Happy 6th Birthday 🎈

6 years ago, I had the most incredible honour to grow you, to be your home and to be your Mom. You were mine, no one closer to you, no one knew you like me, no one had the time with you as I did. I was the lucky one. To love you is to be blessed. Sometimes I ask myself what I did to deserve you. To be so fortunate to experience such deep unconditional love. I didn’t know this deep love until you. It was like you opened a vortex of love within me. I am forever grateful.

You will forever be my guiding light, my reminder to choose love, and to see that even in the most painful moments of life, there is light, and love exists.

You have blessed me with the greatest gift. You gave me purpose. It is you I think of when presented with hard things. You remind me when I feel all the feels that it will pass; nothing lasts forever, not joy, not sadness, not excitement, nor fear; they are all temporary.

Life is created by combining all these moments, feelings and experiences, which make this beautiful rich tapestry we call life. Because of you, my tapestry is vibrant. Because of you, I experienced the full spectrum of emotions, the deepest of sorrows, the purest of joy, and unconditional love. You made me see that the weight of your loss was balanced out with all your lessons; you have made me see that the hole in my heart will remain, but it doesn’t have to hurt as much. You showed me how love, loss, joy, and sorrow could coexist. We are meant to experience and welcome all of it. Surrender and allow life to unfold.

Thank you. I am forever grateful you chose me to be your Mom, and I will forever chose you.

Here’s to SIX years of being blessed by you. You are incredible.

🎈 Happy Birthday, Theodore.

Love you, forever and always.

Your Mom

An Open Letter To My OB: You Were Wrong

Originally published in Still Standing Magazine

Dear OB: You looked me in the eye and told me my son was sick and his heart had many defects. You talked about his chances of living; slim to none.

You told me I had a responsibility to my living children and that should this boy live his life it will be within the walls of a hospital. You said he will steal all of his mother’s attention; he would steal his mother’s precious time.

You told me my marriage wouldn’t survive and my other boys would suffer. You told me to terminate my pregnancy.

You were right about him being sick.

You were right that he didn’t have much of a chance at life outside the womb. Yet you never considered the life he would live within the womb. You couldn’t see that he was my baby, that continuing my pregnancy gave me the opportunity to love, nurture and mother him longer.

You couldn’t see that if his whole life was only months long, weeks are significant, so that time for us mattered.

You were wrong about my marriage.

It wouldn’t end. You had no idea what we’ve experienced previously as a couple, and you couldn’t see the well-cemented foundation our relationship stands on. You didn’t remotely know us; we only just met you.

You didn’t know me.

You told me so confidently that I would change my mind and would be back to end my pregnancy. You told me I would be so full of anxiety and so stressed out that, without a doubt, I would want to get it over with. When I asked you if you ever thought that maybe, by the time my son would be born, I would have made peace with his short life, you looked at me like I was crazy and said that would never happen.

You were wrong.

You didn’t know me or the capabilities of my heart. I didn’t experience any of what you predicted. Instead, I felt connected. I flooded my son with love — giving him a lifetime of love within months. I felt blessed every day he was still with us.

I wrote to him, I danced with him, I went to prenatal yoga classes with him, and I gave him a life worth living while he was alive. On the day he was born, my heart was heavy but I was at peace with our journey. Mr. OB, you were wrong!

You, sir, aren’t a mother.

So, I don’t expect you to understand. But I do expect you to not pretend as you do. You should know that every person will have a different experience.

Every mother has the right to choose what’s best for her and what she feels is the most loving choice in pregnancy for her baby, herself, and her family. You can’t answer those questions for her.

Your job is to offer options.

With all due respect, in the future please offer all options that are safe and appropriate — even if they are not ones you would choose. What you don’t seem to understand is there is no saving a mom from heartbreak when her baby dies.

Not at 6 weeks, not at 4 months, and not at 9 months.

