Support Circles.

Before I begin on today’s prompt, Support Circles, I’d like to take a second and just wish Jensen a very happy twenty-sixth week in heaven. This week brings on the big six month mark, but I like to acknowledge the weekday since it’s meant so much to me. I’m having an extremely rough time with the six month milestone, so I’m using today to ease into tomorrow. As I light my candle for Jensen tonight and tomorrow, I will light another for all our angels. I hope each of them are able to see the light and feel love’s warmth.

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When I think about support, my heart tears in two. The one side is full of love from so many people who hold me up, remember Jensen, and make feel like I’m not crazy. Then the other is cold and empty from the support I thought I would have on this journey. This is what makes talking about support so hard. I wish I was able to stitch both halves together and just fill my whole heart with the support I have, but it’s hard not to be bitter and think of the other side. Here’s another BUT, I’m not focusing on the bad today because there is so many people that have shown me love that I cannot thank enough.

I’ve written and rewrote this multiple times. No words will ever encapsulate my gratitude to those who have supported me and said Jensen’s name. I am going to try my very best!

To you who was there when we heard the news.
To you who rushed from Jensen’s room to get to the hospital.
To you who was there as soon as you could and stayed the whole night.
To you who heard the silence instead of the loud cries.
To you who went to his funeral.
To you who first reached out and welcomed me into this community.
To you who shared your and your angel’s story.
To you who sent me your words to let me know I wasn’t alone in my thinking.
To you who met me for lunch, even though I was so nervous to go.
To you who encouraged me to write.
To you who saw them first.
To you who showed me what was best to say to a mother who has been grieving silently for years.
To you who wrote his name so beautifully.
To you who made me feel so proud of him.
To you who let me find my voice.
To you who did not judge.
To you who saw Jensen’s pictures and exclaimed how beautiful he is.
To you who know the part of my story that I regret the most.
To you who welcomed me in many groups.
To you who made me smile.
To you who will answer any text at any time.
To you who gave me a chance.
To you who reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
To you who listened to Jensen’s story.
To you who have followed along our journey.
To you who have heard my voice.
To you who lets me cry.
To you who dries my eyes.
To you who has a huge part of their heart in heaven.
To you who walks with me in grief.
To you who celebrates his life.
To you who is reading now.
To you who says Jensen’s name.

I say thank you, to you who continues to support Jensen, me, and our story.

There’s one more person that I would like to take a second to thank.

Also, wanted to say thank you so much to the Share Your Mother Heart group. You all have been a HUGE support to me throughout all of this. Each of you have encouraged me to keep writing, even on my darkest days.


Support Links and Pages I Follow Closely:

Still Mothers

Mother Your Heart

Invisible Mothers

God’s Tiny Angels

Precious Parents

Sweet Pea Angel Gowns

Lettered Hope

Addison’s Army

 

 

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laurelbox.

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I love sharing the many different ways I get to honor and remember Jensen with, as well as what helps me through my grief. Today I got my birthday present, from myself, from laurelbox. I’ve been eyeing up a bunch of their items from their page and finally broke down and ordered my favorite two. I was so blown away by the presentation when I opened the box and all the little details of everything.

laurelbox was created by two cousins, Denise and Johanna, after seeing friends go through the aftereffects of loss. They wanted to create comfort in a box for others to purchase for their friends to help ease grief. You can find more about them, here. Their website allows the purchaser to pick from prepared boxes or customized boxes and also to just pick out certain items to purchase, which is what I did. They have items ranging from tea towels to necklaces to tea collections. Each are so adorable.

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Forget-Me-Not

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One of my favorite necklaces I’ve ever purchased. Inside is a pressed forget-me-not flower with Jensen’s handwritten name. It’s the perfect length and I love the antiqued brass finish. The snap is a strong magnet and after a day of moving and jumping around, it stayed perfectly. Thank you Jessica and Melissa!

My new, beautiful necklace on this (almost) Wordless Wednesday.

Created and purchased from BurdenBearingBaskets.

Just Listen & Six Other Ways to Help a Friend After Loss.

As I head into the fourth month of love and loss, I’ve learned a lot about how other’s see and understand grief. In this time, I can honestly say, our society doesn’t prepare us to help others after any type loss. Before Jensen was born, I had no idea how to help someone going through any type of loss. Sometimes, even now, I still don’t know what do say or how to help someone.

