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,



Learning to Give Into My Grief. 

I find moments full of him.

In the darkest of days, your colors shine through. I remember the strength of your kicks while music plays. You’re the first and last thought in my mind. With each step I take, I think of whom I keep going on for. 

Today someone noticed your footprint. They didn’t know about you, but I was so proud to tell them it was my son’s. I showed you off with pride and felt my heart swell. Your whole story wasn’t told, but you impacted someone’s life today. These are the moments full of you that I wish I had all the time. 

I’ve purposely been wearing blue and orange and my Jensen jewelry a lot lately. It’s been sort of a crazy two/three weeks. Sometimes, it feels like I haven’t even taken a breath. All I have been doing is studying, assignments, subbing, and working. It’s so draining. My grief is on overdrive and I know it’s because I haven’t been spending time with my heart lately. In those busy moments though, I find him. 

Today, I kept thinking how I haven’t blogged in awhile. Some part of me is trying to gear up for next month, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  The other part is so tired from being busy, my mind just has no more words. I’ve been looking forward to this September. The two books I contributed come out this month, one day where you can find, here. I’m excited to be able to share Jensen and I’s story and to help other loss parents out. It’s huge. I wish my body and mind could let me be more excited. 

My energy is just so spent. 

Life after loss is give and take. Tonight, this Tuesday, Jensen’s day, I’m giving in and letting myself feel. We all need days like today and moments full of our little loves. 

MISS Foundation Kindness Project – 2017

I’ve had a very productive Random Acts of Kindness Day. 

Last year was the first time I participated in Project Kindness, which was created by the MISS Foundation in 1996. It was a really happy day for me, which was crazy because I was only three months out from Jensen’s birth. That was a time where it was hard for me to find the light, but taking part of this day last year made me smile and laugh out loud. 

This year, the day sort of snuck up on me. Instead of being way prepared like I was last year, I saw the post last night and it registered that it was today. So, I woke up, got ready, and left. 

My first stop was to Starbucks. The community hasn’t always had one of these, but I thought I would make my way there. There’s a big drive through and it’d be perfect to start a chain through of kindness through that. After I ordered my drink, I told the girl at the window (who was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met) that I wanted to pay for the person behind me and if she could please give them Jensen’s card. 

Turns out, the lady behind me got the same exact drink as I did. 

I had other errands to run today and at one of them, I donated to their foundation. Even though I couldn’t officially donate in Jensen’s name, I did it for him. 

After that, I went to go buy some flowers. 

This is my favorite act of kindness. I’ve always loved getting flowers and I imagined Jensen picking them for me. It’s a very special act that I can do and it’s really easy to just leave on someone’s window. I’d like to think it’s a happy surprise for them. 

At the store I buy them from, I saw this bright orange wrapping and knew those were the ones I was going to buy. They reminded me so much of Jensen. Then I found a few cars and left then on their windshield. It’s always funny to look back at me scurrying from my car to theirs. I probably look like an idiot, but it makes me laugh when I sit back inside. It’s such a rush. 

Last, but not least, I took some flowers for my mom. She’s done so much for me all of my life and through my losses. I’ll never be able o thank her enough. Hopefully having some fresh flowers in her house will give her some happiness. I put them in one of her vases, left a note signed from Jensen and I, and set them on her island. 

These acts of kindness might not seem elaborate, but they don’t have to. In doing these, I hope it gives that person a reason to smile. For me, it’s a way I can raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss and to share Jensen’s love. 

If you’ve found my page from one of the acts I did today, I’d love to hear from you! Thank you for looking more into my little gift to you. 

‘Your Loss Makes Me Uncomfortable’ and Five More Things I’ve Heard.

Last year I wrote this post about hurtful things I had been told only four months into losing Jensen. It’s been one of my most read post and I think by sharing things that are painful to hear will help others know what they’re saying is hurtful.

