that is taken of their baby, and then they can take the heart home with them – what a beautiful idea.  I hear that others have found new homes in midwives’ and birthworkers’ offices, kitchens, pockets and cars!  (I must start a ‘what did you do with yours?!’ conversation sometime!)

So I want to say a huge thank you to all of the lovely people who have supported me this year.  It makes me so happy to know that there are so many people out there who care about the same things that I do, most especially the need to have independent, ad-free, product-free sources of information for women and their families, and for midwives and birthworkers who are so busy and finding it hard to keep up-to-date in a sea of information.  As a thank you gift, I am going to post a blog post every weekday for the next two weeks, rather than twice a week, and as well as the usual research updates and regular features I’ll also be including some fun stuff and writing at least one post that has been suggested by my friends on my facebook page!

gofundsaraOver the course of the year, some very lovely people have asked if they can make a donation to this project by card rather than cash, or from abroad, or on a regular basis.  And I am delighted to say that yes, now you can 😀  I have finally got around to setting up a crowdfunding page for this website so that anybody can donate, and I am going to pop the link to it on my posts during my blogfest – so please spread them far and wide!  If my work helps you, if you share my articles or use them in your groups / teaching, if my updates on here or facebook help you keep up-to-date and you’d like them to continue being freely available amidst a smorgasbord of discussion, blog posts and updates, then please consider whether you could make a donation and help me keep going – or even expand if I do well enough!  (JUST before posting this, I learned that the minimum donation is £5, which was a bit of a surprise, but I’d like to think I’m worth at least the price of a posh coffee, and it’s tax-deductable because it’s educational, right?! ;))

At one of my workshops in New Zealand earlier this year, I met Sue, who is a midwife and bear-maker.  Upon seeing my hearts, Sue told me that she wanted to help support my site by making me a bear to auction in aid of keeping the site free for all.  What a lovely thought!  A few weeks later, a parcel arrived in the mail, and I met Bertram – who you can see in the picture above – and he has been sitting patiently on my desk throughout the writing of Group B Strep Explained, awaiting his moment.  And it arrived in December 2014, when Bertram was the star of his own ebay auction and helped kickstart my crowdfunding for 2015.  Thanks, Sue 😀

And thank you all SO much for all your support; not just financially, but through your words and hugs, and of course for coming to my workshops and buying my books and resources so that I can make a living as well as doing heart-funded projects!  I hope you will enjoy the blogfest; I will try to be available to chat on facebook now and again over the next couple of weeks, please don’t forget to check out my gofundme page, which also tells you more about why I do this, and why – even though I know I could put up a paywall and charge for access – I would really like you to join the community of people who are helping me keep it online for free.


donatebuttonThis post is part of Sara’s 2014 BlogFest, in which I’m writing a birth-related blog post every weekday for two weeks as a thank you to those who have supported the heart-funded element of my work in 2014 and in the hope that others who share my goal of having a source of free birth-related info for midwives, birthworkers, women and families will consider making a donation in order to kickstart my efforts to keep this site and my research-sharing activities free throughout 2015 – please click here to donate, and thank you for caring about women and babies.

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