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OJ The Octopus

So I’m not a craft person…never have been and didn’t think I ever would be. I’m useless at sewing and have no patience for creating fiddly things! But that was before….

During my pregnancy with Ollie I had a sea creature theme for his clothing and toys, we were limited on space in our old house due so this wasn’t possible to do for his nursery but everything else followed either a sea creature, elephant or Peter Rabbit theme. I remember specifically buying him a beautiful little jumper from The White Company with an octopus on the front to match his little jeans – it was my favourite outfit. He also had a mutli coloured octopus attached to his pram and lots of baby grows with lobsters, crabs and octopuses on.

In the days and months following his death, I struggled to find a purpose. I signed up for a sponsored half marathon walk for SANDS in London, which I completed in January raising £1,800. I moved home, I joined a gym, I managed to secure a place on a leadership course for work but something still wasn’t right, I felt as though all of these things weren’t something I was supposed to be doing and I was getting frustrated. I wanted to do something that made a difference, that I was passionate about and to help raise awareness around the stigma of baby loss. Then I read a book, Untamed by Glennon Doyle recently made even more famous by Adele posting a copy on her instagram. I heard the book was life changing, so I gave it a try and to be honest it was. There is a chapter around Heartbreak and Grief, and how often these tragic events bring about a realisation of your purpose in life and I realised that what I was passionate about was staring at me straight in the face, I just didn’t see it.

However 2 weeks later I finally found the strength to look inside Ollie’s memory box which we received from the hospital after he died. I only made it as far as his Certificate of Life and his handprints, but I did see all of the beautiful donated gifts from charities and other bereaved parents that were enclosed, which brought me some comfort. One donation which was a little keychain with a footprint from the charity 4Louis and a 5 year memory diary which really made me smile. I went home and started thinking about what we could do to bring a small smile to peoples faces during their darkest hours whilst honouring our boys memory. I looked at my phone and my screensaver is an Octopus drawn by Zeppelin Moon (please have a look at her work she’s fantastic) and the octopus was saying ‘Octopus did not know if God was real or whether there was a big bang or whether he was a fragment of someone’s imagination. but he had today and he had flowers’. We needed to make octopuses. The next day I emailed Calderdale (who we still have ongoing issues with…) and asked if we were able to contribute to the boxes, we went to numerous craft shops and bought felt, tags, ribbon, thread, stickers, cards and started to make them. My mum and I aren’t the best sewers and most of the octopuses are very rough indeed! But they are made individually and are all different – Just like our babies. Each little Octopus takes around 1 hour to make and is sent with a little footprint, hand written card and wrapped in tissue paper. We will get better at making them and have done as time has gone on but I finally realised that after starting this blog and starting our octopus workshops, circulating Ollie’s story to be published on SANDS and Teddy’s Wish etc that this is what we were supposed to be doing. I’ve found bringing a focus to my life comforts me and doesn’t allow our son to fade away, which is my biggest fear. It helps to cure the loneliness I’ve felt recently and every octopus makes me smile. Octopuses have 3 hearts (one for both parents and baby) and their mothers give their lives to protect their young. I would have given my life in a second if it would have saved Ollie and this really resonated with me.

We are now planning on putting together care packages and starting an Etsy shop which will be announced soon, with profits being donated to Tommy’s and SANDS charities.

🤍 Each octopus is individual, none are the same. Just like our babies. 

🤍 Colours and themes can be personalised/requested such as flowers, stars, hearts etc.

🤍 Each octopus takes around 1 hour to make & 30 minutes to personalise your pack & prepare for postage so please bear with us 🥰

🤍 We are not professional crafts people…. Yet! These are just handmade with love to hopefully put a small smile on peoples faces. 

🤍 OJ’s shouldn’t be given to children as they have small parts, which could be a choking hazard. 

🤍 From March 3rd all OJ’s will come with a footprint, poem card, handwritten note & Ollie’s story. 

Please DM to order a handmade octopus free of charge if you are a bereaved parent. Please don’t be shy, order away! 

If you are not a bereaved parent, and would still like to order an octopus all we ask is for a small donation to be made to @tommys charity or any baby loss charity of your choice, in memory of Ollie.

If anyone would like a handmade octopus free of charge please fill in the contact form at the bottom of the page 🙂

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