Now fifteen months into my loss journey, on top of my miscarriage, there are comments said to me that really sting. Sometimes hearing them is just the tipping point of a complete grief attack. It’s horrible. Deep down I believe a lot of these are just a person trying to help, but it’s a little misguided. Other times it’s just complete cruelty from a person. I’m not sure if that stems from not having any empathy/sympathy for a person or they just don’t care.

With all that being said, here’s part two of my original post. As with any of my posts that could come off distasteful, this isn’t me trying to put anyone down. If you have said any of these things, I’m not calling you out. This is purely just to help break the stigma of child loss and open the conversation of how to treat the bereaved. Of course, every person is different and what bothers me may not effect the next.

Your loss makes me uncomfortable.

Oh, I’m sorry that my child who died makes you uncomfortable, I guess I’ll act like it never happened so you’re okay. HA.

Guess what death and grief is uncomfortable and I live with that every second of the day. Losing a child is hard, sad, and really indescribable. The moments I get to talk about Jensen and the love he brought into my life are the ones I treasure the most. If I’m sharing him with you, that means a lot. Yet, when I hear how uncomfortable you are about my stories and his pictures… it makes me never want to share him.

Of course I keep sharing him because that’s what makes me happy. Babies who have gone so soon shouldn’t be hid away, they should be celebrated.

At least it was an early loss, it doesn’t hurt as bad.

This has made way in the mix of comments since losing Jensen’s little sibling. I was ten weeks, which was a lot less time with that little baby then Jensen. Our time together wasn’t ‘long,’ but it was that child’s whole life. The moment I saw that pregnancy test flash positive, I was over the moon with happiness.

Then he or she died and I tumbled down.

Pregnancy and infant loss, heck any loss, hurts. It doesn’t matter how long with a person you had, they still mattered and made a difference. Honestly, people told me this with Jensen too. That it was a good thing I wasn’t attached to him because he hadn’t taken a breath outside my womb. My question with this comment is how long is long enough time with your child that losing them starts to hurt?

That’s in the past. You need to live in the present.

My eyes roll so far in the back of my head every time I hear this.

Yes, believe me, I know how many weeks and days it’s been since Jensen and his sibling died. Just like I know that I’m in this day right now. This comment usually is said when I’m having a bad day because I don’t have enough strength to look my ‘okayest’ on the outside.

It doesn’t matter how long it has been, my life should be different. My present should not be how it is now. Jensen should be walking around all over the place and I still should be growing his baby sibling inside my belly. When you look at it like that, how could you not understand why the present is so hard? Their death is deafening. Loss parents try their best to keep moving forward, never leaving their children and their memories behind, and continue healing in the best way they know how. We are living in the present we never thought was possible, don’t judge us while we’re trying to figure it out.

You can always have more.

This was on the last list too, but I think it’s important to mention it again.

Maybe you’re right and maybe you’re wrong. I don’t know infertility rates off the top of my head, but I do know there are tons of men and women who are battling to get pregnant. There’s also this little thing called secondary infertility. Just because someone was able to get pregnant before does not always guarantee a future pregnancy.

Let’s take this in another direction, that I’m all too familiar with. What happens if you do get pregnant and that child dies too? Yeah, that’s real talk. The truth a pregnancy doesn’t always result in a living child. Multiple loss happens to so many parents.

My advice on this one, mind your own business. You never know what’s happening behind the scenes.

I couldn’t go on if my child died.

Each time I’ve heard this I’ve wanted to scream.

One, I’m not strong or cold-hearted to have ‘kept going on’ after Jensen’s death. There’s really only two options of what I could do. First, try to make sense and keep moving forward in life after loss. Second, not go on. That was nicely put. When you say you couldn’t go on, you’re implying you would die if you children did. So frankly the other option I would have is to just die and then it would be pity her she couldn’t handle life.

Two, when you say this, it feels like you’re downplaying the love I have for my child and the pain I feel. The truth is you can never predict how you’re going to react after you child dies, but you have the two options I stated above: to keep going on or taking your own life.

So you have NO children.

This is a newly inspired comment to add to my list of horrible things I’ve heard. If you haven’t heard the whole episode of what happened during my post-op appointment, you can read it, here.