A dead baby equals a crushed and heartbroken mom. It’s true that for some ending the pregnancy sooner than later is the most loving choice. However, for others, it only complicates grief.

Either way, a mother is losing her baby.So maybe next time, give love, offer support, and provide all safe options and show a little less judgment and negativity.


The mom you couldn’t understand

This Is Five! Happy Birthday Teddy 🎂

𝔹𝕚𝕣𝕥𝕙, 𝕕𝕖𝕒𝕥𝕙, 𝕝𝕠𝕧𝕖 = 𝕝𝕚𝕗𝕖. Not all life looks the same but every life leaves an imprint and changes those who are acquainted with that life.

I think of this day 5 years ago and I feel I was given the greatest honour. I held life and watched life slip away. I felt love, unlike anything I had ever felt before. I felt my soul transform, my heart grow and break simultaneously. Changed forever by the greatest and hardest gift I have ever been given.

My son died of a broken heart, it was as if our hearts were one. Both totally broken, Teddy’s stopped beating and mine left wondering how it could keep going amongst the brokenness.

As I reflect on this brokenness I see all the healing I have done, all the gratitude I have found, and the purpose his life has given me. For me, at times my faith was the only thing to carry me. To know my brokenness was held in God’s hands and he held me while giving me the strength to see light in my darkest days.

If Teddy’s life can teach you anything, it would be that you too can find the light on those dark days. You need to look for your lighthouse. The weight of your burdens won’t always feel as heavy. It is hard to see that when you are in the eye of the storm, and when you are coming up for air, continually being hit by another wave, but trust me. Hold on, someone, something, is coming to help carry the load until it lessens.

My heart will always have a Teddy shaped hole. I will always see him missing. He will always hold his place in our family. But my heart is filled with joy, love and peace. Ryan and I live our lives with intention, and that includes honouring our third son. He will forever be our son, our love, and our pride and joy. We miss him, especially on a day like today. We wish celebrating his birthday looked different, we feel all that we have lost but we will always choose this over never have had him a part of our family. He is worth the tears, he has given us more than he has taken. Today we are sad, our hearts feel heavy but with that peace is present along with gratitude and some joy. We feel blessed.

Happy 5th Birthday Teddy! I hope Poppa makes today special for you. ❤️ You both are loved and missed beyond measure.

Unexpected Moments And The Gravity Of Baby Loss

Originally published in Still Standing Magazine

Often the hardest moments are the ones that sneak up on you. The ones you didn’t see coming. The ones, when reflecting back, you wonder how you didn’t see it.

When my son died, I was ready. I knew it was going to happen there was no way around it. I knew it would be a day filled with a wide range of emotion. I can easily identify two specific moments that were the hardest, one of which I never saw coming. I knew walking out of the hospital without a baby was going to be so painful and I knew there was no preparation that could help. The second one caught me off guard, and in all the weeks leading up to his birth/death I didn’t think of this moment and that was having to hand my baby over to a stranger when our time was done.

Teddy was born at 11:22 am and lived 22 minutes. We spent hours together afterwards. I took a nap with him. We held him, and we told him all the things we wanted to say. We had pictures taken of him, we had him baptized, and he met one of his grandmothers. The time came when we had to say goodbye. I didn’t know leading up to the day how we could ever make that choice, but there was a point when my husband said it was time, and I knew in my heart it was.

What I didn’t realize was that we would have to call the funeral home ourselves to come to get him; I didn’t realize a man in a suit would come into our room with a box. I did know that this would be the precise moment the gravity of our situation would truly hit. My husband was so brave, he politely asked the man to leave. He told me to say goodbye and walked Teddy down the hall and placed him, our son, into a box and said goodbye for the last time.

He walked back into our room a changed man. These types of experiences affect every fiber of your being. I screamed for my baby back, my body and my arms ached for Teddy something fierce, and I wept harder than I knew humanly possible while my husband held me quietly grieving his son.

