Mother’s Day for the Bereaved Mom

Mother’s Day for the Bereaved Mom

Mother’s Day is a mix of emotions for the bereaved mom. It can be full of highs and also lows. I do want to encourage all mom’s to take heart this Mother’s Day: However you hold your baby, in your arms or in your heart… … Remember these things: You are MOM You are strong Love never dies You are brave for all you’ve endured Sunshine comes after the storm The rawness of grief will not last forever Mother’s Day is a chance to remember Your baby will never be forgotten   If you are looking for a way to celebrate Mother’s Day as a bereaved Mom – or for a bereaved Mom you know – here are a few ideas: Plant a memory garden Meditate in nature Create a symbolic painting Start a new journal Write your...

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The Importance of International Bereaved Mother’s Day

The Importance of International Bereaved Mother’s Day

I just clicked “publish” on my first article as a Huffington Post regular contributor. It is called “The Importance of International Bereaved Mother’s Day.” First of all, I want to say that I really appreciate the opportunities – both online and off – to write about loss, grief, and healing, particularly the loss of a child. When all of our voices come together, sharing stories and honouring our babies, our birth experiences and ourselves as Moms, then I believe we will change the stigma around our types of losses. Then, I hope, we will help foster a healthy cultural response to miscarriage, stillbirth, other types of pregnancy loss, and also the death of infants. Secondly, you can help join in this conversation. One way...

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A Healthy Grief Movement

A Healthy Grief Movement

I want to bring people together to create a “Healthy Grief Movement.” Will you join me? What I see as some of the “manifesto points” of this movement: People are encouraged and feel comfortable talking about their own losses and speaking with others who are grieving. Sharing stories of life and death that help both the storyteller and the listeners. Children are brought up understanding that death is a natural and beautiful part of life. There is a healthy vocabulary to discuss challenging topics. There are cultural rituals to support the bereaved and remember the deceased. These are just some ideas. Do you have others? Though I am not entirely sure what this “Healthy Grief Movement” will look like, I have made some graphics to...

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The Male Perspective on Grief

The Male Perspective on Grief

I have people ask me all the time: How did your husband cope with his grief? My first reaction for MANY YEARS was: I have no idea It seemed like he wasn’t really grieving And he never really talked about it I assumed he was doing okay   I have since had all four of those reactions turned on their head. I learned: I had no idea how my husband, Aaron, was grieving because he often tried to be strong for me, therefore didn’t always show his feelings. Aaron was grieving, deeply; his grief just looked different from mine and so I didn’t recognize it or understand it the same way as my own. Men are not encouraged to share their feelings as much as women, and sometimes when they do they are made to feel less manly or in control. We can never...

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Remembering Avery – Guest Blog by Nicole Addy

Remembering Avery – Guest Blog by Nicole Addy

I love sharing stories here on Wanted Chosen Planned. There is power in vulnerability to transform our lives and also to help others. This guest blog post is from Nicole Addy and I am honoured to join with her in celebrating the important life of her baby, Avery. Nicole reached out to me not long ago and shared how Wanted Chosen Planned helped her after her loss – words sent out from my computer in Edmonton, Canada received on her screen in Manchester, England! Now that is the power of meaningful connection! Our stories bring us together and I truly believe we are stronger as a group than when we grieve alone. On that note, welcome Nicole!   Remembering Avery It seems like so much has happened since we lost Avery back in October 2016. Only a few short...

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A Tattoo to Remember

A Tattoo to Remember

I heard something really interesting last night at the class I teach called Healing Art for Mourning Parents. The class is all about using different creative methods to help process grief and also to help remember the children lost too soon. We were making collages and one gentleman in the group included an image of a person being tattooed. I asked him about why he chose that image and he said because it was like being scarred with remembrance. I thought that was an interesting response.   Do you have a tattoo to remember your child? If you are comfortable, please share about your tattoo (or a picture) in the comments.   I have thought about getting a tattoo for many years, but I think my needle phobia would prevent more than a permanent little dot on...

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The Pregnancy Loss Journey – Guest Post by Christy

The Pregnancy Loss Journey – Guest Post by Christy

I want to introduce Christy to our community here at Wanted Chosen Planned. A month or so ago, Christy interviewed me for her podcast called Pregnancy Loss Journey, which will air around the time my memoir, Expecting Sunshine, hits the shelves in April, 2017. Christy and I talked on the phone long after the podcast interview was wrapped up. It amazes me how she has contributed so much to bereaved moms and dads while she is still under a year from her loss of Chloe Grace. Christy’s story is inspiring and I hope you also find comfort and new perspectives as you read. Welcome Christy! The Pregnancy Loss Journey On May 23, 2016, Chloe Grace was delivered into this world, stillborn. My heart soared the moment they laid her on my chest. She was absolutely...