I’m going to put this in a perspective anyone could understand. If your mother dies, are you still her child? Is she still your mother? Does death take away the relationship you had with her? If you answered, yes, yes, no. Then you should understand why hearing this would make you livid. Now, let me flip the switch. If you died, right now as you’re reading this, would your mom still be your mother? Or would your death just take that away from her?

She would still be your mom, just like I’ll always be Jensen’s and this little baby’s. Death does not take that time away. It steals your future, of course, but not the unique relationship with that person. SO, how could a person look at a mother who has went survived pregnancy and infant loss and tell her she has no children. It’s cruel and completely untrue.

Again, this post is not written to throw anyone under a bus. It’s meant to help educate to make others aware that child loss is a real tragedy and words really can hurt.

This isn’t how it was supposed to be. 

It was a coincidence that I pulled a blue and orange popsicle out of the freezer this afternoon.  They’ve always been my favorite summertime snack, especially on hot days like these. My parent’s fridge is usually stocked with them and today was no different. With my no look grab, my heart skipped a beat. 

A little hello from Jensen to his mama. 

My grief has been complex these past few weeks.  Year two has… well it has been complete crap. I wake up every morning wondering when the nightmare is going to be over. It hits me, daily. He was here then he died and I can’t do anything to get him back. Those facts are excruciating to face, yet it is my constant reality.   Somehow I’m able to carry one with my day to day life though. Not without thinking of him, that has never wavered. 

It’s weird to say, but as your grief progresses you learn to live with being eternally sad on the inside. You find a rhythm of this post loss life. Yes, it hits you every morning that your child is gone, but, for me, I have found ways to incorporate him in the day to day. Just like I would if he was physically here. 

So why did it shock me to see the orange and blue pipsicles today? 

Anytime I get a sign from Jensen I stop and appreciate it. I say hello back and tell him I love him, always stay close. Then there’s some kind of rip from the present reality. I look around and see how different today would be if he was here. The picture up top… that’s not how it should be. 

I can easily picture my little boy, all lathered in sunblock in his little swim outfit looking up at me. Like, ‘mom, it’s hot and the pool is cool.’ Instead of me floating here writing this to you all, I’d be watching him float in whatever his raft would look like or he’d be napping inside. So many differences then getting my popsicle sign. 

This isn’t how it was supposed to be. It never will. As a loss parent, I’ll always see where Jensen would playing or walking with me. These signs, they’ll always let me know he’s close and I’m thankful for that, but these reality…. it will never be how it should. 

It’s not okay that it’s that way, but I’m doing my best.

Written in Chalk and My Heart. 

June’s Name Project went so perfectly. 

With over TWO-HUNDRED names, my parent’s sidewalk was completely full. There were countless people that stopped to read the names and ask about the baby names. Once they knew, they really took the time to read each name and appreciate them. A lot of them were shocked there were so many and knew the amount of names I had written down didn’t even touch the amount of babies lost. It was an honor to be able to share their names and spread awareness about pregnancy and infant loss. 

Adorned with the hashtag ‘stillbornstillloved,’ each baby name was written with love and intent. Honestly, I loved being able to do this. I felt close with Jensen and his friends. Being able to do this for them is just one small way they’re being seen and heard. I really believe people appreciated the awareness and maybe it’ll help them support someone they know who is grieving. 

I just wanted to thank everyone who submitted their child(ren)’s name. They will never, ever be forgotten. We’re giving them a voice and just by sharing their name, others know it’s okay to talk about them with us. 

Now, here’s some pictures of the names and sidewalk. I’ll be sending out individual name pictures tonight. They’re all flipped and ready to be sent to you. 

I hope you enjoy these pictures and I’ll keep you all updated on the next name project when it comes. 

Mother Hearts Project.

Next Sunday is Bereaved Mother’s Day… already.

April has completely flown by. It’s been one of the hardest months, but also filled with so much love and support. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any hard moments. It was full of them. Love always conquers though.

