Shrapnel of Grief

44 days ago we welcomed Zooey Helen into the world. 688 days ago we welcomed and then said good bye to our dear Teddy. Exactly 100 months ago Ryan and I consciously started trying to create our family. 3 days ago we had our final midwife appointment for our lifetime. It marks the last day of the family growing stage for us and sent us off lovingly into the family raising stage of our life. Having spent 100 months creating and growing a family this final appointment left me reflecting back on all those days, all the moments of being broken, being brave, all the joy, all the love and everything in between for us to be walking out of that office on Tuesday with a full heart and arms.

Those aren’t just numbers that represent a day passed, they are numbers that represent the most changing time of our life. The numbers are a representation of the time which allowed for growth and for a total rebirth of who Ryan and I are today. The last few days has had me reflecting on relationships. How they have evolved, how new ones have emerged, how some have been lost. Going through fertility challenges and then experiencing a loss of a child I see how many common threads they share and how they equally can put a strain on many relationships in your life. It is hard for everyone. I see how true the saying “people are in your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime” and I see throughout the years how some have fit into a category.

For the most part I am totally at peace with how relationships have evolved even the ones that didn’t survive the storms or the ones intended for a season. I do struggle with how people have been effected by our personal struggles. There is one person in particular I haven’t been able to shake how everything has changed, how so many days I wish I could go back in time and we could be who we used to be to each other. It was always easy, being together was always good for the soul, leaving feeling better than you arrived. It felt safe, she is always loyal. She always has good advice, and ear to listen and heart full of love. Time together never felt like enough, we could talk for hours over a simple cup of tea. She would be the first at our door when life once again handed us a shitty deal and always the first to celebrate when life was being kind and the first to meet our babies. I can’t stop wishing she wasn’t hit by the shrapnel of my life, my grief.

Moving through grief your perspective is narrow. It is hard, so hard to see all sides of situations or even at times when you do, your heart hurts so much it is easy to feel angry anyway. It makes it so hard to be a good friend. To be the person you once were, the person who had room for problems others faced. With this particular friend two things happened which I can see so clearly now. Life wasn’t always light for them, but as many people they weren’t able to bring their problems to me when my plate was so full. By not doing so shared moments were passed, and space between us was created. Someone else filled the void created by not being the person they went to for support. It changed the landscape of the friendship, I missed out on parts of their life. Being a person that I care deeply for, it was so easy to be hurt by them, even when they didn’t do anything wrong, the layers of grief changed our day to day interactions.

There was moments I became so angry, which was just deeply hurt feeling because I felt like I lost so much when Teddy died. There was loss in every aspect of my life, from close family members, to friends and basically everything in life as I once knew it. Everything changed and at times it was so hard to accept.

This friend had the most beautiful baby boy only months before Teddy was born. We shared our maternity leave when my second son and her daughter were born. It was amazing and when we found out we were pregnant again together we were so excited to share this experience once again. We were going to have two boys within a few months of each other, we both were looking forward to the life we would all share throughout the years. Then my baby died and it was simply impossible to do so. It was just one more layer of loss.

Being 100% honest I so desperately wanted to still be included, but I couldn’t and it was so hard to accept. As more time rolled on and the time we should have spent together drinking tea and talking about life was turned into me being swallowed up in grief and her no doubtably feeling our absence but also building closer relationships with others. Teddy was meant to be her son’s best friend, that was the way we intended it and she also lost that. She felt his loss deeply, I know this to be true. Our friendship was set up to be rocked purely by the situation we were presented with. I was so mad at her at times, but it was never her. It was real life. I wanted her to be drinking tea and sharing baby time with other Moms, I was just so mad and hurt I no longer belonged. I was so tired, I couldn’t ask for what I needed. I just wanted my friend back, I just wanted to be the friend I once was again. I wanted it all to be light, and to be easy but it just wasn’t possible.