Nothing in my life up until that moment had been so permanent. I couldn’t sneak back and have another minute, I couldn’t change my mind, I couldn’t even pray for it to be different. It was what it was. Our son was in a box all alone, and we put him there. We would never see him again. It was forever.

Since that day we have encountered people who don’t understand why this loss hurts so deeply. Why this loss will be forever carried with us and has forever changed us. These same people don’t understand what our experience looked like. I know if they had placed their baby in a box to never see them again, they wouldn’t feel, think, or say the things they have.

I don’t blame people for not understanding the depth of our loss. It is one that is incomprehensible until you lived it. Baby’s don’t evaporate; there is a whole process to a loss, from the beginning moments of finding out the baby is going to die or is dead all the way through to leaving a hospital empty handed and beyond. Sometimes that process is hours and sometimes, like for us, it was around 10 weeks. Every experience is different, the common link is that these experience change those involved forever. Please don’t judge, instead just give love.

The Unexpected Gift

Happiest of Birthdays my beautiful baby boy.

Today you would have been bringing cupcakes to your class for the first time. Or maybe you would be more like your brothers and would want to bring doughnuts. Either way, the day would be about you and all that you have become.

It is hard to accept you were born all you would be. I feel so robbed. You never made a friend, you never went to the park, you never spoke your first word, you never made me laugh, and I never felt your hugs. So many lost opportunities. So many opportunities for my heart to feel this loss for you.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones? You never experienced hardships, your heart only knew pure unconditional love, you never experienced pain. Your life was blissfully short. For you, this is exactly what I would want. Most people have experiences in life to help them grow and expand as souls on earth. You came here to help us with that never needing to expend yourself. You gave all of you to us.

I am so grateful to you. I feel like I was given the greatest gift by being able to provide you a home while you grew, to hold you, to love you and been loved by you.

Over the past four years, we have been blessed by so many people who reached out to express love, who brought us food, who delivered a gift in your honour. We have beautiful gifts throughout our home that when I look at them I know they were given because of you. When I decorate our tree I have decorations to hang for you just like we have for your siblings.

The unintended gift from these acts of kindness is that we were gifted memories for you. Long after when creating your memories were lost others stepped in and helped us create some for you. I am sure over the last four years there were times I didn’t properly articulate my gratitude to each person. My wish is that they are all aware of how grateful I truly am, how the gifts they gave were invaluable. From text messages to unexpected visits, to letting me know they remember you or love you, to the beautiful physical gifts we will treasure and the donations made in your honour. They are all held in my heart with pure gratitude.

So here we are, you have been gone four years. I would choose to do it all again. You changed me in the greatest way. Today my heart aches for you. I would do anything to go back and hold you one more time. I am grateful as heavy today is, tomorrow will be lighter and maybe even filled with joy. I am grateful for the days I sit in the mud and long for you and that now I mostly live a life free of the heavy pain and you bring a smile more than tears.

I love you. I thank you. I am wishing you the most beautiful day today. Work hard and get all those candles out in one shot buddy. Don’t forget to make a wish. 💫

Your Momma bear.

As The Wind Blows

As the calendar turns over and we move into November my heart always twinges. This year it wasn’t as obvious. It shows up in irritability, feelings of anxiousness, and a level of sadness. Then all the signs of Teddy appear, I feel him close, his presence is made abundantly clear and it all made so much sense why these emotions are so close to the surface.

November comes with cooler weather, sometimes light snowfalls, the air is crisp and the wind has a different feeling of power as blows around. It is only this year that I am aware all of those things are triggers for my heart when it comes to Teddy’s loss. December was very mild the year he died. It was more like a November.

My heart and body won’t forget these imprints even though my conscious mind often does.

Grief is so interesting. It changes so much as time passes. Four years ago I was so consumed with loving this baby so deeply before his time was over. My heart was all of his. One year later my heart was shattered, I remember so clearly feeling so heartbroken for me, the Mom who endured it all. Each day that passed I remembered so clearly where I was the year before, I couldn’t believe what my heart was expected to live through.

