A Bedford mum has won a prestigious national award for campaigning in her baby son’s memory.
Leigh Kendall was named winner of the Tommy’s ‘Mum’s Voice’ Award at a ceremony in London.
The Mum’s Voice Award celebrates a mum who has spoken out about her own pregnancy experience and given hope to others.
The accolade is one category in the Individual Awards that celebrate the courage, strength and amazing support given by family members, friends and health professionals as well as acknowledging those who have triumphed against adversity.
Her win, announced on Friday, March 11, is recognition for her bravery in blogging after her traumatic pregnancy experience.
In February 2014, when she was just 24 weeks’ pregnant, she was diagnosed with the rare, life-threatening pregnancy complications pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. The only cure is for the baby to be born, otherwise both mother and child are likely to die.
Leigh’s son Hugo tragically died aged 35 days. He was too small, and premature.
Since Hugo’s death, Leigh has been campaigning through her blog, Headspace Perspective, to raise awareness of HELLP syndrome, premature babies and baby loss. The campaign is known as Hugo’s Legacy.
Her blogging means other women going through similar experiences feel solace in the fact that they are not alone. Her experience of grieving and being an “empty armed mother” are described in the blog and help support others going through baby loss.
Leigh said: “Winning the Tommy’s Mum’s Voice Award is an incredible accolade of which I am very proud. I would much rather Hugo be with me, and have no award.
“However, there is nothing that will bring Hugo back, and his legacy means that my precious, tiny boy is having a huge impact on the world. HELLP syndrome is not widely known about, and I had never heard of it before I was diagnosed, while baby loss remains a taboo subject. Knowing that by raising awareness of my and Hugo’s story through my blog I am helping other families is a comfort in my grief.”
Leigh is part of the grassroots Maternity Experience (#MatExp) movement. As a result of her own experiences she campaigns for better communication for women in pregnancy and during the postnatal period. While clinically nothing more could have done for Leigh or for Hugo, there were many incidences where poor or insensitive communication made a very emotional time more stressful.