Back to Bereaved Mother’s Day. Here’s the quick history of the day. In 2010, CarlyMarie created a day for bereaved mothers to celebrate this specific motherhood. It’s created for moms who are mothering children in heaven and to connect to others. If you want to read more about it, click here. Anyways, each year there is a project moms can do and share on social media. Last year was show your mother heart, where you drew a heart on your palm and shared it. I was too much in a grief fog to participate, but I remember seeing all these beautiful hearts fluttered around Facebook and Instagram. A couple of weeks ago, she shared this years Mother Heart Project: We Carry Them In Our Hearts.

This is a play on ee cummings’ poem, ‘i carry your heart.’ Carly called out to mothers to take pictures or a short video of them placing their hand on their hearts. This picture could be taken anywhere, just a way to show where you carry your children. She’s choosing certain photographs and making a video that will be posted next Sunday.

Right after I read it, I knew I could join in on this. I was going to the beach and was going to take this amazing picture, but nothing felt right. This past week, I was dressed up and tried to take cute pictures while subbing and just around town. Still didn’t feel right. On Thursday night, with only hours to spare to turn in a submission, I was crying in Jensen’s room. I wouldn’t be able to do this.

Of course I called my mom to come over. I told her I was a failure. That I was letting Jensen down because I wasn’t able to take a picture and maybe it get put in the video. I told her I looked gross and I had been crying. Nothing was going the way I planned for this. Sound familiar?

Well, we took pictures all over the house. Deleted all of them. We were back right where we started, me feeling defeated on the futon in Jensen’s room. The very room I was supposed to feel exhausted, but happy to be mothering my sweet little boy. Before I knew it, we were capturing this moment.

Hands over my heart, look up, and I heard the iPhone make that picture sound. She smiled and said, this is the one and turned it towards me.

I hate this picture of me.

My eyes look so tired and you can tell I’ve been crying because my makeups a little smudged underneath. The shine from my face distracts me because I knew how many times I put my hands to me face. I see me being so exhausted and grieving and worrying about if I’m making Jensen proud or not.

Then I see the best part of the picture, his little hand over mine. Our hands holding both of our hearts so tightly. That’s what it’s all about.

I also the love in my eyes. I see Jensen’s cheeks and general face shape. His hands so very closely shaped like his mama. I see the bridge of his nose. There’s so much of me in him, besides that blond hair. This photograph is a grieving mom doing her best to mother her son who’s physically not here. It captures this crazy life that I hate and love, but it’s mine. I wouldn’t trade it for any one else’s.

Hopefully we’ll get to see my tired eyes on the video project Carly makes and if not, I’m proud I still did it for Jensen.

A little note for May.

I plan on writing or at least posting every single day. There will be some days I’ll be posting multiple times, especially in the first two weeks. I’ll be doing the May We All Heal Project, Still Mother’s The Mothering Project, and I’m apart of a group that will have writing prompts everyday for the first two weeks. A lot of things, but I think it’s much-needed where I am right now in my grief and healing journey.

As always, if you have any questions about any of the projects I’ve mentioned, please ask. On Jensen’s Facebook Page, I am doing a Mother’s Day name wreath. Feel free to request one and I will get it to you as quick as I can. Last little reminder, on my Etsy shop, Grey Woods Design, I am having a Mother’s Day sale. You get 15% off when you use the code: MothersDay. Hoping you all follow along this coming month and that they are gentle for of us.

Happy Birthday, (Grand)Dad! 

There are people who are meant for certain roles in their lives. Some are meant to be mothers and fathers. Some are meant to be teachers or firefighters. There’s an infinite number of roles a person can be. 

I was a lucky little girl. My dad did everything he possibly could to make our family’s life the best it could. He would work to get us whatever we wanted. There have been many weekends he took us on surprise trips, just to make memories. He let us bury him in the sand and ran around in his Superman towel to transform into the hero we all knew him to be. My dad made us smile whenever he could and that’s the best gift he could give a little girl. 