I remember the day before Teddy’s first birthday I popped by the baby group as the group leader wanted to hand out Teddy’s Choose Love cards in celebration of him. I arrived and the four girls I should be with had Teddy not died were drinking tea, chatting and all four of their baby boys were there crawling around. They looked so happy, as they all deserved to be. They didn’t see me. I left with such a clear visual of what I desperately wanted and was missing. Unfairly I was hurt by this friend, she did nothing but kept living the life she deserved and the one I wanted for her. But sadly of the four girls it was her my heart chucked daggers at, because it was her my heart was truly connected with and missed deeply. I became angry my baby was dead, and I didn’t get to spend my morning with friends, instead I was driving around alone distributing cards in memory of him. It felt so unfair. I wanted my baby to be alive as well. I wanted the life we had envisioned.

At the time it was so hard for me see it all as it really was. Intellectually I always knew but my heart was broken and this was a layer of it and emotionally was not capable of seeing it clearly. I am so grateful for perspective. I see how much she loved us through it all, I see she was given an impossible hand to win with, I see she felt our loss deeply, I see she loved Teddy as well, I see she also felt his absence and I see she too probably wished I could be the old me and for everything to be different. She lost her friend as well, her #elsupremo.

Grief is so powerful, it doesn’t have mercy on those around it. Shrapnel flies and so many people get hurt. I know in this process many people have been hit by our shrapnel. I am so sorry for each of you and in particular this friend I speak of. Grief is messy, holds no boundaries and is unforgiving. Time though allows for perspective, it allows the fog to lift and clarity to be regained. If you have been hit by someone’s grief shrapnel please give them time, give them grace and give space if needed but just hold on if you can, clarity will come once again. You may never receive the loved one you once had, they are forever changed but maybe just maybe together you can find your way to building a stronger house than the one that had blown down if you still have the foundation remaining.

I am grateful that the foundation to this friendship is still there. I am grateful and hopeful she will be in the category “for a lifetime” and that with time we will rebuild our house. It might not be the pretty tea house it once was, but I have faith it can be stronger. I have moved through the heaviest parts of losing my son and am now in a space where I can once again be a friend, one who can help carry the load of others because mine is once again lighter. I look forward to helping carry some of her load when needed as time moves on. I will be forever grateful she didn’t shut me out, she always stood by even if it was at a distance, I know being hit by our shrapnel has caused pain, and I am so sorry for that. She chose to love us even when it wasn’t easy. #alwayschooselove

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Thanksgiving Reflections

Happy Thanksgiving,

Thanksgiving is my most favourite holiday. It is a time family gathers and focuses on sharing fellowship and good food without material gift giving involved. The fall is my favourite season, not because I love winter and it is around the corner but because you can feel change, the change is fresh, the air is clean and crisp, the leaves are so beautiful and makes the most beautiful crunch as you walk across them, and then for many it is another stage in life with going back to school, starting school, never returning to school after a graduation. It is an opportunity for a fresh start, an opportunity for rebirth. I love that Thanksgiving is a time that people reflect on life and the blessings they have received. For some this isn’t a regular practice and it brings to the forefront what there is in their life to be thankful for. Even on our darkest days there is gratitude to be found.

Long before Teddy I started a gratitude jar, and every evening I would write something I was grateful for the day and put it in the Jar and at the end of the year or when I really was feeling down I would read through them all changing my vibration and lifting my heart from where it was sitting. After Teddy I stopped writing on those little pieces of paper, not sure why, maybe because I was writing so much more on my blog and in my notes section of my phone, maybe I was simply far too exhausted, but I never stopped using gratitude as a way to remain in good or increase my mental health.

Teddy’s journey pointed out how very important the practice of gratitude really was for me. Through him and our experience together I learned quickly to articulate how I was feeling and then ask myself “okay so what is the gift in that?”. Seeing that my feelings held purpose allowed me to honour them exactly how they were, even the super heavy dark ones that felt so hard and uncomfortable, it allowed me to feel okay with them just being as they are knowing that they will change, nothing was forever and a wave would come and carry me for a rest soon enough. Through it the purpose was served, a lesson was learned and I was forever changed by the growth.

