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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Please Support Expecting Sunshine

Please Support Expecting Sunshine

I haven’t posted in what feels like ages. There is a very good reason for this. Two words: EXPECTING SUNSHINE This is my documentary film about having a baby after losing a baby. It is my passion project right now, connecting my art, writing, and love for supporting others – all into one. Expecting Sunshine is an important film. It will raise awareness and hopefully help to break the taboo around the loss of a child. It will also bring to light how challenging it is to have a baby after these types of deaths. This topic is not addressed enough.   Have you had a child after you lost a child? What was your experience like?  Maybe you are pregnant after the death of your baby. How are you coping?   In a project with such a huge scope as...

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New Sweeties to Celebrate

New Sweeties to Celebrate

  On Wanted Chosen Planned, I share my story of losing a baby and having children afterwards – BUT I also dream of this being a community place. I welcome guest blog posts from individuals and families. If people need someone to talk to, I’m available (easily reached by email: info@alexismariechute.com). Plus, I have dedicated this whole online community to not only my son Zachary, but all the children of those who find themselves here. Celebrating Sweeties is a dedication page where families can email me with the name and birth/death date of their child, along with a picture if they choose. I make-up the designed image and post it, publically honouring that child and his or her family’s experience. It is a powerful act. It is bold. It fosters openness and...

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Speech from the Baby Steps Walk to Remember

Speech from the Baby Steps Walk to Remember

Last weekend was the Baby Steps Memorial Walk to Remember. It was a really great way to kick off Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I gave a speech that is very close to my heart. I spoke about the death of a child like being lost in the wilderness. For me, my son Zachary has become like Polaris, the North Star, who helps guide me out of the confusing and scary place. It is always tremendously special to be able to talk about my first son and to hear his name. Within my household, we talk about Zachary all the time, but to be in the company of others who don’t find that weird or uncomfortable is truly a blessing. It was so nice to have my Mom and Step-father and my husband’s parents join us. I don’t typically ask family and friends to attend these sorts...

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Baby Steps Memorial Walk this Sunday

Baby Steps Memorial Walk this Sunday

This Sunday, October 4, 2015, is the Baby Steps Memorial Walk in Edmonton, Alberta. I am honoured to share my reflections on this life after loss in the keynote speech. I was not able to speak at the Walk in August, as planned, because of a scary finding in my current pregnancy. If you want to read about my experience, you can click here. Feeling much more optimistic, I am looking forward to connecting with the special community of those in and around Edmonton this Sunday. There are so many who have been through the death of a child and yet are so open, welcoming and compassionate. It is an incredible group of individuals. I would encourage you, if you have lost a child, please consider attending the Baby Steps Walk or another event in your area. It truly makes a...

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What does Fatherhood Really Mean?

What does Fatherhood Really Mean?

Today is International Bereaved Father’s Day – and I find myself asking: What does fatherhood really mean? The British dictionary defines “Fatherhood” as: the state or responsibility of being a father. Or do we relate more to this definition of what a “Father” is: a man who exercises paternal care over other persons; paternal protector or provider. Everyone’s experience of fatherhood is largely based on personal, lived experience. Therefore, fatherhood will likely look different to everyone. Still, it is easy to imagine a man: Rocking his child to sleep. Teaching the little boy or girl how to kick a soccer ball. Wrestling in the living room. Helping with math homework. Staying awake till the daughter comes home from a date. Instructing his son how to drive....

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International Bereaved Father’s Day 2015

International Bereaved Father’s Day 2015

This Sunday, September 27 is International Bereaved Father’s Day. I encourage you to reach out to a Dad you know who is living without one (or more) of his precious children. Here are some simple ways to do so: Send a text or call on the phone. Just say, “Hi, thinking of you, if you ever need to talk…” Get together with the man. Quality time means the world – even if it is just playing Mario Cart. If the man and his family are planning a time of remembrance, ask how you can support them. If you are a bereaved father, please remember: You are still a dad. It is a part of who you are, whether your child is with you or not. Embrace how you are feeling. Don’t judge yourself – and if other’s judge you, ignore them. Surround yourself with supportive people and do...

