Meet the LSW Team
I’m a mum myself to 3 little people – Elsie-Rose, Anastasia and Gabriel. I’m also Mum to our children who aren’t so lucky, being that stranger trying to hold pieces together in the name of foster care.
Over the years I’ve enjoyed setting myself personal challenges. These started out as long-distance walks. Â My first walk, many moons ago, was from Brisbane to Canberra. It was called Walk With a Rose, and it became a national awareness raising event about Acquired Brain Injury and the lack of respite care available in Australia. It raised an amount of $50,000 and received extensive national coverage. You can see the episode of Australian Story here. And you can read over the blog I kept here.
My second initiative was called Strength to Speak. It was aimed at raising awareness of depression and anxiety. With strong local and national support I created the Strength to Speak program which was placed in 425 schools across Australia. To promote the program, I completed a four month walk from Perth to Canberra in. You can take a look at the program here. And you can read over the long and dusty blog I kept here.
I went on to do some uni work, travelled, and began working with disadvantaged youth and in a program for young sex offenders – I stayed with these programs for about 5 years.
In 2006, I won the Young Person of the Year Award through the Foundation for Young Australians, have become the ACT Youth Advocate for Drug Free Australia, have established the Walk With a Rose Foundation for people in the ACT with acquired brain injury to access respite care, and became the 2008 recipient of the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year award.
I then become a certified Simplicity Parenting coach and had my first daughter Elsie. So I started to talk to parents a lot and ran group gatherings and workshops to childcare providers, foster parents, grandparents, social workers, educators, counsellors and other care professionals who work with children and families in order to guide them in reconnecting with their own values through layers of simplicity that can be incorporated into their family lives.
For the past seven years, I have worked as a foster carer for high risk adolescents, mentoring and supporting while they live with me in my home.
I have since become double certified as a birth doula after my second daughter was born and started up a business as a placenta encapsulator…this is a beautiful service for happy birth outcomes and you can find a list of verified placenta encapsulators available by state here.
During the time I was spending journeying with birthing women as a doula, I always felt there was more of a pull towards being with the women who devastatingly learn of their baby’s death or learn of their baby’s fatal diagnosis…yet I felt unequipped. There were questions I needed answers to and things I felt I needed to learn before I continued to step into those spaces.
I found some bereavement doula training which was detailed and confronting – it was just what I needed – however, it was based overseas, which came with differences in systems and legalities. Nevertheless, the content was what I needed at the time.
I gave birth to my son, and decided to then focus on my role as a bereavement doula to only be available for these women. I felt like I was being true to my passion and gift. Then, over a period of time, I was contacted by families in other states in Australia, asking if I could find a bereavement doula to help a Â mother there who is experiencing the death of her child. More often than not, I had no luck. There is an abundance of doulas, yet the training to be a bereavement doula is different. For example, there is specific knowledge about how labour can work differently (and not in the mother’s favour) if the baby is sick or has died.
However, I’ve now ‘worked’ from afar with mothers experiencing the death of their baby for long enough to know that it shouldn’t be me being with them .. I never does feel quite right. Â Instinctively, I know the person to best serve that mother was someone already in her tribe. So I then began to change the way I worked and would instead train them, the bereaved mother’s sister, over the phone and online, so that they would be the one able to offer support and have knowledge regarding options for that woman. Which felt so much better, as it meant there were no shift needed to the already established tribe around that woman.
Working forward to improve things from there I knew what was needed and am developing my business Little Silk Wings. This is an Australian bereavement doula training platform and resource centre. It will provide both immediate, free information about what to expect when supporting a mother whose baby had died or will die, as well as the option to be a part of extensive, detailed training to be certified as a Little Silk Wings Practitioner and be called upon to support other mums in your community.
I feel strongly about continuing to connect with young people in my community and am passionate about working with families for best outcomes particularly for children and will continue to do this through Little Silk Wings with the intention of supporting, guiding and informing young people about grief and death.
My name is Jessica. I am based in Macksville, on the Mid North Coast of NSW, where I have lived for over 20 years. It was here I met and married my High School sweetheart, and where we have welcomed two beautiful sons into our lives.
I graduated from the Australian Doula College in 2011, and have been blessed to support many families throughout their experiences of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.
I am also a qualified bereavement doula. I provide support to families who suffer the devastation of the loss of a baby.
When I was 10 years old, my precious brother Bradley was born at 36 weeks. We were shocked to learn he was born with the chromosomal condition Trisomy 13, also known as Patau Syndrome, and sadly Bradley passed away when he was two days old. I had known of infant death from a very early age, as my family were very open about their losses, but this was the first time I had experienced it personally.
I was blessed to be able to spend a few hours at the hospital with my Mum and Bradley after he’d died, where I had the privilege of dressing him and changing his nappy for the very last time. This was such a special and powerful bonding time to have, and I cherished my time with him.
Years later, in my work as a doula, I realised that this time after death is not something all families get to experience, and that while we have come so far in regards to how we support families when a baby dies, we still have a long way to go.
It was due to this I decided to train as a bereavement doula, and be willing to walk alongside families as they navigate through their grief. I have also been instrumental in bringing three Cuddle Cots to the Mid North Coast, and have taken on the role of Regional Co-ordinator for Angel Gowns Australia Inc.
During my training, I met another remarkable doula, who also had a passion to offer support to grieving families, Amy Banson from Little Silk Wings.
Amy and I soon formed a friendship, and she asked me to consider helping her develop and grow an Australian based training program for those who wish to hold the space for bereaved families. I am very much looking forward to being part of the Little Silk Wings trainings and offerings.