Grief is messy, unpredictable, and causes colossal pain. No two people experience grief the same exact way, which makes it even harder for friends and family. I recently read an article that said grief, especially after losing a child, lasts a lifetime. Yes, there’s good days and people learn how to live and manage the sadness, but it is always there. A child is gone. It isn’t something you can just get over, ever.

This list consists of things would have or liked having in the past fifteen weeks. I’m sure the further I journey through the grief the less I’ll need some of these, but I know loss happens everyday. I hope this list can potentially help other mommas navigating this journey.

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Fifteen Weeks & The Painted Name Project.

It feels unreal that another week has came and passed. It’s the fifteenth week since Jensen has been born. One-hundred and five days have passed. On day one-hundred, I felt the biggest pain, triple digits was hard to wrap my mind around. How could it seem like it was yesterday when he was dancing and moving all around? Seriously, I don’t understand how all of this can be possible. But each day I wake up and rediscover my reality.

I feel like I could go on and on and on about all I wanted to do with Jensen or how I feel like my whole entire future was stolen away from me. Today I’m choosing to have a positive day, even though I want to hide in bed. I know he continues to guide me each day and protect me. He dances in the clouds each and every Tuesday, while he celebrates getting bigger in heaven. In my heaven, he grows until I get up there with him. Then we both go back to being twenty-two and him just born. When I reunite with him there, I want him to be screaming as loud as he can be. My heaven does not include silence.

In this world, I don’t want to keep silent either. I will always say Jensen’s name and keep talking about baby and child loss. It’s really unheard of until it happens to you or someone you know. Believe me, there’s a whole community of parents, grandparents, and other families that are effected by losing a child. Stillbirth results in 1 in 160 pregnancies and baby loss ranging from miscarriage to SIDS happens to 1 in 4. I hope to be able to help every single family out there in just a small way and maybe one day I will.

Today, in honor of Jensen’s fifteenth week in heaven, I want to share a beautiful project that my little Jensen helped to inspire.

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A Beautiful Meeting.

Grief is a lifelong journey and each days brings the good and the bad. Today was hard, but full of good. On the eve of Jensen being gone for six weeks, I felt an immense amount of sadness. It’s also a day I’ve been looking forward to for a little over a week. Today I met two beautiful souls.

The week before last, I happened to come across another WordPress blog which brought me to an Etsy shop: BurdenBearingBaskets. I feel in love with the beautiful writing and this wonderful idea to show others that you’re thinking about them while their grieving. I looked at their items and had to show everyone around me. The idea of sending a person that’s grieving a basket to let them know you’re thinking about them just seemed so perfect. Then I saw the owners of the shop were in North Canton. Being me, I had to reach out. Something was telling me I had to tell these owners Jensen and I’s story. This is how I met Jessica and Melissa.

Thankfully, they didn’t think I was too crazy and responded to my message. They heard Jensen and I’s story and offered to meet in person since we were so close. Of course I was thrilled. I was looking forward to exchanging stories about ourselves and our babies, and to tell them again how amazing I think their Etsy shop is. Today is the day we decided on meeting. I’m so thankful for this day.

Our meeting was filled with stories, tears, laughs, and genuinely a good time. We were able to share so many things and didn’t have to explain what it all meant, we just knew. Their stories touched my heart and it takes people with the biggest hearts to help others. They truly are beautiful souls. I’ll always cherish our conversation. I know we met in the worst circumstances, but I’m blessed we did. It’s times like this where I really believe God sends people to us. He sees our journey through grief and shows us support is always near.

They also surprised me with some gifts from their shop. I’d like to share with all of you because they’re so beautiful. Just seeing Jensen’s name wrote out so perfectly makes me smile. He’ll never be forgotten and I’ll always be so thankful for meeting Jessica and Melissa and the wonderful gifts.

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All together.

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The most beautiful handkerchief in the whole entire world.

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I’m seriously so in love with every single item. I have them all out in front of me still and tears just keep falling. I see Jensen’s name wrote and know he’s just smiling down. I feel this sense of peace after meeting and talking to Jessica and Melissa. God gets us through these horrible tragedies and sends us beautiful people and signs from above. His love for us is the reason I’m able to have this deep love for Jensen. My little love was such a beautiful gift, he just had to go back a little sooner than I’d ever have anticipated.

Please, please, please go check out Jessica and Melissa’s Etsy shop BurdenBearingBaskets. The items are made with so much love and care, it shines through when you look at them.