This year our Thanksgiving looks a lot different. We have so much to be thankful for. But so much of my gratitude comes from the lessons I learned through Teddy’s death and having to live without him. He changed who we are as a family. But what I didn’t know was who would I be as a Mom of a newborn after experiencing such a loss. I now know I am a Mom who has slowed down, who truly knows how quickly these newborn days go by and as hard as they are I find gratitude for them daily. I am a Mom who has made hard choices because when asking myself “what is the most loving choice for everyone involved” the answer didn’t line up with what I personally truly desired but without wavering honoured the choice that put love for all first. I am a Mom who now knows what it feels like when our family is complete. It is the most satisfying feeling to feel whole, knowing all members of our family are here and accounted for and now we all can just love each other through our intertwined journeys in life. I am a Mom who watches my two oldest boys love in a way that makes my heart sing. They have always had copious amounts of love for each other so it shouldn’t be surprising that the love for their sister would be endless, but it is the tenderness that truly gets me. Everyone should be loved so softly and intentionally as these boys love Zooey. So my gratitude this weekend is for the family we have created, with a huge emphasis on remembering Teddy for all he has given us, to bring us to where we are today. My heart would never have known a love so deeply if it weren’t for him. He is loved, he is missed, and he is remembered. He is LOVE.

My wish for my boys is to grow up knowing the value in gratitude, to know the healing power it holds and for them to incorporate it in their everyday life not only on Thanksgiving. Every day is a day to give thanks, even or maybe more so on our hardest days.

One Thankful Momma

It isn’t all Rainbows 🌈 and Sunshine ☀️

I haven’t been super open about our journey through pregnancy after our loss of Teddy. During our 38 weeks together I felt very closed off, I also felt very protective of Zooey and what people might feel about our choice to try our luck at bringing another baby into the world. I also didn’t always know exactly how I felt but I knew I wanted it all kept close to my chest where it was safe.

One of the biggest gift I received from Teddy was learning to live in the present moment. He taught me to treasure today and worry about what tomorrow brings tomorrow. I lived by the mantra “Today my baby is healthy, today I am healthy”. Somedays it was super easy to believe fearlessly and other days I had to face all the what ifs that crept in. I spent many quiet moments writing to our Sweet Pea Zooey, talking to her, sending her love, and praying for strength should life take another turn down a hard path.

I was so blessed to have a handful of friends who honoured how my heart felt and didn’t judge. There is this balance that I was constantly fighting, enjoying my pregnancy knowing it would be my last, and wishing it away because I physically felt terrible while pregnant and it was my fourth pregnancy in five years and it has taken a toll on my body. I honestly felt done. I struggled feeling guilty at times. How could I want to rush a gift of new life after I lost one only a year prior? How could I complain my back hurt when I should be finding the gratitude in that pain resulting from my body holding and growing my Sweet Pea who I loved dearly? How could I see a stretch mark (only ever had them in the fourth pregnancy) and it not feel worth it? The list of moments such as these big and small is long, I was constantly balancing my gratitude and real life struggles of pregnancy only feeling safe to express the truth to a few and always reminded by those few that I was human and I was able to honour all the emotions, they were all real and all okay to feel.

As the end of our time together as one was coming closer and closer I realized how the birth of Zooey meant the end of a long journey to create a family. Ryan and I started our journey to create a family in 2009, it included our first year of naively trying to get pregnant, to a few heartbreaking rounds of failed IUI, then IVF with a few complications resulting in a miscarriage and the birth of our first son in 2013 and was followed by our second son in 2014, and Teddy at the end of 2015 and now our daughter in 2017. Realizing we are moving on to the next stage of our lives was exciting and also emotional. Looking back and seeing all the tears shed while trying to conceive, to the tears shed over our loss, to the tears of joy from each child that joined our family made me see what a gift it all was, I could see the layers of the foundation our family will firmly stand upon as the years go by being laid as each tear was shed, each moment that felt heartbreaking and each moment our hearts bursted with love. None of it was easy, but I am grateful and see the purpose of it all.

