Another October

October is part of my favorite and also gut punches when I see it coming on the calendar. The thought of resting time coming, sweatshirts, leaves and the crispness it fills me with just joy. And then I also know, yup it’s coming again.

This is the month my feed gets filled with all my fellow loss moms. We remember that this is a month usually known widely as the “pink” month but our little subset knows too well you add a little baby blue there and we’re remembering too.

Today I honestly wasn’t prepared for what I knew would be coming on my feed. I wanted to look away, but also wanted to comment on every post and tell that mama how loved they are. How not alone they were.

Then today our community started to become mainstream when Chrissy Tiegan and John Legend announcer they sadly had lost their baby Jack during pregnancy Huffington Post.

The double gut punch of this stranger celebrity sharing a loss with the world. The more grief is recognized as love. Takes vulnerability of sharing this pain. It’s helping people see a husband grieving with her, it’s seeing the pain of what it means to be pregnant and suddenly not and not be holding your baby.

October will always be beauty and heartbreak like the grief that is remembered. It’s love and missing, joy and longing.

Space At My Table

Just your Monday PSA, that no one has it all figured out. That awesome blogger who has her kids hair combed and smiling at the camera with a fresh “homemade dinner” probably has a pile of dishes next to the camera and a million out with kids having meltdowns!

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That mom who is managing all the activities and career is probably struggling with guilt that there’s not enough quality time while trying do #allthethings

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No one has it all totally figured out! Be the best you can with what you know right now!

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Faith it til you make it my fellow #bossbabes

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Let’s have a little coffee chat, shall we! Pull up a stool and sit down. There’s a few things you should know about me before we move any further. I’m messy and caffeinated woman who believes she can change the world.

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I’m far from perfect but I am driven and grounded. I know I’m changing the world because I’ve got a tribe of wonderful friends. My friends are full of women who have young kids, have grown kids, don’t have kids, maybe still feel like kids. I have a special place in my heart for my fellow #infantlossmama friends. I hate being apart of this community, but I also have met the most real people in it.

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This world needs more women who are amazing supportive and rooting for each other! Share this message with another woman who may need to know #tribelife and community aren’t just for 1 type of person! You don’t have to be one type of person to be in a tribe!

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There’s always space at my table

Cloud on My Heart

This week has been a blur of doing a million summer memories, spending time together and also a time where we know our hearts are starting to feel heavier.

There’s a 3 year old we aren’t going to be throwing your “traditional” birthday party for. Mostly because there’s no 3 year old boy to blow out his candles here.

Big sis has more empathy and love for him and us than I ever knew could exist. I’ve been feeling on edge, and after the 3rd potty break in 20 minutes I lost it🤯

At bedtime I apologized if mommy and daddy felt angry these last few days. Sometimes our sadness comes out in ways of yelling or frustration. It’s really that we just miss Logan and are mad he’s not here right now.

Then she said “Mommy, I feel that way too! I get sad when I get in trouble sometimes when really I’m just sad and miss him too❤️!”

My mama heart melted thinking of her behavior this way, and how dumb me didn’t put it together! Then she said probably the most profound thing that could come from Glitter Force

“it’s like on my show when the dark cloud comes over your heart. It doesn’t stay forever, but you just feel different when it’s there! But I know it goes away and gets lighter 🌈”

I mean this kid will be moving mountains one day, and maybe one of the best therapists I know, who can make a pretty brainless tv show have a bigger meaning! Friday is coming and I feel that weight knowing the anniversary/birthday/death day are all so freakin close.

This next week I maybe writing a little more, because it makes me feel lighter and that the dark clouds on my heart break for a few moments! So if you don’t want to read emotional stuff, see pictures of my son, then check back after the 26th😉 but even then I won’t ever apologize for the uncomfortable feelings you may have! He is my son, and deserves to be shared and loved just as much as his sisters are!

Baby Love…you were here for a moment and loved for a lifetime

I remember staring at the wall of the shower as the water poured over me. Arguing with God that I had already given him my son. Why did he take my Hope too?

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Why was I suffering and losing another child? I talk so much about Logan, but 2 years ago I walked into the ER with my 3 year old on my hip, hoping the bleeding wasn’t what I’d feared. That this baby was supposed to be our renewal, our “Baby Love”.

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Instead we got the news we feared, there’s no longer a heartbeat, and baby love had stopped growing 4 weeks prior.

I thought afterwards that maybe having another baby in our house wasn’t something I was meant to walk again. If you’ve walked a miscarriage or infant loss, you know the fear feels are so real.

