On 7th May, I will be setting off on my laden bike from Land’s End with 3 friends, with 1000 miles ahead of us to reach John O’Groats in 2 weeks. We are carrying everything with us and staying in hotels and guest houses.
As a huge physical and mental challenge for me, I want to use this as an opportunity to continue raising awareness of something that is so important to me – miscarriage and baby loss, and the impact on mental health, and to fundraise for a small charity with a vital and invaluable purpose, that is so close to our hearts and played a big part in our miscarriage journey. We found Footsteps when we were living in Gloucester and were both fortunate to receive counselling support from them.
Towards the end of 2019, we’d made the painful decision to stop trying following our 4th loss, and I began to realise how much everything had taken its toll on me and my mental health. The following April, I started miscarriage counselling through this amazing charity.
About Footsteps Counselling & Care:
“Footsteps Counselling & Care is a charitable organisation offering compassionate counselling and care for anyone in the Gloucestershire area affected by pregnancy-related issues, the loss of a baby for any reason, traumatic birth, fertility problems and pregnancy-related mental health issues.
Our vision is that anyone affected by fertility or pregnancy-related issues, traumatic birth or baby loss can access compassionate personalised support on the journey of coping with their traumatic experiences.”
Footsteps don’t charge for their service but ask for a donation from those that are able to pay what they can towards sessions.
Thankfully, there is lots of research and campaigning being done around the impact of miscarriage on mental health, but there is still minimal support offered, so charities like Footsteps play such an important role in filling this gap.
“As research continues to show, the mental health impact of miscarriage is profound, much greater than previously thought, and it is affecting those who miscarry and their partners in the short and long term. Mental health support must be made available after every miscarriage for those who need it.” (Kath Abrahams, Tommy’s Chief Executive)
When I reflect on where I was a couple of years ago and where I am now, I honestly can’t imagine myself even considering doing this, without the support I received from Footsteps, which helped me find myself again in so many ways.
That’s not to say that I’m not having moments of apprehension about what I’m about to do.
As I talked about in ‘the vice versa bit’ in the blog* I wrote 18 months ago about my journey, I have often experienced feelings of anxiety during exercise, particularly being somewhere that feels remote to me, not knowing where I am, and the fear of having a panic attack, so cycling across the Highlands is something I never would have thought I’d be doing - this is definitely another big mental, as well as physical challenge for me, but I know the experience, the view, the company from my co-cyclists, and doing it for such an important cause will get me there.
I have to finish with the quote from the end of my blog* as it continues to be so true…
“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you’ve come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” (unknown)
I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a few pounds for this amazing cause, to keep me going as I traverse the length of the UK - any donation, however small, will make such a huge difference to Footsteps and those they support; as a small charity, they rely on fundraising to continue their work.
Thank you xx
*My previous blog: https://bronwenventures.wordpress.com/2021/10/15/tackling-anxiety-with-exercise-and-vice-versa-my-journey-to-ironman-70-3-weymouth/
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