The relay of bereaved motherhood 

I heard from an old hometown friend tonight. The last time we connected it was about cloth diapering just after my son was born. 

I always enjoy when someone reaches out after years of non-contact and you are able to bond over life experiences –  except for times like this. 

Tonight, her tone was rushed and anxious. She wondered if I knew how long it took to recover from a miscarriage. She had just experienced one at almost 6 weeks pregnant and wasn’t feeling normal. 

How do I explain to her that you will never feel normal again? 

How do I tell her that your womb will always seem dark and your heart will remain broken? 

She had noticed the posts I share on social media about infertility and loss. She wondered if I could recommend any resources that had helped me. 

Where do I even start? 

I linked her to Standing Still, Unspoken Grief and my personal fav, A Bed for My Heart. 

I told her to trust her intuition and speak to her doctor if she still isn’t feeling right. 

I let her know that the physical recovery would happen much quicker than the emotional recovery. 
Geez. How does one even find the words to describe lifelong loss? 

Finally, I told her that she could reach out at any time. I’m here if she wants to talk about it. 

Because really that’s what we all needed… 

Someone to listen. 

Someone to reassure us. 

Someone to remind us that we aren’t alone. 

I never wanted to become that someone, but I’ll carry the torch proudly and teach her what she needs to know for when it’s her turn to pass it along. ❤

Dear Huggies

Today I received an email from you with the title: Are you ready for your little one’s big one?

I thought to myself that this marketing campaign is REALLY early. My son’s birthday is over 6 months away.

Then, it hit me.

You were referring to my dead daughter. My expected due date was May 24, 2015. Her 1st birthday could have been month from now, but instead we lost her much too soon.

At first, I was angry. This was just another example of how inconsiderate society is towards grieving mothers. Do you really expect a woman to update all of her marketing preferences after she’s lost a child?

I took a deep breath and thought to myself that maybe I shouldn’t be so upset?

Thank you Huggies for acknowledging our Angel’s upcoming special day.

My husband and I still recognize it even though no one else around us does. We don’t receive any cards, any phone calls or even any texts. A woman who experiences pregnancy loss may have only held their child in womb, but she will forever hold their memory in her heart. The world around her moves on, but she always remembers those significant dates. This year, you are probably are the only one who will remember – even if it was a mistake.

The thing is pregnancy loss affects 1 in 4 women. I’m sure I’m not the first who’s experienced such a “WHOOPS” on behalf of Huggies. If you’d like to work together to find a solution to this scenario, I’d be more than willing to help.

Lindsey

(Momma to Emme and Wyatt)

 

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An unexpected grief explosion

On Friday night, I attended a Chakradance session for the heart chakra.

I didn’t think this one would hit me as hard as it did.

As we began the meditation, I saw an imagine of a woman suffocating her child and heard the message, “You didn’t kill your baby“.

*gasp*

I had been carrying a huge burden around without consciously realizing it.

The tears began to flow.

Her image is blurry in my mind. I  can’t feel her energy as strongly as I once did. I don’t hear her voice as often anymore.

I am afraid of losing her.

I heard, “You need to let her go. She will always be with you“.

Letting go doesn’t mean she’s gone.

An image appeared of her heart within Wyatt’s, within my own, within my husband’s…

She’s within us all.

Forgiving yourself is hard to do.

Letting go is even harder –  especially when it’s your child.

Grief catches you when you least expect it. And clearly for me, it’s a continuous process of unveiling, unravelling and releasing.

As I drove home, the song “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison came on the radio…

She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like the honey, baby, from the bee
She’s my baby, you know she’s alright…..”

I love you Emme ❤

A never-ending battle

 

Today, I’m struggling with infertility.

I am looking at my son who is so contently playing in his exersaucer. I know he can sense when Momma is upset. He is my miracle. He is my greatest blessing.

But, he can’t take away the emotions.