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Joanna I’m thankful that you helped me through my fears, my anger, my tears. If we’d had baby love we might not have had you. I wish I could be holding all 4 of you babies, and one day in heaven I will hold you sweet baby love!

Transformed Me

Is #transformationtuesday still a thing people do? I guess I see lots of posts of people at the gym and their physical body progress when they use this hashtag! Here’s mine…

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I have transformed from a shy girl who once had posters of Hanson and N’Sync lining her bedroom walls.

A girl who didn’t know her own voice. A girl who felt she didn’t deserve what she worked for. ⠀⠀

A girl who knew at the age of 7, I wanted to be an author, but didn’t understand how good writing was for my soul until 30!

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I’ve transformed from a girl who always went to church, but didn’t understand what truly loving God meant until 30.

I’ve transformed from a mom who used to be happy for every pregnancy. Now I silently pray extra for none of the heartache with it.

I’ve transformed so much in my now 33 years. This girl reminded me that rainbows 🌈 mean there’s still beauty in the storm. She reminds me to hug and rest more. She reminds me it’s ok to be happy/sad together and that love is complicated. ⠀⠀

I’ve also transformed by now needing 3 cups of coffee (usually cold by the time I get 1). I also now have everything delivered and ready for pick up!

I’ve transformed to a person who only gets 5ish hours of sleep and still does the dishes, activities, diapers, doctors, bills, and mountains of laundry 🧺

What transformation has blessed you most recently?

The Kids Who Made Me Mom

What a strange day this is. I think it’s usually full of expectations that rarely are all fulfilled. A day that’s hard for women waiting to be moms, wanting all her kids in a picture, babies that weren’t big enough to hold. If you are missing your child, longing for one wanting this day to be looking different, I see you, I feel you and I understand all the feelings of this day.⠀⠀

If you are blessed enough to have all of your children in a picture you have no idea how blessed you are. I am holding 2 girls who have taught me so much about life and my 2 in my heart ❤️ who have taught me more about love.

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You have all made me a mom and made me understand and appreciate all the Mom’s in my life. Happy Mothers’ Day to the many amazing women and moms who have shaped me and my girls. To the moms that are watching my babies in heaven for me. #whatshehastaughtme is how to love and that love never goes away!

Celebrating and Smiling

Looking at them makes me want to celebrate and smile. So many times I felt like I see other families that have a child and have a new pregnancy and they either totally disappear from social media or they only talk about the new baby.

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Allison is struggling with not being the only kid in the house and is learning how to navigate this sisterhood she never knew in this way with Logan.

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It’s a hard place to be to celebrate the new and the gifts that have taken literal years to create and mountains that we’re moved. But I also have to celebrate what brought me here. Without losing Logan baby Love we wouldn’t be holding Jojo.

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So how do you celebrate both? It’s a hard place to be this Mother’s Day. It’s not easy to describe this confusion of joy and sorrow over having and missing it all.

To my fellow moms who know this, know I feel you and I’m sure I’m not alone. Tell me all your beautiful children (on earth and heaven!) and I’d love to pray for them as we go into this hard weekend!

Holiday Blues

Sometimes the sounds of Christmas are just hard. I don’t know if I will ever fully be able to listen to silent night without breaking down.

There’s moments that make it such a mixture of guilt, sadness, anger, love and joy all mixed together. It’s not always easy to navigate them.

I feel like I’ve heard “I can’t imagine!” So many times when I tell people Logan’s story. They can’t imagine an infant seemingly healthy 1 moment and a code blue the next. They can’t imagine the choices of hospice or lifetime ventilator. They can’t imagine burying their newborn and still functioning.

I know they could imagine it, it’s just that my nightmare is too much for them to even think of as a possibility. When people ask me how I do it, I’m really not sure. I really wasn’t given another choice.

I wish that there were far fewer people having a Blue Christmas this year. For those who are having a hard month, this song sums up my feelings for this month.

Please let the calendar hit January quickly!

Wave of lightning 

Help break the silence and remember with us by lightning a candle at 7 pm for remembrance. Unfortunately our family is not alone in this unimaginable pain. No matter how small they mattered and are always a mystery of who they would’ve been. They matter because they were here, if only for a moment.


Today is a nationally recognized day of remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss of those lives gone far too soon. 

This month:

We remember the babies born sleeping. Those we’ve carried and never met. Those we’ve held but couldn’t take home. The ones who came home, but couldn’t stay. 

Help break the silence and remember with us by lightning a candle at 7 pm for remembrance. Unfortunately our family is not alone in this unimaginable pain. No matter how small they mattered and are always a mystery of who they would’ve been. They matter because they were here, if only for a moment.