Time passes, and here I am four years later. Day to day my heart and life are filled with so much joy. The heaviness has lifted and an outsider would have no clue all that my heart has endured when they see me out with my three vibrant living children. Time didn’t heal my heart, I did a lot of work to find healing and to lift the heavy blanket of raw grief and time was the gift that allowed that to happen.

So today, I am in our dearest Teddy’s favourite place. I feel him. I miss him and the grief is heavier than it has been in many months, shamefully or maybe proudly I don’t remember the last time when my heart felt this heavy.

Three years ago I never thought the day would come when my heart would feel light and the heavy days were no longer the norm. I didn’t think the day would come that I could allow myself to move through the grief and without guilt, welcoming joy and allow it to be our primary emotion. I am so proud of myself and Ryan that we have done exactly that. Doing so doesn’t exempt us from the days that grief still washes over but it is no longer scary because we know with certainty it is temporary, joy will return.

People talk about grief, you can read about it, but until you experience it you truly have no idea what it will look like. It is ever-evolving, it is unique to everyone and can be unpredictable. I have no idea what this December will feel like this year. I certainly didn’t anticipate how the arrival of November would feel and how so many emotions have surfaced by the environmental triggers.

I don’t know what is to come but today I am holding Teddy so close to my heart, I am at his favourite place, I will feel him in the breeze, I will smell him in the bonfire, I will hear him in the movement of the lake and will see him in his siblings eyes. He is woven throughout each of us and I may argue he the most beautiful common thread within us.

Teddy, the truth is my heart misses you. . .

All the time.

Every second.

Every minute.

Every hour.

Every day.

XOXO Your Momma ❤️

Strength Isn’t Always As Strong As It Appears

Originally posted in Still Standing Magazine

Strength is often talked about when discussing the grieving.

When someone has experienced a significant loss, onlookers or people lining the sidelines often say things about the person’s strength with admiration.

What if this perceived strength comes at a cost?

What if that person you are admiring for their strength isn’t strong?

What if they have the strength to hold it together for appearances and once they are alone they crumble?

Not everyone is comfortable or wanting to be viewed as broken, so they put a brave face on to greet the outside world, yet below the thin shield of armour they are drowning in grief.

This perceived strength often gives those on the sidelines the ability to feel okay with not helping as much as needed.

They see a strong spirited person carrying on as they once did and it appears they are ”doing okay” so the lifelines of community help become shorter and shorter.

The grieving becomes more and more exhausted and feeling more and more alone in their grief.

It is common to feel alone in grief.

Those around you can carry on with life as they always have, yet time has stalled for the grieving.

Routine tasks take considerable effort, and they are often left feeling like the village of help that is needed has disappeared.

People say it takes a village to raise a child, which I agree –

But it also takes the same village to move through life and grief when a child dies.

Regular life is so hard to live when you have been swallowed up in grief.

Don’t always believe that brave face is perceived strength; below it is most likely a person who can use your help.

When my son died, I had no choice but to continue regular life; I had two other boys that needed to live their life and couldn’t do so without their Mom.

From the outside I was so strong, I had it all together, but the truth was I was broken.

My brain wasn’t fully functioning, my body was exhausted, and my heart was so heavy it felt impossible to carry at times.

I did all that needed to be done and appeared strong, and I gave everyone the impression I was okay, but usually it was a farce.

For example, often I would cry my way to the grocery store, I would sit in the parking lot pulling myself together before suiting up in my armour of strength and even slapping a smile on my face.

Living in a small community, it is impossible to go out and not see people you know. A smiling face would often make people less awkward around me.

I could muster the strength to buy groceries, but I didn’t have the strength for other’s awkward behaviour or conversations.

A smile usually avoided those moments and put others at ease.

Strength is a gift and a thief. It helps the grieving move through a day; life doesn’t halt because you are hurting.

