Happy Tears & Rainbow Babies.

Everyday I try to incorporate Jensen in Mila’s life. Just because he isn’t physically here with us doesn’t mean he isn’t her big brother. I often wonder what questions she’ll have about him as she gets older and why I call her my little rainbow. It’s HUGE for me to let her know how special her and Jensen are to me.

Another huge activity I like to include in our everyday life is books. Sometimes Mila brings me like 20 books to read to her throughout the day… which sounds overwhelming, but I love watching her interact with them. I’m always on the lookout to find children’s book pertaining to loss. Books are a great way to sort of break the ice in those early conversations by using a familiar medium. A few weeks ago, I was contacted to check out Happy Tears & Rainbow Babies by Natasha Carlow that centers on those topics.

Happy Tears & Rainbow Babies.jpg

Not to spoil the story for you all, but it’s about a family who go out on a walk to the park. The family is portrayed after the authors family, with Rosie and Capi her own children being presented in the book. While at the park, the children see a rainbow and the parents explain how beautiful and meaningful rainbows are to them. Not just rainbows we find in nature, but also ones born after loss. I find the story very sweet and loving. It introduces a real way to talk to children about their siblings who have passed. I would also like to add, there’s a religious tone to the book that mentions God, Noah, and praying.

Natasha does a great job of sharing her family’s story of life after loss. She focuses on creating a safe place for discussions on miscarriage, loss, faith and hope. It’s very brave for something to openly share their story and feelings. This book will be able to help many families who share the same beliefs and similar journeys.

I really did find this story to bring a happy light on rainbow babies. It doesn’t diminish the sadness of losing a child/ren, but shows how we can remember them with subsequent children too. With me having Mila in mind, I know she would love the bright colors in the illustration. Along with the message, I know Mila, at her age now, would like to point out the animals and everyday items she interacts with as well. But most of all, I think the description of happy tears and letting children know that a person can live with grief and it’s okay to be happy too.

Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies is being launched today, May 1, 2019 at 10am on Amazon. I hope you can check it out and let me know what you think.

This post was inspired by Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies by Natasha Carlow.  If you’d like to know more about the book click the following links…
Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies Amazon Page
Happy Tears & Rainbow Babies Information Page
Natasha Carlow’s Facebook Page
Natasha Carlow’s Instagram Page

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Motherhood is messy…

Motherhood is messy… and I’m not talking physically messy with Mila playing in mud, food, and whatever else she can get her hands on. It’s also mentally messy and challenging, especially when parenting after loss.

Last week, I got tagged in a comment on a blog post about how grief slightly lifts after a rainbow turns a year old. I read it and had to think on it for a long while. Then today when I was looking in my memories on Facebook and on my phone (the little baby Mila pictures are just too adorable), I came across a blog post I wrote a year ago today. Essentially, it’s all the post birth/days after I had Mila triggers that I didn’t expect to have. I never had the ‘typical’ bring your first baby home and everything feels magical moment and bringing Mila home didn’t really change that.

Don’t get me wrong, Mila is magical in ways I can’t even explain. She makes me smile everyday and keeps me on my toes. Anytime I’m sad, she’ll snuggle me and I love watching her explore the world. My life has been improved because of her, but I wouldn’t say my grief has lightened. It’s evolved like it had before she was even made.

Now that we’re past the year mark, I would say certain parts have lightened. I can be around babies more and not worry so much. Pregnant women still get me because I wonder if they’re going to be the 1 in 4. And Mila, she doesn’t trigger me in ways that I thought she would. I love seeing her grow and I wasn’t worried about her getting hurt or pushing the limits as much as I thought I would. I encourage her to climb and if she falls, I don’t freak out. She isn’t my trigger, but the absence of Jensen and not seeing him get bigger is the worst. Maybe they go hand-in-hand, but I won’t let my brain make that sort of connection.

