From the moment you hear that first newborn cry, hold that tiny little hand, or stroke that softer-than-soft downy cheek, as a mother you realise that the task of being “Mum” is bigger than anything you could have imagined.
It’s an amazing, sometimes scary, often frustrating and totally rewarding journey that only another mother can understand.
It is this journey that is at the centre of a story of friendship, loss and the power of 80 women united for a cause –it’s the story of Natalie Press.
Bright, beautiful, bubbly Natalie and her devoted partner Travis welcomed their first child, Lexie to the world on October 21, 2010.
Like all new mums, Natalie was smitten beyond belief with her precious daughter. Throughout her pregnancy, the birth and the sleepless haze of the early days, Nat shared her baby story with us – her Octomums.
At the beginning of last year, when home pregnancy tests were showing faint blue lines, newly-pregnant women across the country were tentatively signing up to join an online baby forum for those due in October 2010.
What began as a place to share advice on morning sickness, pregnancy insomnia, the dreaded weight gain and midnight cravings became a place where friendships blossomed.
Our group became a haven where we could share anything that was on our minds – we’d ask for suggestions on what to cook for dinner, rant and rave over why our partners could not seem to put their dirty socks in the laundry basket or share our worries and excitement over the impending new arrivals.
The births of our babies only served to strengthen the bond – that powerful force, motherhood, made us even more grateful to have each other. If you were awake feeding at 3am, someone else, somewhere, would be online.
There are mums from all across Australia and New Zealand, most who have never met face-to-face, but who chat online almost every day. It’s amazing how close you can feel to people you have never laid eyes on.
As we moved toward that magical first birthday for our babies, we were better friends than ever and full of excitement at the impending celebrations.
Until October 1, when we logged into Facebook.
With gut-wrenching sadness we read that Natalie had died. Passed away suddenly at only 21. Even more devastating was that she was pregnant with her second child.
We were dumbfounded and shocked – so heartbroken for the friend we had lost, the little baby that would never be held by her family, and darling little Lexie, who’s mum had been cruelly taken away from her.
We could not imagine the pain Travis and Natalie’s family would be feeling, and though we didn’t know what, there was an overwhelming urge that we had to do SOMETHING to help.
Through a frenzy of posts and comments, the Octomums decided to raise some money to help Natalie’s loved ones – and so The Lexie Dendunnen Trust Fund was born.
A Facebook page was set up and within a matter of days, 2000 likers had come on board to support the cause – and it’s still growing!
Donations were sought for an online auction and – Wow! Businesses and individuals from all over the country came forward to help out in an overwhelming wave of kindness.
Lexie’s little Octobub friends and their siblings have been elbow-deep in finger paints, creating masterpieces for people to purchase in support of the trust.
In only two short weeks, the trust has touched the hearts of so many and left us amazed at the power of Facebook and what it can achieve when used for good.
We miss our beautiful Nat every day – her posts that were always full of life and love, her devotion to Lexie and the support she offered to us all. She has been laid to rest with her unborn daughter, Willow, but she will never be forgotten by her Octomums.
Just as we will never forget Lexie. Each time we look at our own little ones, it saddens us to know that Lexie will be growing up without her mum – but we have vowed to look out for her in any way we can.
The first step is to make the online auction a success – it begins on Lexie’s first birthday, October 21, 2011 and we are hoping to achieve some amazing results that would make Nat proud.
Please get behind this great cause and help the Octomums make a difference.
Click here to join the auction and the Facebook page