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Encouraging Test Results

Encouraging Test Results

ENCOURAGING RESULTS: Since I shared my “Struggling & How to Help” post a few weeks ago, I have received a few encouraging test results. I have had a lot of people ask if I have had any news, so I am sharing it here. It can be easier to write it out for all to read, opposed to answering the same questions over and over. The test results came back to me staggered. The first result was a little ray of hope in the darkness which felt like déjà vu. The second test result was a little more sunshine for my soul – but not total relief. Still, I feel encouraged moving forward.   WHERE I’M AT: I have told a few people about these results and have had some of those individuals sigh and say things like, “I’m so glad everything is okay,” and “thank goodness it...

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Struggling & How to Help

Struggling & How to Help

Having a baby after losing a baby is hard. Then you add a complication to the pregnancy and everything spirals. To be honest, I am struggling right now.   What has happened in the last five days: I had my 20 week ultrasound last Tuesday. That night, our doctor called and said there may be something wrong with my baby’s heart and that it could be an indicator of a larger problem. I was making dinner at the time. The torrent of emotions nearly knocked me off my feet. I wept so hard both nostrils started bleeding. There was blood on my clothing and on my three-year-old son who ran to comfort me. Though I was making a new recipe that night, both Aaron and I lost our appetites after the call. At the same time, our instinctual coping mechanisms kicked-in. All I...

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Bereaved Dads Needed for Documentary

Bereaved Dads Needed for Documentary

My team and I are still diligently working away at our first documentary, Brave New Normal: Five Mothers Break the Silence on Baby Loss. I am always planning for the future and am setting the groundwork down to make the sequel: Five Fathers Break the Silence on Baby Loss. Bereaved Dads Needed for Documentary If you or someone you know is a bereaved father, please consider being a part of this project. You can email me to get in touch: info@alexismariechute.com Here is the trailer for Brave New Normal: Five Mothers Break the Silence on Baby Loss. BRAVE NEW NORMAL: Five Mothers Break the Silence on Baby Loss Click here to view the trailer on YouTube. Hugs Alexis Marie Chute Here are other posts on the topic of documentaries: Brave New Normal, View the Trailer...

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Zuckerberg & Chan Pregnancy Announcement

Zuckerberg & Chan Pregnancy Announcement

I am always so impressed when people are brave in sharing about their losses. It is not an easy thing to do in our culture. On July 31, the Facebook founder updated his public profile with the news of their growing family. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s pregnancy announcement confirmed the couple is pregnant – and with a baby girl, but also that they have been trying for years. Three miscarriages later, they posted a smiling maternity photo, Priscilla with a radiant smile and the glow of motherhood. For those of you not on Facebook, or may have missed the announcement, here it is. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pregnancy announcement:     The announcement shares with the world some of the challenges and confusion around miscarriage. “You feel...

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Baby Steps Memorial Walk: Dates

Baby Steps Memorial Walk: Dates

Save the Dates for the two upcoming Baby Steps Memorial Walks. This year there are two locations, and I am honoured to give the keynote speech at both. Here are the details: SHERWOOD PARK, ALBERTA: Sunday, August 30th, 2015 Festival Place Peace Park 100 Festival Way, Sherwood Park, AB T8A 5T2 – And – EDMONTON, ALBERTA: Sunday, October 4, 2015 Rundle Park 2909 113 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5W 0P3   Mission of the events: “A special time to recognize all our babies who have died during pregnancy or anytime after birth. Walk with us to remember, with love, the precious moments of your little one’s life.”   Click here to visit the Baby Steps Memorial Walk website.   Learn more about the Walks by clicking here.   There will be a teddy bear...

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Having a Baby after Loss

Having a Baby after Loss

I have not yet shared here, on Wanted Chosen Planned, that I am pregnant. Nor have I shared this news with all of my baby-loss friends and colleagues. My intent was to be sensitive to the grief of others. I remember when I was recently bereaved. Pregnancy announcements bothered me and the sight of round bellies had me in tears. Having a baby after loss is HARD. This blog is about life after the loss of a child and that often includes family planning and subsequent pregnancies. It is an important topic, although one I am having a hard time addressing these days… I am having a hard time because my coping mechanism this go around happens to be avoidance. It is very likely I would have avoided writing about this pregnancy at all if I didn’t feel the need to be...