I sort of think there’s this misconception where a rainbow baby comes and there’s a lot of happiness. This hasn’t be the exact case for me. There’s a TON of happy days with Mila, but grief still happens…

Missed Milestones

After Jensen was born, I was pretty well aware of how many weeks had passed, then months, and years. Those first few months, I was in this huge fog and couldn’t accurately picture how big he’d be. With Mila, I can see her growth and try to picture Jensen there. I make it a big deal to capture her growth every month. I don’t want to forget and deep down, I still think she could be taken away from me. On Jensen’s birthday this year though, I felt like I was on the verge of tears a lot of the day. It was a good day, but thinking how he’d be so into blowing his candles out and wondering what his reactions would be seemed more intense to me. I think his birthday will always be somewhat tricky, especially with hers only nine days afterwards. The other milestones I’m weirdly aware of at the moment is that he’d be starting preschool this fall or those huge ones.

Holidays

The holidays still suck for me. I love watching Mila get to enjoy them, but it’s in the back of my head that he’s missing. Knowing he’s missing when all the other kids are around… hurts. I want him there. It’s hard to know there’s always one more that should be with us. I do hope the holiday grief will lighten in the future.

Random Grief Attacks

There’s just days when grief knocks me on the ground. I try to distract myself and pour myself into Mila, school, projects, my house, and a ton of other things, but it doesn’t help. I can be completely fine on the outside and managing but the grief is like a fire inside of me. This time of the year is awful for me. Their birthdays and the holiday and the thought of spring bringing rebirth has gotten to me since he’s been born. When she was younger and would cry so much, I can remember just feeling so down on myself. Like, I would just want her to stop crying for a minute to just give myself a second, then I would feel awful. All I wanted was to hear Jensen’s cry and I was wishing for hers to stop for a minute. I felt like I didn’t deserve her. Then that would kickstart my head to somehow blame myself for Jensen dying. Grief is crazy and it’s random like that. Even now, I’ll get frustrated when she doesn’t listen or if I’m just tried and need her to go to sleep. Then those thoughts creep up.

Grief and all the triggers haven’t went away. They’ve changed and hit me at different times than they did before. I’m learning how to distinguish negative thoughts and seeing what part of me needs to be looked after. Losing Jensen has completely changed my life. It’s changed the way I view the world and others. He’s taught me how to love fully and not want to lose loved ones. Losing him has taught me to be a better parent to Mila than I thought I ever could be.

My motherhood is messy from grief, but wildly full of love from my two babes. There’s no ‘right’ way to be a mom or journey through life after loss.

Jensen’s Third Birthday.

After a little social media break for the weekend, I wanted to share about Jensen’s birthday and his party. As you can see in my previous post… the day before his big day was hard. I was so afraid I’d wake up and feel super negative on Friday. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case at all.

Mila and I had a quiet morning and read On the Night You Were Born again. She cuddled Jensen bear and I told her about the importance of the day. Obviously she doesn’t get it yet, but I feel like telling her is needed. After getting ready and dressing her in her blue and orange dress, we went to brunch. I think that would have been something we would’ve done with Jensen. His day would’ve been special if he was here and it should be now too. Mila sure enjoyed it too though.

When brunch was over, we went to get Jensen’s balloons, cake, and ice cream. I think it’s awesome that we still have a party for him, but it sort of stings too. At this point, I feel as if he’d want input on his parties and certain things. It’s hard to see a whole range of different party supplies and be stuck. Maybe no one else thinks of that. I just always wonder what his interests would have been. Those type of thoughts probably won’t stop with me. My imagination is always running, especially about Jensen.

We ended up picking a nice chocolate cake, blue balloons, and a big silver three. The funniest part of the day was being stuck in the car with Mila and my mom with all the balloons. It’s so nice to be able to smile during the hardest times.

At home, his little party started. We had Mila and her cousin play and the adults got to talk. Of course we took 100’s of pictures as we do. We got to sing happy birthday to Jensen and help blow out the candles. The kids also got to dig in to the cake. Mila maybe got a little too into it… she’ll have no problems on Sunday. Then we got to let balloons with messages go. This has been our little routine for his birthday for all three of them. It’s such a release and I just love feeling supported on his day. Mostly, I just know he’d love it too.