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Innovative course helps bereaved parents through art

Innovative course helps bereaved parents through art

I would love to share with you a ground-breaking community-focused course that is beginning again soon in Edmonton. Here is more info about “Healing Art for Mourning Parents.”  HEALING ART FOR MOURNING PARENTS Losing a child is one of the most unimaginable scenarios for parents who dream of bringing home their baby and starting a life together. When tragedy strikes, which it does for 1/5 pregnancies ending in miscarriage and 1/160 pregnancies ending in stillbirth, the parents often feel the sting of isolation and stigma as they mourn without support.   This is where Healing Art for Mourning Parents comes in. The course takes place at South Pointe Community Centre in south Edmonton as a part of their Wellness Project. The Wellness Project offers education and...

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6 Holiday Memory Making Ideas for Bereaved Parents

6 Holiday Memory Making Ideas for Bereaved Parents

  If your heart has been broken by the loss of a child in miscarriage, stillbirth or any time after delivery, the holidays may be tough. It’s a season that emphasizes children, family and togetherness. All the things bereaved parents yearn for.     When a baby dies, no matter what the age of the fetus or the child may have been, parents are left shaken, shattered and searching for hope. When my son, Zachary, passed away in my arms just moments after entering the world, I felt like my heart was torn in two. Even though those moments I had with him were heartbreaking, I also treasured each and every one. Nothing, I discovered, could part a mom and dad from the love they have for their child.   What I didn’t learn until later, however, was that...

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Practical Thoughts on Remembering Your Baby

Practical Thoughts on Remembering Your Baby

October is Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness month. It is both a special time to celebrate the small lives we hold in our hearts and also a time to let that same heart be sad. We who have lost have lost so very much. It is okay to be a million emotions this month – or anytime. I know I have felt the full spectrum: sorrow, anger, reflection, depression, joy, gratitude, regret, longing…   How does this month make you feel?     ZACHARY’S 6TH BIRTH/DEATH DAY It just so happens that my family celebrates our special little man this month. Zachary was born, lived only a few minutes and then died – on October 14. He would have been six years old this year.   HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS Our family has always celebrated Zach’s...

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Join me in Celebrating Children Gone Too Soon

Join me in Celebrating Children Gone Too Soon

It brings me joy when I have the opportunity to help bereaved parents share their stories. I believe sharing our experiences and the lessons we have learned is a critical part of being human. And being a part of a community. This is why I am honoured to help celebrate babies gone too soon. The commemoration page is called Celebrating Sweeties. This is a place where lives lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, early infant loss – and any kind of loss of children – can be openly shared and remembered. I welcome families to contribute their children that died at any age, for any reason. Every child needs to be celebrated.  Celebrating Sweeties is a safe place where any image of any baby or older child is welcomed. And if you don’t have a picture, a...

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Why you need support in your pregnancy after loss

Why you need support in your pregnancy after loss

In my first pregnancy after loss, I was so terrified of losing another child. I couldn’t picture giving birth to a baby that lived. It was a paralysing fear. Despite the fact that I was so eager to have and love that next baby with all my heart, that pregnancy was rough. It was a season full of anxiety. I write about this experience in my forthcoming memoir, Expecting Sunshine, which will be released April 2017 by She Writes Press. In Expecting Sunshine, I share about the conflicting emotions during pregnancy after loss, and all the things I did in the attempt to be calm and find peace. The one resounding message that I can share from that time: Support is crucial in pregnancies after loss. This may seem so obvious, but it’s not. I remember my...

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Healing Art for Mourning Moms – Register Today

Healing Art for Mourning Moms – Register Today

I am incredibly proud to announce a course I will be teaching called Healing Art for Mourning Moms. The course is only a few weeks away. Registration is now open. If you feel the pull, please sign up right away as the class maxes out at an intimate twenty participants. Healing Art for Mourning Moms Taught by Alexis Marie Chute, MFA, BFA A four week art-based course designed to help you grieve and heal from the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss.   In WEEK 1 participants will be welcomed into a judgement-free space to express and discuss their losses. The group will use creative writing to look at grief from different angles and uncover each individuals’ unique healing vocabulary. In WEEK 2 participants will use their writing from the...