I’d also, again, would like to thank Jessica and Melissa so much for everything. You two have touched my heart and made it lighter. I know this journey of grief is hard, but you girls have brought me so much strength, joy, and light today and every time I see these perfect presents.

1 in 160.

Today is the final day of this journey. It also marks five weeks since Jensen has been gone. Five long weeks since I’ve been without my beautiful boy. In those five weeks, my love has grown so much. It’s a complicated love; a mother’s love without here child physically here. Instead of nurturing him, I’ve been finding ways to nurture my grief. One day at a time, I’ll continue to survive. I’ll continue to tell Jensen and I’s story. I’ll always love him.

Instead of a prompt, we were asked to join to celebrate on the Still Mothers Facebook page. Their website provides a multitude resources for bereaved mothers that do not have living children. They provide support and guide mothers into life after miscarriage, still birth, infant and child loss. It’s just one of the many great sources I have found in the past five weeks.

I wanted to take this final day and share some of the information I have found and websites that have helped me tremendously.

Here is Day Ten…

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Facts:

1 in 4 pregnancies end with a baby dying.

1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth.

1 in 100 babies die from recurrent miscarriages.

1 in 4 babies die after birth.

Jensen and I are the 1 in 160 pregnancies ending in stillbirth.

He was 38 weeks and 1 day. I had an ultrasound 4 days beforehand and everything looked perfectly. Jensen was kicking and moving the 1 day beforehand. He did nothing wrong. I went to every appointment, ate what I was supposed to, took my prenatal everyday, never took any type of medicine during pregnancy, got enough sleep, drank water, didn’t lift anything, and the list goes on and on. We did everything right; it ended wrong.

I’m sure the stats for infant and child loss could go on and on. I’m unaware of those statistics. I don’t mean to scare anyone or upset anyone with those numbers. They are the truth. I didn’t know those numbers while I was pregnant, I don’t even know if that would have changed anything. I never thought this would be my life.

For the past week, you’ve followed along and know mostly where I am. You know my love for Jensen, my feelings, and how thankful I am for the support I’ve gotten. Most people see those numbers I listed above just as numbers, I see them for what they really are. I am the one and I’ve met so many other “ones.” I see them as the beautiful mothers to perfect angels.

I’d also like to share some of the websites and other sources that have helped me. It’s a nice source for bereaved mothers and everyone.

  • Faces of Loss  is a website where women can submit their stories and support others. The stories can range from early miscarriage to infant loss. It’s a way to really connect with others and read their stories in detail. People can comment on each story, anonymously or not, to comfort and let mothers know they’re not alone. I actually submitted Jensen and I’s story and it was recently posted. If you’d like to read it you can here.
  • The Carly Marie Project has been a great resource for me. I’ve read through her website, watched her videos, and saw her amazing art; she is a beautiful soul. She posted a meditation video on her Facebook that I’ve watched over and over. Plus, she wrote Jensen’s name in the sand on Mother’s Day that brought me into tears.
  • Molly Bears is an organization that allows bereaved parents to fill their empty arms. They take the weight of a baby and make a teddy bear that weight. It allows a parent to remember what their child’s weight felt like. Their story is beautiful and they have helped so many families.
  • BurdenBearingBaskets although I did not receive a basket, I love the idea of helping another bereaved family through this Etsy shop. Jessica and Melissa provide a personalized basket to help a parent navigate their grief. The contents in the basket are beautiful and the shop owners are wonderful to talk with. I’d definitely recommend checking their shop.
  • Still Standing Magazine the sister site to Still Mothers. They also provide so many resources and support outlets. On Mother’s Day, they posted all throughout the day to reach out to bereaved mothers. It was nice just to watch videos, listen, and reach out when I was in the low of the day.
  • I also would recommend support groups online and in person. I have been trying to be as active as I can be in the online groups. There are local ones and national ones that will welcome you. This month I am going to my first group support in person. I’ll have to write afterwards, but they have been so supportive when I asked information about their groups through email. If you’re in Ohio, I’d love to share some of the local groups and in person groups with you.

As I look back on the ten days, I’m so thankful I found this program. I have met so many beautiful women and have been able to express my grief without any judgement. I’m so happy Jensen and I’s story has made an impact and helped other people. It means so much that his name is remembered and said by so many. He is the reason why I go on as strongly as I do. He is the reason why I’m a mother.

Although I might not be posting every single day in the near future, I plan on writing frequently. I created this blog to share Jensen and I’s story and I feel that I have so much more to share. It humbles me to see all of you read our story and be so supportive.