After his birthday, I definitely needed a break. I didn’t even get on social media or really have my phone a lot the last week. Around this time of year there’s so much going on and too many thoughts to process. There’s been so much I learned through my grief and life since he turned two. Everyday I wish I could see him and know his little personality more. I miss him more than words can describe and love him even more than that. I’m so thankful for all the support him and I have.

Now we’re onto another year of grief. I don’t know where it will lead my family, but I know Jensen will be right there with us.

It’s still hard.

Three years ago, I had the worst day of my life.

It’s easy and hard to put myself back in that exact place. I can remember it like it was yesterday and at the same time I don’t know how I did it. The whole things strange. I can remember my actions and the timeline of events, but not how I felt. My brain trashed that.

All week I’ve been so worried about how I’d be today. Mila has been super needy the last couple days and I didn’t know how everything would wind up. Would I feel overwhelmed or like I should hide away? Or would she pick up on my emotions? Mostly I just didn’t want to let her down for reasons unknown to her. One day I think she’ll know this days significance, but now… well that’s be impossible.

When I woke up this morning, I felt that familiar brick just weighing on my chest. My mind just kept saying three years ago today he died. Three years ago, you’re life flipped upside down. I can’t stop them and they felt like they wouldn’t end. As I was caught up in them, I felt a little nudge from Mila. As per our usual morning routine, she brought me a book… My Mom is Magical. We laid down together and I read her that book and the other five she brought me. She cuddled up on me and I put on her favorite movie, Boss Baby, and just were together.

The day has still been hard. I’m overly tired, have no appetite, and am super emotional. My intense grief takes the same form. Sometimes it feels like I could drown in it.

Before I had Mila, I cringed when other people said their other kids were the ones that helped get them through. Now I get it though. Today she’s reminded me to eat. Not because she was hungry, but she’s literally brought me food. She rubbed my arm during my nap, because that’s what she does when we go to sleep at night. I feel like she knew I needed it. All day she’s been completely in tune with me…

After her morning nap, I sat on the floor with her as she played. Everything sort of hit me from the last three years. I just started crying. He’ll be three tomorrow and I was trying to imagine what it’d be like having him here with us. They’d play together and hate and love on each other. It’d be chaos, but in the loveliest for. I just needed to release the pain from his loss and the longing of having him here and just loving the both of them so much. I’m unsure how long I was sitting there crying, but when I looked up she was standing in front of me. She just looked me straight in the eyes and it felt like she knew everything. Then she touched my cheek and just gave me love (hugs). She sort of just leaned on me for awhile, went and got another book, then sat in my lap to look through her book.

She’s really saved me today and I know Jensen’s close by too.

I know one day I’ll have to explain the significance of today and tomorrow to her. Sometimes I don’t know how it happens or what I’ll exactly say, but it’s inevitable. She loves looking at Jens and I think she knows he’s important in our family already. One day, I hope she becomes understanding and accepting of all people. I hope she’s mindful about different journeys in life. I want her to be proud of hers and know that her big brother is always watching out for her. That’s one gift Jensen has taught me and will get to teach her.

This life is full of ups and downs. It’s simple and complex at the same time. Today I’m sad and mourning my son, just as I’m so thankful I have my daughter here with me. Tomorrow is a new day and it’s our day to celebrate.

Tomorrow he turns three.

Hi Again…

It’s been nine months since I’ve last posted and none crazy ones at that. In one more month, Jensen will be three and Mila will be one. If you told me three years what would have transpired from then to now, I would not have believed you.

I never would have believed that my baby would have died. There is no way I could have imagined planning his funeral or even going to it. That first year… it was the hardest in my life. Each day new struggles presented themselves, but through it all, I made it. I thought the second year would be way easier, but I learned loss and grief doesn’t really give you a break.

Year two brought different emotions and changed grief. Pregnancy after loss didn’t make things easier either. Jensen and Mila’s due dates were so close. I was afraid she was going to die 99% of the time. Weirdly, being pregnant again made me feel closer to Jensen. Maybe it’s because that’s the only time I got to spend with him. I wrote a lot to Jensen in that span of time, so that probably has a lot to do with it too.