It prevents giving the grieving more to cope with such as awkward conversations, making others uncomfortable or seeing the look in someone’s eye when they get uncomfortable knowing you are not okay.

Strength helps the grieving, but it also hinders them stealing support they desperately need.

It gives those who should be fully supporting the grieving a reason not to do as much as is needed. It gives them a reason not to show up.

If you are on the sidelines of a person in grief, show up.

Don’t take anything at face value. If you love them, like them, or know them, then it is your place to show up.

You can’t fix the broken heart, but you can lessen the burden.

Meet people where they are and find your way to be comfortable with the idea that they aren’t okay.

It is okay for the grieving not to be okay, don’t make it uncomfortable for them, love them, and acknowledge their pain.

After all what choice do the grieving have?

Most can’t allow grief to swallow them up and not fight their way through it.

Most of us have jobs, responsibilities, families to support, and regular life that needs to be lived.

Strength isn’t often a choice; we have to dig deep and find some to get through our day. Life doesn’t stop for us.

Do yourself and your loved one a favour, don’t mistakenly see strength as a free pass to forgo offering your help.

They need you to step up, be there, show up and love fiercely.

Find ways to help with simple everyday tasks; it can make a world of difference.

Why Mothering The Grieving Mother Is Important

Originally posted in Still standing Magazine

Mothering your child after they’ve lost a child must be one of the hardest jobs. You are grief-stricken from the loss of your grandchild and so broken from witnessing your own child’s heartbreak. But your job is so important.

This is when your superpowers have to come out—muster all the love your heart holds and pour it into your broken child. You need to see them as the baby you birthed, the fragile little being, and hold their heart as carefully and as lovingly as you once did all those years back.

They are changed. Their strength will return one day so don’t fear that, but until then, show up. Mother them in all the ways you know how and maybe research other additional ways. They need you to be their protector.

No one ever stops needing a mother but the needs often change as we mature and evolve with time. Losing a child brings us back to needing our mothers as we once did when we were young. Now, once again, we are so vulnerable: we are fragile; we need to be fed, to be told it will be okay, to be loved fiercely, and to be physically held.

We really need to be completely supported and mothered.

Not all moms are great in times like this. When a mom fails in their role of support after a loss, it really complicates grief. It can highlight all the cracks in the relationship. Being human you probably won’t get it all right, but it is important that your child knows you are trying your best and that all your love is theirs to hold onto.

Grief can break us. In the early days, it is all-encompassing and we need help. Grief-work is exhausting and never-ending. Grief changes as we walk through life; different milestones, events, encounters, and experiences will evoke different emotions, and all that will require the grieving to work through them.

It is in these moments that we need our moms to notice and extend the loving hand.

Emotional support not easy for you? Then bring food, do some yard work, watch the other children, help around the house.

Grab them groceries so they don’t have to bump into everyone at the store before they are ready. Or just go for a quiet walk with them.

Don’t live in town? Go visit, stay in a hotel to give them space, and help with the above.

Send them care packages.

Hire someone to clean their house.

Call and text them regularly even if it is to let them know you love them.

Simply, love your child through this in all the ways you know how. Your baby needs you. Your heart is the place have always called home, so make sure they know they are always invited in.

Just do your best and make all your choices from a place of love. Be gentle with yourself and your child. Your job is tough and so important.

Myths Of Child Loss Grief: Time Doesn’t Heal

Originally published in Still Standing Magazine

Time doesn’t heal. It gives you space to find healing. Time can feel like a gift and a thief at the same time. It gives you the opportunity to do the work of filling in some of the gigantic hole left in your heart with peace, yet as it keeps rolling on, it can also feel like it is stealing all that should have been.

I hated when people would tell me to give it time, or when they would say time heals all. Frankly, it isn’t true: time doesn’t heal. I have found healing on this journey, but it wasn’t time that gifted it to me. I had to construct a toolbox, and with time I had a better idea of what tools needed to be in it to survive this. I had to use these tools to relieve the pain, to find peace, to find purpose, and to discover who I was after it all.