Beauty of October Sunrise 

Each month we see pink for the warriors who have fought the battle of breast cancer. We see it in stores and even the football fields. This month few outside our community know that this month has had another dedication since October 25, 1988 when President Regan proclaimed this month Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. A month of remembrance of loss of those tiniest babies we hold in our hearts. https://tinyurl.com/ya342hte

The calendar hit another first of the month. Another day further from you in my arms, but closer to meeting you again. I knew coming up that October would be hard. Last year October felt like a stab in the gut. Logan should be here and we should have pictures of him at the pumpkin patch. We should be deciding what cute Halloween themed onesies he’d be wearing. 

I still feel it this year, when deciding on costumes what would he like. He’d only be a little over 1 so I’m sure I could convince him to be a pumpkin like his sister was our first Halloween in our new home. 

October is hard for another reason, it’s infant loss awareness month. I know before this I only knew October for breast cancer and pink shirts everywhere. 

Last year I found out about a project ‘Capture your grief’. It was starting by a photographer who experienced infant loss and she wanted to use her art as therapy. The idea is not to have great photos that belong on walls, but capturing where your memories are that day and she gives you prompts. Last year I was too raw to think through each day. Some of these assignments are just downright hard. This year I’m giving myself grace to remember, and grace to let go of some hard memories. 

This morning for the beginning of October the assignment was sunrise. I was at first mad at how cloudy it was that there wasn’t looking like much of a sunrise. Then slowly the pink filled in under the blue. I couldn’t help thinking that this is just what this month needs! A little more blue to go with all the pink in October! 

One of My Grief Writing Inspirations

untitledI cannot say enough how inspiring Sheryl Sandberg is personally and professionally as a woman teaching other women to Lean In. In May 2015 Dave Goldberg, then CEO of tech company SurveyMonkey, husband of top Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and father of their two children, passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Mexico. The way that she has been very open about her grief and teaching empathy in the midst of her own pain has amazed me. Sheryl has shown me that it’s ok to address the elephant. That although the standard time for mourning is over that we have to continue to learn how to live life differently.

Following the end of the 30-day religious mourning period in Judaism known as sheloshim, Sheryl Sandberg posted a note on Facebook, reflecting on her grief and her learnings.

Here are a few of the thoughts she shared publically on her Facebook page which has since gone viral:

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“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.” Sandberg says she finally understood that telling people facing challenges that “everything will be okay” is not actually helpful. Sometimes, acknowledging what is happening — the pain — is what people truly need.

“Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.” Sandberg was referring to the cars on the road while the ambulance drove her husband to the hospital, but the call for less selfishness can be universally applied.

“I have learned that resilience can be learned.” A friend of Sandberg’s told her about the three elements to resilience: personalization (it’s not your fault), permanence (these feelings won’t last forever), and pervasiveness (this doesn’t have to affect every area of your life).

“One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, ‘It’s the elephant.’ Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.” Sandberg realized that people close to her, especially at work, were terrified of saying anything that could hurt her, and the only solution was for everyone to openly ask questions and share their feelings. Addressing that elephant in the room is the only way to move forward.

“Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.” These wise words came from a friend of Sandberg’s, about acceptance — and making the best of the situation. Goldberg might not be there for their children anymore, but she can commit to making the best from the alternative.

Busting Some Only Child Myths

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The ‘Problem With Only Children’

Why is the status of only child seemingly only associated as bad? As a society we have a tendency to say ‘your baby is so cute, when are you having more?’ or “Is this your first?” These questions lead to an automatic assumption that a couple having 1 child must want more babies, or we say things hoping to urge them to have more babies. The idea that having an only child will leave that child spoiled and unable to deal with society.

The big question is ‘Why is this any of their business?’

Those who don’t know how long the couple may have been trying for the first pregnancy. They don’t know how many rounds of fertility shots which were already endured. How many tears were shed on the bathroom floor when they realized that they had failed yet again. They don’t see the depression that followed their last pregnancy. How it is just a struggle to keep breathing and the thought of another pregnancy and post-partum brings shortening of breath.

Outsiders don’t see the miscarriages and tears because they may have wanted more or even struggled to get to one.

Speaking for myself as an only child I hope I can debunk some of these myths. I’m now on the other side as a parent. I have one child on with me on Earth and one waiting for me in Heaven. Because people can only see her they use her being only child to explain any and all behavior.

I’ve heard remarks ranging from you know she’s going to be selfish or she will never learn to interact in society. I have to try my best to punch them and not point out that I also am an only child. In fact 1 in 5 American families have just one child, but we still are seen as black sheep.