Although it seemed like he was destined to be a Dad, I would beg to differ. To me, he was destined to be the greatest grandpa ever. Which I know I shouldn’t say because my grandpa was pretty great. BUT I know deep down that the best grandpa title goes to my dad. 

I can’t tell you how excited he was for Jensen. How much he helped me during my pregnancy. He helped with his nursery and even put together the car seat and stroller. Thankfully because I would never have gotten it by myself. He joked how I should be painting Jensen’s room black and yellow instead of orange and blue. When I would come home from an ultrasound, he would look at every picture. Most times I’m not sure if he knew exactly what he was looking at, but he did anyways. 

When Jensen was born, he held him. Not once, not twice, but three times. He told me how perfect he was and that he looked like me. The loss of his first grandchild, ever, hit hard. On all of us, but I know for him for sure. He read all the pamphlets and let me know this was one thing he wouldn’t be able to fix. But no matter what, he’d be there for me.

And he was. 

I remember when we got Jensen bear in and he took a selfie with him. He held him and I knew he remembered that weight from the months before. My dad was there with me when we walked the remembrance walks. A proud grandpa remembering his grandson. He said his name with me at Jensen’s brick ceremony and laid the flower down at the Angel of Hope’s feet. During Christmas time, he lit candles in honor of Jensen, most of the time he was helping mom and I keep ours lit. On his grandson’s birthday, he did everything he could to keep it running. He brought over chairs and got the fire going. When we sent the balloons to heaven, Dad was right there making sure Jensen got them. 

This whole year my dad has honored his grandson in every way he could, so beautiful. 

Today we honor my dad on his birthday. I wish it was so different and that Jensen was with us too. In some ways I know he is, wishing the best grandpa the happiest of birthdays. 

So, Happy Birthday Dad! This day is all about you and how great of a person you are. To me you’re the best dad, but I know your best role is Jensen’s grandpa. 

We love you so much. 

A Bag of Dreams.

Since the end of last April, there has been an unopened bag addressed to me. In that moment my mom threw it to me, I knew I wouldn’t be able to rip it open and pull out its contents. That bag held my last happy buy. It was supposed to be opened right around the time Jensen was due. They were the last few clothes I thought he needed before he arrived. Every stitch filled with hope and excitement for the months to follow.

But, it was packed away so I wouldn’t be smacked in the face by the innocence I once had. It would throw me back to the day I purchased them, two days before Jensen was born. I was so excited on that day, I would have never thought everything would change in the way it did the very next day.

For almost ten months it sat on the shelf. Each time I saw it, I got closer to the bag. My mind knew what was in there, but my curiosity wanted to touch what I had last got him. It also hurt me to see it just sitting there, waiting in my parent’s basement. They didn’t deserve to be just ignored there when they were intended to be worn. So, I brought them home and to the closet I knew they would be housed.

Admittedly, I threw the bag in the closet and broke down. I was angry. My son would never wear these clothes and by this time, he would have outgrown them. I didn’t want to see them. Why go even through them and be taunted by their existence and Jensen’s absence?

The bag just sat there again.

I’ve never had the urge to go through his things, until today. When I got home, I walked into his room and just sat there. There was nothing out of the usual about today to make me feel this way. Screams were building in the back of my throat. Until something else became louder. I looked at the closet door and could almost hear the bag sitting there, calling out to me. Like a crazy woman, I answered the calls and ripped the bag right open. And the dreams of last April came tumbling out.

After I had went through each item (not all are pictured here), it hit me… these dreams should have been made a reality by now. Each should have been worn and dirty. They should be packed in a big ‘used Jensen clothes’ tote. I wanted them to smell like him and there to be a stain that housed a memory. The soles of the shoes need to be rough and dirty, not smooth and spotless. He should be the one laying on his rug looking up at me while we play. It shouldn’t be the image I have here. This pile of clothes, although beautiful, completely broke me.

I sat there with them, for longer than I care to admit.