September 13, 2017 Zooey Helen Williams joined our family. We were so fortunate to be surrounded by the same healthcare providers and doula as we have for our previous births, who have supported us so lovingly throughout each one and this time was no different. Birthing Zooey wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, but I felt the warmth from the rays that did shine upon us. Being so present in pregnancy, worrying about tomorrow, tomorrow worked super well until “tomorrow” arrived. I desperately wanted Zooey’s birth to be about Zooey. She in my mind deserved for me to be 100% present for her but it was impossible. Emotionally I had work that needed to be done, wounds that needed to be healed that presented themselves during labour. I had moments that I felt excited to be meeting my daughter, but I also had moments where it all felt too big, too hard and I wanted it to stop. I shed big tears, I faced huge fears, I spent time right back in Teddy’s birth with each contraction, and with the support of those beside me I worked my way through it all. To me the most significant moment, one that I am sure I am not alone with feeling was that moment you need to push the baby out. Tomorrow is no longer a day that never arrives, it is the moment you need to lay all your cards on the table, and even though you know the deck is stacked in your favour and the hand you have been given couldn’t be better, you know in real life shit happens, and it doesn’t always work out. I wasn’t ready, well my body was but my heart wasn’t, I was terrified to see if I would be given the greatest gift or another tragedy. So I dug deep, I knew the time was now, I was as ready as I ever would be (which is not at all) and I needed to be brave and just do it. Within three contractions she was out, and cried the most beautiful cry. But I needed a moment, I needed to pause. You would think after all we have been through my reaction would be one of relief and tears of joy, but it wasn’t. It was one of panic, it was hard to breath, it was totally and completely overwhelming. Then after the pause and feeling grounded I was able to see her, to see how healthy and alive she really was and how much she looked like her brothers. From that moment forward the love and joy followed.

When you live today for today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow you really don’t allow yourself to sit in the future. You don’t envision your life bringing the baby home, and what all of that would be like. It took us sometime to truly feel all that had happened and soak up our new beautiful reality. The warmth from the sunshine is stronger each day, and our hearts are filled with gratitude for our healthy little girl. But the truth of it all is the past 38 weeks of pregnancy and Sweet Pea’s birth wasn’t all beautiful rainbows. Our family finally feels complete and so do our hearts, it was all worth it. It is all exactly as intended.

Now on to our next stage of life, firmly planted on the foundation we have laid during the past 8 years.

Wish all six of us luck! I am sure it will continue to be a wild ride filled with love and life lessons! ❤️

The Mystical Mother

When I sit back and think what it is to be a Mom, like a really good Mom, not just to hold a title but provide what a child young and old truly desires I have to go back to the little girl within me. Spending time evaluating the Mom I was given, the Mom I wish I had and the Mom I want to be, all which makes me wonder if the being this Mom is more of a mystical creature, or a rare gem that few are truly blessed to have.

Who are you oh wise one? Better yet where are you? The little girl inside me screams to be mothered by this special mystical creature. I wonder how many people also knowingly or unknowingly are feeling the void of such gem.

To be loved unconditionally. Without judgement, to have the security to know that regardless what choices I make, behaviours I display or words I speak that the love is constant and unwavering.

To be loved more than you hate, or lack, to be put first under all circumstances. For your love to be larger than your jealousy, that your selflessness means you want anything and everything that brings positivity and love into my world even if that means it takes something away from you personally. You will always choose to simply love me more and sometimes that comes with sacrifices.

Pride, you see my accomplishments as if they are also yours. When I win you win. You see the beauty within me, for who I am. You see the potential I hold and always encourage me to take world by storm and experience it all.