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Celebrate Moms of All Kinds on International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Celebrate Moms of All Kinds on International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Thank you for reading and celebrating with me on International Bereaved Mother’s Day! No two Moms are exactly alike. We all have unique birth stories. We parent differently. Discipline our kids in distinct ways. We tell our own special stories at bed time. Some Moms choose to have three babies. Some don’t have a choice. Some Moms have no babies on this earth. There are many Moms that hold one or more children in their hearts. That’s life. Life is imperfect… – and it is these imperfections that makes it beautiful, sometimes tragically beautiful. Today, International Bereaved Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Moms of all kinds.   What is your story? What kind of a mom are you? How many children do you have?...

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Why it is Important to Celebrate International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Why it is Important to Celebrate International Bereaved Mother’s Day

This Sunday, May 1, 2016 is International Bereaved Mother’s Day.  I look forward to this date with mixed feelings. Maybe you do as well. Mother’s Day is a celebration, but for many it is a hard reminder of an incredibly painful time. The loss of a child is an experience I would not wish on my worst enemy, yet it is all too common. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in one-hundred-and-sixty end in stillbirth. More children are lost to SIDS and other causes during infancy.  These deaths are more than just statistics. They are little fingers that will never learn about the world through touch. They are tiny eyes that wont have the chance to smile every time they see their Mama or Dada. They are giggles and first words and cries for attention...

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Remember your Child in Expecting Sunshine Memoir

Remember your Child in Expecting Sunshine Memoir

About a year ago I asked if anyone wants their child’s name commemorated in my memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A heartwarming journey of grief, healing and pregnancy after loss. This is the final call for names! I am just finalizing the contract for publishing my book and soon the manuscript will be off with the publisher! It has been such a long process to get to this point, but I am so excited!   Just to show how long the publishing process really is on a book:   I wrote my memoir about my pregnancy after loss in 2011-2012. Editing it ever since, both on my own and with professional editors. Searched for an agent. Found an agent. Agent pitched my book to the big publishers. Big publishers replied: wonderfully written book BUT the subject matter is too...

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A Happy Place to Heal

A Happy Place to Heal

What is your happy place?   I always look forward to the summer. The heat and sunshine are healing for me. Nature is awakened around me, engaging every sense. Laying in the grass. Reading in the shade. The smell of flowers. The warmth of the afternoon sun. The taste of fruit, barbeque and cold drinks. The sound of bees buzzing. The vividness of greens and blues.   Some people have a location. For me, above all else the summer season is my happy place.     It is a season that reminds me of many good times and happiness as my first rainbow baby was born at the summer solstice in 2012. When times are rough, I need the summer heat. After Zach died, Aaron, Hannah and I traveled to Hawaii. Our savings suffered – and our grief traveled along with us...

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Sharing Family Stories

Sharing Family Stories

Sharing Family Stories of Loss and Love… on Wanted, Chosen, Planned Sharing stories is so important. We live in a culture that gobbles up well-told stories – from novels to comics to movies and theatre. Stories are not only at the heart of our culture but also of our families. We share generational recipes, the history of our ancestry and time honoured traditions. So why is it hard for us as a society to talk about our losses? Being open and vulnerable with our feelings around love and loss can be incredibly healing. Bottling up emotions can lead to stress and the breakdown of communication. Authentic communication, from the heart, can be a comfort to the isolation of grief. Plus, our children matter, both those with us and those that live on in spirit....

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Perinatal and Infant Loss Conferences 2016

Perinatal and Infant Loss Conferences 2016

Conferences are a wonderful way to learn about perinatal and infant losses – both for families and those that care for them. Have you ever been to this type of conference? When I went to my first one, I found it unnerving how open everyone was with their losses. It was a safe place to share and the community feeling was uplifting. I came away with so much. There are some amazing conferences coming up for bereaved families, volunteers and professionals. Here are three taking place this summer and fall:   Hope Rises on the Wings of Love The Compassionate Friends 39th National Conference   July 8-10, 2016 Scottsdale, Arizona   Conference registration: Adult Registration (ages 18 +) $90.00 each Child Registration (ages 9-17) $40.00 each Full-Time...

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Never Alone

Never Alone

Kids say the most profound things. Yesterday, Christmas Day 2015, my daughter Hannah startled me with a comment. Our family was driving to visit my parents and en route we were discussing the fact that not everyone has someone to spend the holidays with. Christmas is not an easy time of year for everyone. From the backseat Hannah said, “Mommy, you are never alone – you have baby with you all the time.” She was talking about my second Rainbow Baby, the child I am 37 weeks anxiously expecting. Then Hannah continued: “And Zachary is always with you too!” This realization made me smile. My first son, my baby that I miss dearly; he is always with me. Zachary is never far from my thoughts. My love for him never wanes. I am never...

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