Then this year. We’re headed straight to his third birthday. Three whole years with your child takes a toll. I think a lot of people believe once you have your rainbow that things get easier. For me, it didn’t. I saw all the things firsthand that I missed with him. There were a lot of times I overcompensated with her because I thought I needed to prove that I would’ve been great for the both of them. I tried not to change my life too much when she was first here by writing and keeping up with everything. When I realized I couldn’t, I felt like I had let Jensen down. Mila… wasn’t the easiest baby. There were lots of times I could barely take care of myself. She hated being put down. Mothering her was so challenging, on top of feeling like I was neglecting the way I had learned to mother Jensen. Slowly I learned I could do both, just not in all the ways I thought I had to do before.

I want to get back into writing and creating for my Etsy shop. Miss Mila has been better in playing by herself and napping. It’s cleared space for me to do some serious heart work. I’m unsure with what I need to continue writing about here. Some days I’d love to write about Mila adventures. Most moments are wild here and I feel like we always have fun stories to share. Then I feel like this is my Jensen space, but this is apart of his story too. He’s always with us and talked about. So maybe in the next few weeks, I’ll rework this site and make it inclusive to all aspects. We will soon see.

Now that I’ve taken a paragraph to ramble, I guess what I really want to say is we’re still here. We’re figuring out this life after loss and parenting too. For me, losing Jensen hasn’t gotten easier. There are days where it feels like it just happened and others I’m so busy with everything that it feels lighter. The waves of grief have gotten longer, but they crash hard. No matter if you’re in the raw part of your grief or years out, there are always ups and downs. Through it all, we’re never alone.

Thanks everyone for sticking around and reading this way past due update. I promise it won’t be another nine months.

Blossom.

Dear Mila,

It’s been a few days since I’ve been able to write. I wanted to post and participate every day of May We All Heal, but life gets a little crazy at times.

In the days I haven’t shared, you’ve grown and changed everyday. It seems impossible that a person can get so much bigger in just a few short days. You truly are blossoming I’m more ways than I imagined and I know this will happen for the rest of your life.

After you were born, I realized all the things I had missed with your brother. Things that I didn’t really know happened with parenting a newborn or being a mom to a living child. There are so many moments and experiences I crave even more with him now that I know I’ll just have to imagine. Sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow, but I’m thankful I get to have them with you.

Do you want to know the one thing I always thought he’d do for me? Pick me flowers. I imagined he’d go pick flowers from the landscaping and the dandelions in the yard. He would bring them in to the house for me and we’d have to put them in water so they would keep. Maybe that’s why I always have fresh flowers in the house. They make me smile and think of him and the imaginary little cup of dandelions we’d have all summer long.

That’s one of the ways Jensen continues to blossom.

His love continues to grow and that’s what keeps his memory alive. He’s in every dandelion I see and every bouquet of flowers I bring home. The only difference is he continues to blossom and we’ll never let him wilt away. He’ll always be your big brother and my son.

You two will blossom in different ways, but each as beautiful as the other.

I love you.

Mama

Need.

Dear Mila,

My needs have changed a lot since you’ve been born. Instead of needing so much for myself, I make sure you’re constantly and perfectly content. This is what moms do.

I love being your mom. It makes me so happy to see you grow, knowing that I’m able to get you all that you need. When I see you progress developmentally with smiles and coos, I light up. All this play and talking you need is really working. Everything that happens during our days together is to help you become the best human.

This wasn’t the motherhood I once knew before.

After Jensen was born, all this maternal instinct to put his needs in front of mine sort of had no where to go. I learned that I had to get them out quickly though. Instead of feeding him, I decorated the house with his name and face. I wrote about him rather then giving him a bath. Then there came a point where I had to focus on what I needed. This was… hard to do. I changed my self care routine and took out some toxic in my life. The one thing I needed stable in my life after loss, was me.

Now that you’re here, I am both yours and Jensen’s mom. With that comes its own sets of needs. I promise I’ll do whatever I can to provide for your needs. Whatever will make you happy, I promise I’ll try to do for you. With Jensen, I need to hear his name. I need to remember I’m doing my best being his mom. I need the world to know about this little boy I love so very much.

