International Bereaved Mother’s Day: Honoring our Birth Stories

International Bereaved Mother’s Day: Honoring our Birth Stories

Today we celebrate International Bereaved Mother’s Day. We honor precious children that have died and their Mothers whose love and bravery are to be respected and commended. The loss of a child is one of the most painful experiences a person can endure. At the same time, speaking for myself, I would never erase my pain. It is evidence of love. It speaks to the short but meaningful life of my first son, Zachary. Yes, my memories are tinged with sadness, but more so they are shrouded with love. Do you notice my theme here? LOVE Love is what binds us. Love sustains us. Love is the answer to the heart’s longings. Love is what keeps our loved ones alive.  My Mom is a wise lady. I respect and admire her, as much as we butt heads many days. Mom always tells...

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Five Lessons: Expecting Sunshine 1st Birthday

Five Lessons: Expecting Sunshine 1st Birthday

One thing I have noticed since losing my son, Zachary, is how I appreciate milestones more deeply. I love celebrating the birthdays, and other special days, of my two rainbow babies and my daughter, who was one-year-old when Zach passed away. So too am I grateful to wish my “book baby” a very happy birthday. One year ago today, I published my memoir, called Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss (She Writes Press, April 18, 2017).   When I look back on this past year, I realize there are many important lessons that I have learned. These revelations grew out of my challenging season of grief, the newness of slow-earned healing, and the process of writing, editing, and publishing my story.     Five Lessons on the Birthday...

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Healing, But Not Whole

Healing, But Not Whole

I am thrilled to welcome back to Wanted Chosen Planned Jenny Albers! She is graciously giving us what I might call PART 2 to her initial guest post about losing her baby, called “Grateful Despite the Grief” (click here to read it). I appreciate the vantage point Jenny takes when viewing life. With no further delay, here we go.   Healing, But Not Whole Healed. A word that, according to Merriam-Webster, means to “make free from injury or disease: to make sound or whole.”   After three years of missing my baby, Micah, I don’t believe I will ever be completely healed. My heart has a permanent injury, a hole that will never be filled. And our family is missing one, making wholeness an impossibility.   But time has allowed for healing,...

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Grateful Despite the Grief

Grateful Despite the Grief

Today I share a special guest post by Jenny Albers here on Wanted Chosen Planned. Welcome Jenny – and welcome everyone reading this! We are just a few days into the new year and it is a perfect time to share powerful stories of the “new normal” lives we find ourselves in after loss – and a perfect time to celebrate the children who are not with us. Grateful Despite the Grief:   I found out I was pregnant in October 2014, after experiencing an ectopic pregnancy earlier in the year. As much as I would like to say that I immediately began plans for bringing a baby home, something just didn’t feel right. Despite a number of ultrasounds that confirmed all was well, I remained skeptical. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that...

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What Doctor Who Teaches us about Grief

What Doctor Who Teaches us about Grief

Today I welcome Elizabeth Thoma on Wanted Chosen Planned for a special guest post. The power of storytelling is this: We realize we are not alone. We see that other people have survived what seems insurmountable. We learn how to cope and even thrive after loss. I am grateful for all the vulnerable guest stories shared on WCP. I am grateful – today specifically – for Oberon and his short but precious life. Oberon’s Story:   Three years ago at this time, my son Oberon was home in hospice care. We knew he was going to die, but we didn’t know when.   If you saw our home now, decorated for the holidays, you’d probably think everything was OK. It isn’t. Yes, there is joy in our house, but there is still heavy sadness and grief. We have “two...

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Grief on Christmas Day: 5 Ways to Cope

Grief on Christmas Day: 5 Ways to Cope

First of all: Merry Christmas! However, maybe “Bah, humbug,” may be more appropriate. Grief is hard in the holiday season – and Christmas day may be a nagging reminder of who you have lost. For me, Christmas time is a reminder that my second child, Zachary, was supposed to be a Christmas baby. His original due date was just a few days before Christmas. Around this time, about eight years ago when I was early in my pregnancy with Zach, I remember wondering: Will I be late and deliver a baby on Christmas eve or day? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to avoid or aim for those dates. Will my son one day complain he doesn’t get enough presents because his birthday is so close to Christmas? Will the roads be slippery and I have to deliver in the...

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The Tough choice of Termination

The Tough choice of Termination

I welcome Julie Bindeman here on Wanted Chosen Planned for a special guest post today. All stories shared on WCP may prove to be triggers for other grievers. I want to preface this post by saying that everyone’s experiences of loss are different; we all make different choices and grieve in our own unique ways. Termination is a sensitive topic for many. A controversial topic. I welcome Julie’s story here – and the stories of others – because this is a safe place and I believe that there is power in breaking the taboo around the conversation of loss, weather we agree or not. Wanted Chosen Planned is “no-judgement” zone. Here is Julie’s story: When my son was about 18 months old, my husband and I decided that it was time to...

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Life is truly precious

Life is truly precious

Today I welcome Carolyn and Adrian Aarnoutse here on Wanted Chosen Planned. As Carolyn shares her story of meeting and losing her son, Willem, I felt like I was with her, remembering my own loss and reliving those emotions. I honor the bravery of Carolyn and Adrian in opening up their heartache to us, and also I join with them in celebrating their precious baby Willem and his important life. Here is Willem’s story: I wake up every morning with the feeling that a part of me is missing; my heart is heavy and feels broken. We felt so blessed and proud to have five healthy and perfect children.  Our sweet Willem came into this world with one fast push; a healthy 6lbs 5oz boy. His three sisters and one brother loved him dearly. Often, I would see them carrying...