Your love is so large that you show up. When you come to my home, you are helpful. You take back your Mothering role and help with all the physical tasks possible. You never forget you are the Mom and love Mothering when the opportunity arises. Your love is large enough you want my life to be easier even if temporarily.

Your love is so large that you show up, without hesitation show up emotionally. Your Mothering skills kick into high gear when my heart is broken, wavering, struggling, or feeling tender. You hold space, you find the words, the gentle touch that says together we will make it okay, tomorrow will be better.

You rejoice in my joy. Large and small moments that bring me great and little joy make your heart sing. You lift me up and feel this joy within me. You understand joy within me is also within you. No amount of joy I feel can take away from you, on the contrary it fills you as well. You wouldn’t do a thing to intentionally stand between me and joy but clear the path so that the joy can be amplified.

You provide a sense of security. To know that you will always show up. You will always do what needs to be done and that my heart, my life, my family is safe with you. You can be a soft place for anyone I love.

To enjoy each other’s company. To share a laugh, to remember a lifetime together, to talk about all that has yet to come, to dream about the impossible. To enjoy a friendship now as adults.

To love without expectations. To feel grateful to have a family, to be open and honest and to do what it takes to be a part of the family your children have made, to fit in without demands. To be okay with life’s imperfections and understand we own our roles.

To share gratitude. To verbally share your love. To see the blessings you have been given by being blessed with the family you have. To understand with gratitude abundance comes. To see life as a beautiful gift and treasure it as such. To be honest always, but by speaking from a loving heart, not jealousy, anger, or other emotions. To understand when we all choose love, we all win.

Does this creature exists? Being a Mom is hard. Being one, I know always making the right choice isn’t easy, sometimes the hardest choices are the most loving. I have to believe if our choices are driven from love, like true selfless love than maybe we can find our way to be closer to this. I think of what our world would look like if everyone had a Mom who could Mother them in such a way? How much more of a secure and loving world we might live in. Becoming a Mom has responsibilities and it is a job that is never ending. Not everyone can be a rare gem, maybe not even me. What I see so clearly is we all deserve to have this creature in our lives, to be loved in a way only a mystical mother can.

Maybe I can’t be this Mom everyday, but every day I can try. For the days I fail, I will give myself grace, and pray my children will as well knowing I am not mystical, I am imperfectly human but my love is powerful and my heart is overflowing with it for each child today and until the end of my days.

Peace Changes with Time


Dear Teddy,

I am breathing in the most beautiful morning. Fresh Papineau Lake air, boys have gone fishing with Dad and Sweet Pea and I are having a quiet moment together. It felt like the perfect time to write you my dearest Teddy. Every since you entered our world this has been our most peaceful place to just be. It feels different from last year, and of course the year before that, as you were physically within me and alive. We have spent 8 night and have two more to go before we make our way home for a few days. Enough time to fully feel how everything has changed.

Feeling peace keeps changing. Last year I felt so much peace because there were signs every time I turned around. You were close. I felt you there, always. This year peace feels light. You aren’t as close, not that the love has changed maybe if anything it has grown stronger with space. You are the air I breath, the ripples in the water, you are the quiet moments, you are the spark within the fire, you are the colourful sky as the sun sets and rises, the song that comes on the radio, you are my everything yet you are light and subtle. Maybe the truth is I don’t need you as close, my grip has released and you are here but in the way you choose not in the way I once needed.

As much as I know you are always with us, I am so grateful to have a place where Ryan and I feel so connected to you and overwhelming sense of peace. I see you missing here too but it no longer swallows me up in grief. I see Ryan and the boys fishing, swimming, boating, learning about the different birds and other random father son activities and I see you missing. I watch my boys play together on the beach, going on walking adventures alone between the few cottages around us, the games they make up and play, the memories they have formed and I see you missing. I can’t help but wonder how different our lives would be had you lived. These moments often feel like a test, a test in staying present and grateful for all that we do have and not fall down the hole of what ifs. There are no amount of what ifs that could change our reality, there is only acceptance and love. I love you enough to feel grateful for our time we did have and love you enough to allow the space for you to be free. It isn’t always easy, but after the moments pass I see my family clearer, I see the gifts and just breath you in with all the fresh air, I hear you as the water ripples, I feel you move across my face with the gentle breeze and know all is how it truly is meant to be.