I love you, Mila, and I never knew how much I needed you.

Mama

Triggers.

Dear Mila,

Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on but you keep going anyways.

I took you to Jensen’s tree for the first time yesterday. There we dandelions everywhere and all I wanted to do was make a wish that he could be there with us.

We didn’t stay there long. I felt the heaviness of our reality and how his tree would be the only way I could see you two grow together. All I could think of is how unfair it was that you’ll never have your big brother physically here and how I can’t mother him the way I do you. So, I had to walk away and I don’t know when I’ll have the strength to go back.

This, for me, is a trigger.

A trigger is something that provokes a strong emotion. Mostly, it puts my grief in hyperdrive and they can just hit out of no where. I didn’t expect to feel the way I did going to his tree with you. Sometimes I can feel them coming on, like leaving the hospital with you or certain firsts. They don’t necessarily have to be bad or paralyzing. I just see it as an emotion or something that needs to be felt.

Lately, I’ll admit, I’ve been triggered a lot. It’s a mix of hormones, Mother’s Day, and knowing what I missed out on. I’m doing my best to keep my head up.

The one thing I hope for as you grow is that these triggers don’t impact you. You bring so much happiness in my life and I soak up every single second with you. If you see me sad, know it’s not because of something you did. Triggers can bring me down, but never you. Never.

Live your life to your fullest. Take every opportunity that comes your way and run with it.

I’ll always be cheering you on.

I love you.

Mama

Forgiveness.

Dear Mila,

“In order to heal we must first forgive… and sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves.”

-Mila Bron

Forgiveness is important all throughout life.

Everyone you meet will make a mistake sometime while you know them. I’ve made mistakes and you’ll make them too. It’s inevitable. People are flawed, but most of us cut each other some slack and know this. We forgive big and little mistakes and it’s crucial we do this.

Sometimes in life bad things happen and we have no one to forgive. Maybe you’ll take that one thing and put it on yourself. This is what I did after Jensen was born. I was so angry that I didn’t know something bad was going to happen or that I didn’t feel something different. All I could do was be mad at myself, on top of grieving. It wasn’t a good mix and I didn’t know how to move through that patch. Sometimes, I still blame myself; even when I know I did all I could do. In this time, I learned the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

Just in the last month, I’ve truly forgave myself. I thought my body failed me with Jensen or maybe that I wasn’t good enough to have him. Everything negative I could think about myself concerning his death, I thought. Now that you’re here, I realized I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t do anything extra different during each pregnancy, besides worry and stews way more with you. With you and him, I carried, loved, and dreamed of so many things we would do. There’s nothing I could have done to change both outcomes. It’s just how it is and I know that now. In some crazy way, you and your brother both have taught me this in different ways.

I’ve forgiven myself and one day when you have to do the same, I hope you know there isn’t anything you could do that would ever prevent me in forgiving you.

Always be you.

I love you.

Mama

Sunrise – MWAH 2018

Dear Mila,

You and I are usually up at this time, but on this morning, we have a mission to complete. That mission is to actually take time and watch the sunrise.

This morning isn’t just another one, its the start of May and a project I’ve done for two years now. It’s the first event that honors your brother that you’ll experience outside the womb. May We All Heal 2018 is about sharing a person’s grief and for bereaved mothers all around the world to talk about their babies gone too soon. It lets us all know we’re not alone in this journey and there’s so many people rooting us on. For me though, I’m going to show you a little more of your brother and the love that is so strong, death couldn’t even break it.

Yes, I know you hear about Jensen every day and see his picture all around the house… but this month’s project will let you know him a little more. It’ll let us all interact with each other and create memories in our own special way. Everyday I’ll write you a letter and we’ll document each prompt with a picture. It’s my hopes that you’ll be able to look back on this when you’re a little older to see how much you both mean to me.

Here’s to May, Mila, and our first sunrise we watched together. Always know your big brother shines his light down on your and tells the birds to sing you sweet songs.

May we remember, honor, and continuously love our boy in heaven.

I love you,

Mama