Last week, a friend lost her first baby off her first IVF cycle. It was the only embryo to make it, but it only made it so far. ❤

Yesterday, another friend told me she just experienced another loss. It’s her second pregnancy and her second loss since 2016 began. ❤

Today, another friend found out her 3rd baby has also become an Angel. It was her 3rd pregnancy, the one we thought was THE ONE. This pregnancy was the farthest she has ever gotten. ❤

My God. Why is it so hard?

Each time, my heart just breaks.

It’s

NOT

fair.

With each blink of your eyes – whether there’s tears streaming from them or not – you are surviving. And some days, surviving is all you can do.

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What does beating infertility mean to you? Read this post about Beating Infertility from my friend Sondra at a Calm Persistence. 

 

 

A full heart and a weekend of firsts

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a few shots from a Valentine’s themed mini photoshoot we had done last week.

My husband surprised me this year.

Gift #1: A small Angel that says, “Bless you May girl… today and all year long!”. It is so touching to know he has our Angel Emme Mae on his mind and in his heart. ❤

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Gift #2: A rainbow necklace. He said the saleswoman thought he was crazy when he walked into the jewellery store and asked for a rainbow necklace, but they found this one. It’s perfect.

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We took Wyatt to our local leisure centre for his first public swim. Let me preface this by saying: I HATE public pools. This one was super busy too. I toughed it out though. Wyatt was super content. He loved floating in the water. We decided that next time we will pay extra to try the YMCA if it’s less busy.

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I also assembled our high chair tonight. My brother, his wife and my nephew are coming to visit in 2 weeks. I figured my nephew who’s almost 2 can use the high chair or the booster seat that came with it, but it turns out Wyatt also fits nicely in it with the infant insert.

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AND…

Wyatt rolled over all on his own! It was a very slow motion roll over, but a success nonetheless!  He just did it for a second time much faster than the first. Where did my baby go??? He’s only 3.5 months old.

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Nursery update: gallery wall is finished

I finally finished the gallery wall in Wyatt’s nursery.  As typical Mom life would go, the process of selecting, printing, assembling and hanging these two last frames was an all day affair.

We ended up removing the large yellow star as it kept falling down = MAJOR HAZARD.

My Mom finished the cross-stitch birth announcement that she made for us. I sized it wrong, so we bought a new frame for it and placed it where the large yellow star had been.

I filled the green frame with one of Wyatt’s newborn photos that features him wearing a knitted Toronto Blue Jay’s hat.

I found a print on Etsy from FluffBabyStuff to fill the placeholder cross-stitch frame. I purchased the digital files and printed it off on our home printer. I wanted something that was a tribute to Wyatt and his Angel sister as I carry them both within my heart. ❤ It reads, “I will carry you always“.

I may put another frame above the mirror if I find another photo that works well.

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Unsaid words and simple actions

She saw my Facebook post. My subtle, yet not-so-subtle, tribute to my daughter on the one-year anniversary of the day we lost her.

That’s the only way she knows what’s happening in my life – through what very little I post on Facebook.

She sent me a text.

I’m thinking about you today and how far you have come this past year and soon you will be a mother.” 

I thanked her for her kind words, but she didn’t realize how much they sliced my heart open.

I replayed them over and over again in my head.

…soon you will be a mother“.

She doesn’t get it…

and she most likely never will.

I know her intentions were sincere, but she still can’t acknowledge our daughter.

Let it go, Lindsey. There’s no point. 

You can only get through to those who want to understand.

That night, her son – my husband – told me we had something else to do before bed.

Huh? What could that be?

Let’s start a new tradition“, he said. “Tonight, we will light this together for our Angel and she will watch over us.”

He handed me a lit match and lit one for himself.

We lit the candle together, then crawled into bed.

How did I manage to find a man like him?

My heart exploded with love and gratitude. Such a simple action meant so much to me.

He gets it. And that’s enough for me.

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They are not gone but souls turned to light

How do you honour a loss while celebrating a new addition?

October.

To my husband and I, this month represents:

  • The loss of our daughter due to ectopic pregnancy on October 7, 2014
  • The upcoming birth of our son – estimated due date October 15, 2015

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we can grieve/remember/honour the upcoming anniversary of the loss of our first child while celebrating the birth of our second child.