It was never one thing, and it still isn’t. Personally, I need to write, I need to see a counselor, I need to see a shaman for energetic healing, and I need to feel connected with God. I found different healing with each, and I am not sure how it would have unfolded if I wasn’t able to use each one. None of these tools can be used by someone else doing the work for me. The workload is completely on the grieving, and not even time can fix it.

No two people will have the exact, same recipe to survive. We are each unique just as our circumstances are all unique, and therefore our needs will all be different. But I do believe we all need a toolbox. Grief is exhausting; working your way through it is equally tough work. Grief has so many layers. Once you find some peace with the loss of your baby, there is a whole other layer of work learning to be okay with all of the secondary losses.

I want to encourage everyone to find their medicine and use it. It could be gardening, running, yoga, crafting, writing, group grief meetings, energetic work, faith, meditation, traditional counselling, or anything else that can lift your vibration and leave you feeling lighter. Listen to your heart and your body—they will tell you what feels right—and then keep doing it. The effects aren’t often immediate; sometimes, you need to sit in the emotions that were brought to the surface and work through them. It is hard work, but you can do it. The hole left may never completely be filled, but peace can fill some of the open space. You can feel lighter, you can welcome joy, and you can still have a lust for life, but it takes work, and we cannot only rely on time to heal.

Infertility, Miscarriage And Infant Loss Have More Similarities Than Differences

Originally published in Still astandjng Magazine

Infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss all hold the power to break you. The weight from each one can often feel too heavy to bear. At times people compare these experiences trying to minimize one experience over another but the truth is they hold far more similarities than differences and the significance and the lasting effects cannot be minimized.

Years of negative pregnancy tests, an early ultrasound with no heartbeat or being told your baby won’t live can change who you are forever. Having experienced all three I can say from my perspective as different as each experience was, my heart felt very similar.

Hearing someone experienced any one of these heartbreaking journeys my first thought instantly is ”wow that is so hard”, and how sorry I am for them. What I don’t think is “when the time is right they will get pregnant, or maybe they could just adopt”. I never think “Oh well at least they can get pregnant and have another” or ”thank goodness it was early something had to be wrong with the baby”. I certainly don’t think “well at least the baby died before they really knew them and got attached”.

Truth is you love a baby the minute you want one, not just when you conceive physically but when you conceive mentally. Wanting a baby isn’t like wanting a puppy it is a biological deep seeded desire, one that you feel with your whole being. Every month that passes is a loss. Each month and every treatment you are convinced this month will be different and then when it fails you are crushed beyond what anyone can imagine.

You are not being emotionally spared by having a loss earlier rather than later and there is no comfort in knowing you can try again since no matter how many babies you have it will never be the one you lost. Offering the idea that it was okay because something must have been wrong with the baby is tricky, even though we all hope for a healthy baby, we don’t love an unhealthy one any less. All babies matter even the ones who die very early on or happen to have complications.

To assume I didn’t know my son when he died 22 minutes after birth is only true to a degree. I didn’t know his favourite colour or food, and I didn’t know if he would be funny or serious. He didn’t get a chance to experience those things but if you could see inside my heart and see the strings that span from mine to his you would see how deeply rooted they are and how much we truly knew each other. We know each other differently and arguably more deeply than anyone else since that was the only way we were acquainted was through our hearts. There is nothing more powerful, deeper or more beautiful than a connection purely from the heart.

All three of these experiences will leave you in a sea of tears wondering if they will ever stop. You question if you were ever really meant to be a Mom. You wonder why me. Your heart is broken, a piece of you is forever lost. Your innocence of becoming a parent is destroyed as you are now aware you are not guaranteed a happy ending.

So as you can see there may be plenty to point out that is different amongst the experiences but what truly matters is how your heart is affected and from that perspective, they are all so similar. A loss is a loss and it deeply hurts.