So here are some common myths I’m going to try to debunk for you:

  1. Only Children Are Lonely.
    1. Yes, only children spend more time alone than children with siblings. Being alone does not automatically equal loneliness. Studies have shown that spending time alone strengthens character and only children often know themselves better as a result. What’s more, only children have just as many friends as children with siblings do. So all the alone time doesn’t have a negative impact on the only child’s ability to make friends
  2. Only Children Are Selfish.
    1. In depth studies have been done on only children over the course of the last 20years and research overwhelmingly agrees that only children do not exhibit more negative personality traits than kids with siblings. Only children are no more selfish than children with siblings
  3. Only Children Are Spoiled.
    1. Most think that because there is only one child, that he or she gets what she wants all the time. This simply isn’t true. Any child can be spoiled or overindulged whether they are only child or not. Experts say it is the parenting that determines this much more so than the number of children
  4. Parents Of Only Children Are Selfish.
    1. Parents of only children are often on the receiving end of criticism and scrutiny as people think they are selfish for only wanting one child and what they perceive as “easy”. Others assume that the marriage isn’t a happy one and that’s why the couple only chose one child. People need to understand that having an only child is a valid family choice. Happier parents means a happier family overall-regardless of the number of children.

There are also some benefits to having an only child. Parents have more resources to devote to that child including money and energy. As a result of having more resources to devote they often have higher intelligence and achievement rates than counterparts with siblings, which could lead to them contributing more to society. Only children often have higher self-esteem than kids with siblings.

So now you know only children are no more spoiled or selfish than the rest of the world. Please leave your personal opinions about how many children the couple should to yourself. Unless you are going to be a parent involved in the equation of raising the children you are not allowed an opinion on what the appropriate number of children is for any family. 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/20/opinion/martin-single-child/index.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/only-children-lonely-and-selfish.html?_r=1&

 

No Ruler to Measure Grief

So many people who have contacted me since I started writing with their own stories. These are stories of old wounds, vulnerability and reopened scars and the memories that haunt us at night. They usually start with a disclaimer “it doesn’t compare to what has happened to you” or “I wasn’t as far as you were.”

These disclaimers make me think that at some point our society decided that we need to rank measures of loss. That for some reason some hurt was worth more than another hurt. We try to minimize our hurt and be a martyr. I’ve learned that to rank a loss is just cruel. The worst thing that could happen did and that’s all that matters. The weight of your loss is not transferrable and not measurable. If it’s heavy for you it should be acknowledged and that’s really all that matters.

I want to thank the many people who have opened up and shared stories of their scars. They are all special and unique and part of what bind us together. We all have struggles and are all trying to persevere.

There is enough suffering to go around and it can be overwhelming. We don’t need to put comparisons or disclaimers on our emotions.

Some of best advice in those darkest first months was to try to talk to myself like I was talking to my best friend. She let me acknowledge I was in the trenches and to remind myself to be kind while I was trying to fight a war with myself.

If your waiting for a permission slip to feel complicated things all at once here it goes. Remember your allowed to be happy about good things while your sad about good things. Your allowed to be proud of every mountain you have climbed. You are not obligated to justify your feelings. Especially feelings of grief. You are not obligated to minimize your loss.

We are all here to bear witness to one another. To lend a hand when we see someone slipping. I hope that you know this is not a competition of who has it worse. No one really wants to win that competition.

Remember to be to yourself. To talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend and not the guilt tripping enemy you maybe listening to in your head. I’ve found that grief is a complication of emotions of sadness mixed with happy mixed with another sadness about feeling happy. Remember your not crazy, it’s just grief. And anyone who thinks grief is a smooth transition of checkmarks is probably living in some crazy sub-universe!

Why I Write 

If we haven’t already met, hi I’m Sara! I’m writing this blog for my son Logan. His time in this world was a brief 14 1/2 hours, but so much love was shared during his short time here. I write to families who have experienced grief, and to those who support them on their journeys.

I write about what has brought me joy and what I wish others would understand about the complexities in my mind as I navigate new normal. Ideally, I’m writing in this public manner because I was tired of whining in my journal about wishing more people would understand my thoughts after. I want people to not walk on egg shells around me. I want people to know what has helped and what still hurts. Some of my writings are for me to get the day off my chest. While others come after I think now I have the perfect thing I wish I would’ve said at the time. There are many times where it’s easier to write it down and send it into cyberspace than to try to think of the right words in the moment.

I hope that you feel free to share any of my writings if they are helpful to you. I want to thank each of you for taking the time to read any of my posts and getting to know me and my family.

Sara