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Heading to TCF Conference

Heading to TCF Conference

This weekend, July 9 to 12, is The Compassionate Friends of America National Conference, held this year in Dallas Texas. I have never been to Dallas before but it will be my second year at the conference. Last time I presented on the use of art and creativity in healing after the death of a child. This year I am leading two workshops on rejuvenating the bereavement leader and volunteer. Knowing what to expect, I will carry my package of tissue to all the sessions. It is an emotion filled conference. The Compassionate Friends do a great job of creating an atmosphere where people can be themselves, grieve, celebrate and find community. If you have never heard of The Compassionate Friends, click here to learn more about them. What makes them unique is that they...

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Remembering Ruby: Guest Post by Sara Kalke

Remembering Ruby: Guest Post by Sara Kalke

I am pleased to introduce Sara Kalke. It is an honor for me to share Sara’s story here on Wanted Chosen Planned. I met Sara over three years ago shortly after her daughter Ruby passed away. We had an instant connection based on our losses and now I am proud to call her friend. I invited Sara to share her story here on Wanted Chosen Planned and I’m honored she agreed. Welcome Sara! Sara’s Story  My daughter, Ruby Jayne, weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces when she was born.  She had beautiful dark curly hair.  She had ten fingers and ten toes.  She had her daddy’s nose and my lips.  She filled my arms just like a newborn should.  She fit perfectly into the pink onesie I had ready for her in my hospital bag.  She looked sweet and kind and full of the...

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Encouraging Quotes

Encouraging Quotes

Every once and a while it is lovely to read quotes that inspire reflection and ignite revelation. As I put together this list of five quotes that spoke to me, I came away with the strong sense that: Blessings can be found in our sorrows. I have seen this to be true in my own life. I never would have imagined being thankful for all I have learned from Zachary’s death, but I have grown a great deal as a person as a result. Yes, I want my son back every day, but I see that I have discovered so many gifts in this life post-loss. My son helped me find my voice as a writer and artist. He helped me appreciate my living children and life in general. He gave me a mission: to support people like myself who are forced to live this “new normal” after loss. Zachary helped me...

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Happy Father’s Day to all Dads

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads

Dads: you matter. Your children, all of them, even the ones that have died, even if that was your only child: they matter. Love is the bond that holds us all together. Love is unbreakable, is unchanging and never lost – even after death. Happy Father’s Day to all dads! Today is for you. Please comment below and share your story. Or join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtags #stilladad and #babyloss. My handle is @_Alexis_Marie – I look forward to celebrating with you. TweetShare on...

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How to Celebrate Bereaved Dads on Father’s Day

How to Celebrate Bereaved Dads on Father’s Day

Bereaved dads don’t get enough support – and our society doesn’t encourage them to ask for it when they need it. My husband Aaron grieved so differently than me. We were night and day. I was open, crying, needing to talk about our loss all the time, and could not focus on day to day concerns; they were meaningless to me for so long. For Aaron on the other hand, he shoved his emotions down and threw himself into his work. He didn’t talk about Zachary very often, if ever, unless I brought him up. He said all the right things to me, but was disassociated from our loss and our relationship. This was his way of coping. It was an extremely challenging time for us both. I have learned that the typical male and female grief patterns are not right and wrong in themselves,...

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It’s not too late to participate in Celebrating Sweeties

It’s not too late to participate in Celebrating Sweeties

I am always encouraged to see the children remembered on the Celebrating Sweeties page here on Wanted Chosen Planned. Their faces and names remind me why I write this blog and encourage me to keep going with my passion for baby-loss advocacy. All our children matter. Celebrating Sweeties is an ongoing project and I welcome anyone to participate. If you would like your child celebrated, please email me at info@alexismariechute.com Send me your child’s name, birthday and a photo if you have one. A picture is not required. “I thought I would have to teach my child about the world. It turns out I have to teach the world about my child.” -Anonymous   TweetShare on...

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Today’s Parent Wins Editorial Package Award for Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Campaign

Today’s Parent Wins Editorial Package Award for Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Campaign

I am happy to announce that the online campaign on Today’s Parent Magazine, called: Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss, has won a National Magazine Award for Best Editorial Package. The campaign features the stories of three mothers who suffered from the loss of a baby at various stages of pregnancy. I highly encourage everyone to read the stories and articles featured in the campaign. One of the three stories featured in the campaign is mine – the story of how I lost my son Zachary, from the excitement of first discovering I was pregnant to the moment he passed away in my arms. My story is told through an interview with me combined with an overarching narrative. “My husband and I both held Zachary skin to skin, which was really important to us. We only had...

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