This is life, never easy, always worth it and forever changing and that is okay. We will always be okay, we have love and gratitude as our medicine. Love heals.

Your forever loving Mom

Forever in my heart.

Circle of Love ❤️ 


We all have these moments in the journey of mending hearts when your breath is unexpectedly taken away. Those moments you don’t see coming. Those moments that stop you in your tracks and force you to feel it all. 

Those moments don’t happen as often to me anymore but on the occasion they do, and I feel it. Like really feel it, and have no choice but to welcome all that comes with it. 

30 weeks pregnant with our sweet pea, always actively moving, sending and receiving copious amounts of love and letting me know always how real she really is. Being 30 weeks wasn’t something I have thought about, the more pregnancies the less I seem to keep track of what week I have arrived at. Being my fourth I am shocked I even remotely know. 

This morning as I was cleaning our house and dusting a bookshelf in our bedroom I stop to look at Teddy’s hand and foot moulds. There they were white ceramic with prints that have been indented from his tiny little hand, and his tiny little foot. This isn’t something I look at often, not something I even really think about. But there I am holding it and seeing how perfect that hand and foot really were. How tiny they were and all the while realizing that is the same size of our Sweet Pea’s hands and feet as Teddy was 30 weeks when he was born. 

It is then my breath is gone, my heart feels all that happened and all that is yet to come. I am holding the mould of the most perfect foot and hand in my hands while holding equally perfect hands and feet within my womb, knowing that the hand that can no longer be held has one hand on my heart and one holding his sister’s hand within my womb. The three of us all at the same time holding each other, it feels heavy and beautiful. The power within that circle of love is greater than something that can be articulated but can only be experienced to understand the gravity of the impact a small moment in time can have. It is a circle of love, gratitude, joy and sadness. 

Life is exactly as it is intended to be. It isn’t how I once envisioned, but it how needs to be. Growing a baby after having to say goodbye to another is a beautiful yet different experience. It brings the widest range of emotions that are forever changing. Some are hard and heavy and others are light and full of peace but all equally beautiful. Today I feel it all. As hard as that moment felt I am so grateful today I had the reminder how closely tied the three of us really are. How this journey would be impossible if we weren’t a team, and how the love that flows and supports each of us has to be equal and balanced. 

My heart feels heavy today but I was due for a day of a heavy heart so I am sitting with it all full of gratitude that it came with such a beautiful reminder. 

With Love, 

The Fearless loving Momma Bear.

Hand in Hand 


I look at this picture, I see the most precious hand that I thought was made for me to hold and him to hold mine until my forever came to a close. It is a hand that is etched in my mind so clearly and in my heart so deeply loved. It is a hand that at times I longed to kiss and hold physically, to watch it grow into big man hands that no longer look as cute but hold a powerful amount of love. 

No amount of longing or wishing will change the reality. Instead these days I envision how this was the hand that encouraged our new baby soul to join us, that he ever so gently placed her into the only home his hand knew and has been holding this soul so lovingly and now holding her hand as it grows bigger and bigger. I see the day she will be born, he will take her hand from his and place it into mine. Their hands forever tied through time spent together on a soul level. A gift she is blessed with; time with her brother she will never know physically here on earth. 

This hand has purpose. It holds power. My gratitude for this itty bitty hand is never ending. I feel safe knowing he has been aiding in her safe arrival, this hand has been guiding and loving her as she came from spirt to baby and will eventually join us on the outside to grow together as a family. Seeing this hand makes my heart grow every time I look at the picture, and every time I envision it in my mind and heart. This hand was one of the greatest gifts I received in my lifetime. 

With Gratitude 

Momma Bear, Warrior of Love ❤️