Grief vs. Joy

These two emotions are such opposites. Yet for someone who has faced infertility and pregnancy loss and is transitioning into the state of parenting a baby earth-side, these emotions can be very much experienced at the same time.

How do you explain that to someone who will not acknowledge your loss in the first place? 

You don’t… or you do so without expectation.

Earlier tonight, I read a post by Sondra from A Calm Persistence about the importance of seeking support. In her post, the lesson that stood out the most for me was to seek support where it’s most likely to be given in a positive way. I know I spent too much of my own journey looking for support from the wrong people. Once you find the people who “get it”, the journey overall seems a bit easier.

When I speak about my ectopic pregnancy, it’s easy to hide the grief. It’s easy to put aside all of the emotions that are tied into loosing a child and simply focus on the medical procedure and consequential outcomes.

But when I speak of Emme, I can’t hide my grief. My voice cracks. My eyes tear up. My wounds within my heart are visible for all to see.

She existed. She is our daughter… even if she isn’t with us now.

Still, that concept remains hard for so many people to grasp. They prefer to ignore it rather than work through their own awkwardness into a place of compassion and understanding.

My grief is normal, healthy and common. The infertility and pregnancy loss community has shown me that.

I don’t have a plan for this upcoming Wednesday except that I don’t want to take myself back to the memories of the night we lost Emme. The fear. The sadness. The aloneness.

Instead, I want to honour the beauty Emme has brought into our lives, the reassurance I have knowing she is watching over us and the gift that she gave us through her passing – her little brother.

I won’t hide my grief.

I won’t hide my joy.

I’ve chosen to share them both.

Because I know there’s another woman out there experiencing the same feelings as I am.

And she deserves to know she’s not alone. ❤

Reflecting on our IVF journey

One year ago today, I had bloodwork and an ultrasound, then started my stims.

I crossed over into the world of IVF treatment not realizing what was in store for me.

I think reflection is an important part of life. Not reflecting on the negative all the time, but reflecting on the challenges and seeing what became of them.

In the past year, I’ve experienced:

  • A cocktail of fertility meds
  • Over 120 self (or husband) injected needles
  • Close to 50 blood tests
  • 2 surgeries
  • 2 embryo transfers
  • 2 pregnancies
  • Grief and heartache following a pregnancy loss
  • A mild case of OHSS
  • Borderline Hyperemesis Gravidarum
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Constipation
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Lost friends
  • Gained friends
  • A newfound sense of self
  • A closer connection to my husband
  • A better understanding of my body
  • Love at first sight
  • All of the “pregnancy firsts” (first ultrasound, first heartbeat, first anatomy scan, first kick)
  • 3 changes in my job position/title
  • Paying off IVF costs
  • Preparing for baby
  • Stress
  • Relaxation
  • Fear
  • Hope

I’m sure this list could go on and on…

Was this past year easy? Hell no, but I would never change it.

The challenges were worth the lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, and the strength I’ve gained.

If you asked me 1 year ago where I thought I’d be today, I would have said on maternity leave with a 3 month old baby girl.

Instead, I’m 32 weeks pregnant preparing for the birth of our baby boy.

Life changes and we can’t control it.

All we can do is look back on it and appreciate how far we’ve come. ❤

The journey never ends. It merely twists and turns us in another direction.

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August 19 – a day of HOPE

Today is August 19 – a day of HOPE – hosted by the Carly Marie Project. The inspiration for today is to break the silence about infant and pregnancy loss while honouring the lives of our children who left us too soon.

Participants are encouraged to make a prayer flag in memory of their child(ren), then share photos of it on social media.

I didn’t get a chance to make a flag to honour Emme, but I did share one of the project’s awareness images on my Instagram with the following statement:

“Some people think that having a rainbow baby in your womb changes everything. It doesn’t. You don’t ever forget. You simply learn to live as the “new you” – a mother to two children, one Angel; one on his way. You know that life can change in an instant, so you become more grateful for your blessings. You feel more. You love deeper. You continue to hope. Hope is what keeps you going.

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Sending love to you and your Angels today and always ❤

Learn more about the day of HOPE: