Leigh KendallLeigh Kendall delivered her son Hugo at just 24 weeks’ gestation due to the rare, life-threatening pregnancy complications severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Hugo fought hard for 35 days but sadly he was too small, and premature.

Since Hugo’s death, Leigh has been using her blog, Headspace Perspective to raise awareness of baby loss, positive pregnancy, and related issues.

Leigh has also used her years of NHS communications experience to set up an organisation, Bright in Mind and Spirit, aimed at improving healthcare communication, with a specific focus on neonatal care and information for bereaved parents.

She has recently given talks at hospitals about what went well, and what could be improved to help staff learn how to make sure other parents’ experiences are as good as they can be.

Describe a typical day for you?

At the moment, I’m on maternity leave. Most days start with a cup of tea while I check emails and social media etc. I will usually hit the laptop and write some posts. Depending on how I am feeling that day, I might go to the gym, or meet a friend for a chat.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

My little boy, Hugo. Despite his small size, Hugo inspired so many people with his strength, fight and determination.

Linked to that, while I feel uncomfortable about the success my blog has had this year (I’ve blogged for years, but it is only since Hugo’s death that people other than my family and friends have read it), I feel proud that my posts have helped so many other people.

Fellow bereaved parents have got in touch to thank me for putting in to words what they could not articulate, while people have not lost a baby feel they now know the better things to say to a bereaved parent.

I also feel a sense of pride that doctors and nurses have said they will review their practise as a result of my hospital talks.

What’s in your handbag?

The usual things: purse, phone, keys, hairbrush, lip balm, pen. One of Hugo’s little knitted hats always goes with me in my handbag wherever I go, too.

What are your ambitions in life?

To use my writing talents and my NHS communications background to make a positive difference to the lives of families who have a premature baby, especially those whose babies die. I would also like to raise awareness of pregnancy conditions such as preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome so expectant mums are more aware of the signs and symptoms – it’s vital, because mums and babies can and do die from these illnesses.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Hmm, that is a difficult one because if there is one thing I have learnt this year, you never know what is around the corner.

However, if I have my way I would like to have a little brother or sister for Hugo.

I would also like to be actively working on achieving my ambitions – although at this point in time I don’t know what form that will take.

 What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field?

Write, write, and then write some more. It’s the best way to improve your writing. If you are able to, invest in a writing course – it is an excellent way to hone your skills and get a professionals’ feedback. There are good distance-learning courses available online.

Be curious, inquisitive, ask questions – why are things that way? Can they be done better? How can I use my skills to make a difference?

Finally, happiness is…

Without wanting to conclude on a damp note, happiness is rather elusive at the moment. However, things that put a smile on my face are people complimenting me on how gorgeous Hugo is, or saying that a post I have written has helped them in some way.

Oh, and pretty dresses, wine and chocolate!

Facebook Page: Headspace Perspective and @leighakendall on twitter.

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28 Responses

  1. ghostwritermummy

    What a wonderful interview. I love Leigh’s blog and find it very inspiring to read. She is a lovely person too, such a strong woman who is doing her precious son proud. x x x
    ghostwritermummy recently posted…#MyPositivePregnancyMy Profile

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  2. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper

    Love Leigh’s blog since I discovered it a couple of months ago- I find it so inspiring that she’s turning such a personal tragedy and channeling it into something positive, by writing, and therefore educating and emotionally supporting others, even if she might be unaware of how many people she’s actually touched. I’m not sure I could be so strong in such a sad situation. May Hugo’s legacy live on xx
    Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper recently posted…Freddie’s Christmas WishlistMy Profile

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  3. mummytries

    You already know how amazing I think you are Leigh. I’m so pleased to hear that hospitals are reviewing their practices because of your campaigning. Keep up the wonderful work xxx
    mummytries recently posted…A letter to my former selfMy Profile

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  4. JoyandPops

    This is a great interview – Leigh, you are so brave to be using your experience to help others, it is vital work.
    I’m glad you have something treasured of Hugo’s to carry with you, it helps doesn’t it. I have a lock of my son Louis’s hair in a beautiful locket. I’ve had to replace the chain but I doubt I’ll ever stop wearing it.
    Take care.
    Xx
    JoyandPops recently posted…Stillbirth – The Story Always Rumbles On.My Profile

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    • Leigh - Headspace Perspective

      Thank you, lovely. It’s so important to talk about outer babies who aren’t in your arms. Carrying a lock of Louis’ hair is a lovely idea – I’m sure you find the locket as much as a comfort as I do Hugo’s hat xxx
      Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…This week has been brought to you by a feeling of sadnessMy Profile

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  5. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    What a wonderful interview Vicki. Leigh I’m so glad that I found your blog earlier this year – you are an inspiration to me and many others and your work to create a legacy for beautiful Hugo is a testament to your courage and strength x
    Michelle Reeves (bodfortea) recently posted…Little Man’s jungle party!My Profile

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  6. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    You know I love you both so much. Vicki – as ever i’m a huge fan of your work and Leigh, well, you are just a total inspiration. I am forever in awe of your courage, honesty and dedication to making a difference. A wonderful post about a wonderful woman. Well done both of you xxx
    (Leigh – I also loved hearing about how you take Hugo’s hat with you. Made me smile) x
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…Tell YOUR story with a bespoke braceletMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Katie for your lovely, touching words, love you too and so honoured to have found you both from this wonderful blogging world. Leigh is so brave in sharing her story and Hugo’s legacy with me and I feel privileged x

      Reply
    • Leigh - Headspace Perspective

      Bless you Katie – I have ever met you or Vicki but you have both been such good friends to me – your love and friendship genuinely means so much to me. I hope we can rectify the not-having-yet-met situation soon! Hugo’s hats still carry a bit of his smell, and show just how small he was – special memories of a special boy xxx
      Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…This week has been brought to you by a feeling of sadnessMy Profile

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  7. Leigh - Headspace Perspective

    Thanks again for featuring me Vicki – it’s lovely to be able to tell more people about my beautiful Hugo xxx
    Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…The Hunger Games – a satire on our hunger for reality TVMy Profile

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  8. Gym Bunny Mummy

    Wow, what a wonderful woman. I think it’s amazing when someone suffers such a devastating loss yet goes on to help other people cope with their loss. I truly wish you every happiness in the future xx
    Gym Bunny Mummy recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays | Little Cupcake ThiefMy Profile

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