A MOTHER has been shortlisted for a national fundraising award.

Gemma Metcalfe-Beckers, 35, is in the running for a Tommy’s Star Fundraiser award.

The accolade recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond on behalf of Tommy’s, a charity which funds medical research into the causes of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage.

Gemma, from Haywards Heath, experienced a traumatic birth with her two girls Marni, three, and Lena, six, and almost died.

She also had a miscarriage and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

But since then, she has worked as a buyer for high street

clothing and founded Mutha.Hood.

The clothing business sells a range of T-shirts and slogan merchandise called the Strong Girls Club, designed to empower and celebrate women and girls.

Her special edition lilac T-shirts with the slogan “Strong Girls Club” emblazoned on the front has raised more than £10,000 for Tommy’s.

It was launched in collaboration with Elle Wright, author of Ask Me His Name, which she wrote in memory of her son

Teddy, who died at three days old.

In the UK, more than 700,000 women give birth every year and one in five women will experience mental health issues during or after pregnancy.

According to Tommy’s research, suicide is one of the top five causes of death during and just after pregnancy.

Gemma said: “The foundations of Strong Girls Club are built on my own experiences during labour and birth and being told to ‘get on with it’ after I almost died in childbirth.

“So many of us give the glossy impression that we are fine, but deep down there is so much pain.

“Strong Girls Club aims to empower women and girls of all ages showing us all there is nothing stopping us to be whoever we want to be and to achieve our dreams.

“I am thrilled the special edition Strong Girls Club tees have raised so much money to help fund Tommy’s work researching miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

“Tommy’s is incredibly supportive of maternal mental health with resources and advice.

“It’s important for people who are in the depths of despair to know Tommy’s can help.”

Jane Brewin, chief executive of Tommy’s, said: “We can’t stress the importance of maternal mental health enough and the impact of poor mental health during pregnancy and post-natally.

“Suicide is the fifth most common cause of death during pregnancy and six weeks after birth.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death during the first year after pregnancy.

“Despite this, there is far more information provided to pregnant women on physical wellbeing than on mental wellbeing.

“The majority of resources and services that do exist tend to focus on women who have been identified by midwives with an existing mental illness diagnosis, rather than helping those who develop problems during their pregnancy.”