Tears ran down my face as I folded them back and put them in their bag, forever unworn by the person that was intended to wear them. Not knowing what else to do with them, I put them back in the closet where they’ll continue sitting until I find what’s best for them. I shut the door, closing back up my hopes, dreams, and innocence. As I turned around I, once again, faced my reality. I faced his nursery, that doesn’t look like his nursery. Grief and exhaustion overwhelmed me as I walked into my living room. I wish I had the energy to keep being strong.

This reality sucks. 

This Tuesday feels different. It’s the first one I woke up and didn’t think about how many weeks it’s been since Jensen’s been born; I thought how close his birthday is getting.

Six. More. Weeks.

I’ll have a one year old, who will forever be thirty-eight weeks and two days, in six weeks. Time is so unbelievably cruel in this way.

Happy forty-six weeks in heaven, Baby J. Gosh, I am so lucky that you’re my son. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would always pick you. I’ll always wish and wish and wish some more to have you back with me. For now, I’ll keep fighting and saying your name. I miss you. I love you.

The Places We’ll Go.

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

Dr. Seuss 
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I don’t know what I want to say today. My mind is fuzzy and, quite honestly, I’m exhausted. Some Tuesdays make me feel like this. The past weekend, I haven’t felt like I have succeeded. My depression was telling me that I was worthless and no one could ever help me. That I was alone and feeling all of these emotions because I deserve it. I thought of Jensen and could only think how poorly he would be thinking of me. I wouldn’t be the role model I had always wanted to be for him. And there were moments this weekend that remind me of those first few days after getting back from the hospital. Ones where I didn’t feel good enough to keep fighting… to keep living.

It’s scary to feel like ‘A Great Balancing Act’ isn’t tipping in the right direction. Maybe I’ll be the unlucky percentage once again.

Then there are moments and decisions that bring the scale back with a great force. Ones that make you smile and feel so strong that you’ll actually move the biggest mountains. They’re the ones I feel I could hear Jensen cheering for me. I don’t have to watch my step carefully, I can blindly jump in these times and take the good feelings in. It’s when I actually feel like I’m doing my best for him and that these bright moments will always outshine the dark ones. Just like love overpowers grief.

Yesterday I had this moment. But instead of blindly jumping, I was intently focused on one little boy’s foot.


Jensen Footprint Tattoo.png

At forty-two weeks, Jensen would most definitely be experimenting with standing and trying his very best to stumble walk. I would encourage him to keep standing and have him practice walking with me by putting him on my feet. We would take big steps together. He would learn to walk and I would beam with pride. Before, when I looked down, I saw my naked feet and the empty floor. I don’t have him looking up at more or I can’t help him learn to walk. It was empty just like everything else feels. Now, and forever, he’ll be walking with me through life.

I will always take the steps that he was never able to.

Just as he would be getting to a point where he would start learning how to walk, I’m at a point in this grief journey that I’m starting to get better with my stumbling. I never expected it to be a straight and narrow journey. In fact, I thought it would just go downhill from the second he was born. How would there ever be a way I could smile when my child died? I’m not saying I’m full of smiles all the time. Heck, I was just at a spot on Friday where I thought my life didn’t matter. But I will tell you, if there is anything that gives me strength it’s Jensen and knowing that I’ll forever be his mom.

Now, with this new tattoo (which is my third for Jensen), I feel that with each of my decisions that the scale judges, I can literally see him making them with me. I can see those steps. He’ll be on the upward hills and the downward spirals. Through each, he’ll be there with every step, cheering me on. Yesterday and today, I find myself just staring at my feet and marveling his footprint. Of course it makes me laugh because he had my feet. I can see my little mini-me mimicking my every move. But it’s heartwarming to know this is just another way I can honor him. It’s another way I can bring just a little more of him into this world and leave his footprint everywhere I go.

Cue all the feet pictures in the future.

Happy forty-second week in heaven, Baby J. You are beyond loved and missed every second of the day. All I wish I could do is pluck you from heaven and hold you in my arms. I hope with the big decisions I’ve made today that you are cheering me on. My soul feels you close to me and now I can see it with each step I take. And oh, the places we’ll go. I miss you. I love you.