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I Miss Her So Much

I Miss Her So Much

I welcome Fawn Briggs and her brave guest post below on Wanted Chosen Planned. Fawn’s story of losing Phoenix is heart wrenching and her loss was only four months ago. This post is dedicated in memory of Phoenix. I was 39 weeks 3 days with my rainbow baby following a loss at 10 weeks June 1st, 2016. It was August 17th, 2017 and I was scheduled to be induced on the 20th.  I had been up late unable to sleep and my sweet baby girl Phoenix Quinn had been so active.  I was having contractions so when my husband got up for work I asked him to stay home with me because I thought we would be meeting our baby early.  After our 4 year old woke up I was feeling exhausted so I decided to take a nap so I would be rested if my contractions got close enough to head to the...

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Add Your Baby to the Celebrating Sweeties Page this Month

Add Your Baby to the Celebrating Sweeties Page this Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is an incredibly important time to celebrate and honor little lives gone too soon. Here on Wanted Chosen Planned, we have a very special way to remember babies and older children that have died. It is called Celebrating Sweeties and it is a place where children can be recognized by name, birth and death date and a picture if the parents have one and choose to share it.  If you would like your child to be a part of Celebrating Sweeties, please send this information to Alexis Marie at info@alexismariechute.com I am honored to post a new photo to the Celebrating Sweeties page today – and since Wanted Chosen Planned and Expecting Sunshine are experiencing a butterfly takeover for the month of October, I...

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is PREGNANCY AND INFANT LOSS AWARENESS MONTH. Please join with me in raising awareness for this life-changing experience. October is a time to… Remember the children that have died. Celebrate their lives and how they live on in our hearts. Break down the taboos around this type of loss. Give needed support to families. Honor bereaved mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, extended family and friends.   At this very special time of year, Wanted Chosen Planned (and my book and film: Expecting Sunshine) will have a butterfly takeover! This takeover is to help remember, celebrate and spark conversation.   If you are to Google “butterfly symbolism” this is what will come up: Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life....

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October Baby Loss Events

October Baby Loss Events

Baby loss events can be immensely comforting for those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and other kinds of pregnancy and infant losses. I remember attending my first event, the Walk to Remember, when I was still pregnant with Zachary, only two weeks before he died. I knew Zach would pass and attending the walk was hard, but it did give me a glimpse of what was to come. When I say that, what I mean is I got a preview of the supportive community of families who have also walked this journey. On what may feel like a lonely experience of grief, truly there are many others out there who can offer compassionate support.  No one should walk this journey alone. Now, almost seven years after Zachary’s death, I find baby loss events a wonderful...

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A Video Game to Cope with Grief

A Video Game to Cope with Grief

I listened to one of the most touching Ted Talks just a few days ago. It was about a family that designed a video game to cope with the grief of losing their son. It was so touching that I wanted to share it here. THE DRAGON, CANCER A little background: When Amy Green’s young son was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, she made up a bedtime story for his siblings to teach them about cancer. What resulted was a video game, “That Dragon, Cancer,” which takes players on a journey they can’t win. In this beautiful talk about coping with loss, Green brings joy and play to tragedy. “We made a game that’s hard to play,” she says, “because the hardest moments of our lives change us more than any goal we could ever...

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Last Two Days to Remember your Baby in Expecting Sunshine Documentary

Last Two Days to Remember your Baby in Expecting Sunshine Documentary

Expecting Sunshine documentary needs your help to finish the film. If you have been affected by and feel strongly for the topic of pregnancy and infant loss, grief and healing – please join us on the journey of making a cultural difference. SPECIAL FINAL OFFERING Thursday, July 13 & Friday, July 14 ONLY Donate to the Expecting Sunshine Documentary crowdfunding campaign and have the baby you lost, your rainbow baby, supporter name or business name listed in the credit roll of the film. We need your help. Please contribute and be a part of this meaningful project! THANK YOU!! ABOUT EXPECTING SUNSHINE FILM: The film documents an actual pregnancy of Alexis Marie Chute as she grapples with the unique challenges of the loss of a baby and the “new...

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Celebrating Sweeties Update

Celebrating Sweeties Update

What I love about Celebrating Sweeties is that it is a safe place to publicly remember children that have died. It is an unfortunate reality that our culture doesn’t know what to say to bereaved parents. What is typically said when an older person dies – “At least (s)he lived a long, full life” – does not apply. I am hoping that this will change. That we can develop a supportive and compassionate vocabulary to talk miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and all other kids of pregnancy loss and early infant loss – not to mention the death of an older or adult child as well. That is the goal of “The Healthy Grief Movement.”  New Sweeties to Celebrate It is always bittersweet for me to add a new baby or older child to the...

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Father’s Day for the Bereaved Dad

Father’s Day for the Bereaved Dad

Father’s Day can be challenging for the bereaved dad, just like Mother’s Day is for the bereaved mom. It only adds to the problem when fathers who have lost a child do not receive the support they need (but may not ask for) after their loss. This is not a fact I recognized around the time of Zachary’s passing, which I am sorry for. I was very introspective and self-focused back then, which is okay when you are trying to hold it together yourself. I still attempted to be there for my husband, though I’m not sure if I did a good job of it. My husband Aaron resumed life quickly after our loss, which at the time hurt me deeply. I felt abandoned by my partner and couldn’t see that he was grieving. Boy, was I wrong! I did not appreciate...

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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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