The Grief Shift.

To begin, I’d like to say I am not feeling my best today. I woke up with a sore throat and a fever and nothing has touched it going down. Sleep has been my friend. I even questioned if I should be writing this evening, but this prompt has motivated me to.

Why did I start off by telling you I was under the weather today? It’s not because I think we have a good rapport, even though I know we do. This morning I was triggered by my sickness. 

Two years ago today, when I was in my second trimester with Jensen growing so perfectly, I was so sick: sore throat, fever, no voice, and I had my bits of chills. It’s like I’ve been taken back to two years ago with him. Instead of being stuck on my couch like I have been today, Jensen’s dad and I took a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to have a little get away before I started feeling the weight of and stress of getting further along. That was the last time I went away before Jensen was born. I can remember walking through battlefields and museums with water and tissues wishing I could feel better to properly enjoy what was going on around me.


I never thought being sick could have hurt Jensen in any way; I’ll attribute that to my innocence before loss.

When I was feeling the way I felt today and reminiscing on being pregnant this time last year, I wanted to go back in time and tell myself to go to the doctor to make sure he was okay. That the fever or sickness wasn’t harming him. I was thinking with my grief.

Grief feels like a living and breathing entity that lives within me. 

Like all other living things, my grief has evolved or changed or shifted throughout the eighteen months I’ve had with it. I could go on and on with different examples about what’s shifted throughout my grief, but I just want to touch on two of them. It’s important to talk about this in our community and maybe someone has went through the same thing. They’ll know they’re not alone.


My grief completely changed when I lost Huxley this past summer at ten weeks. It has taken my last bit of innocence with pregnancy loss. When I found out I was pregnant again, I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to go through another pregnancy to hopefully have a living child at the end of almost forty weeks. I was completely drained when I started spotting. On that day, I had called my mom to come sit with me and I was going back and forth whether I should go to the ER or not. Grief and loss had also changed the way I viewed hospitals. I really didn’t want another negative experience at that hospital.

This morning while deciding how bad I felt, I read this blog from Roses in the Air. In this post, Aria’s mom Kimberly, discusses how her latest loss has affected her. She talks about three things that jumped out at me.

  1. She didn’t take the time to grieve her miscarriage because it felt like everyone was telling her it was ‘just a miscarriage.’
  2. Her miscarriage was isolating.
  3. She feels like she can’t grieve.

With each of these, I just kept saying yes, yes, yes! I have felt the exact same things since June and it hurts to feel this way, especially after receiving support after losing Jensen in the way I did.

This grief shift of isolation pertaining to my miscarriage has been troubling for me. I feel it everyday, but I don’t know how to express my thoughts and feelings without feeling like I haven’t been through something ‘worse.’ Maybe one day, I’ll get past this block and I’ll really be able to grieve the baby I never got to know.


Last night, I attended a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walk. It was Toland-Herzig’s, a funeral home near me, twentieth walk. They have been servicing our community by honoring our children for TWENTY years.

In my first year attending, I only wanted my parents there. This wasn’t unusual. I spent a lot of time alone during the first year, my grief and I needed to process. For me, this couldn’t be done near a lot of people, even loved ones I cared for so much. During the holidays, I stayed home during family events. I couldn’t see people be happy when I felt like I did. It was like I bomb going off inside of me every single hour. I couldn’t keep up with my emotions.


There are still times where I just want to be alone, but my grief has shifted with this matter. This doesn’t mean when I feel like I can’t be around others that I have regressed, it’s just what my heart and grief needs to survive.

When I arrived to last night’s walk, something felt different. Along with my parents, my cousin, one of my friends, and their children all walked for Jensen and other angels. There we also fellow bereaved moms and dads who I have known that walked for their children. I felt like I belonged, supported, and loved. Not saying I didn’t feel that way last year, but I wanted more people there to be supportive.


My grief has shifted. That’s the only explanation I have for this.


The last little thing I want to leave off with is that even though grief shifts and evolves over time, it doesn’t mean I’m ‘all better.’ I’ll forever carry Jensen and his loss. There will be bad days ahead, as well as good ones. Grief will shift back and forth for as long as I live.

One thing is for sure though, the love I have for my son will never cease.

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Secret Acts of Kindness.


I never knew the power of a name before I had Jensen.

There came a time in my early grief where the people around me stopped saying his name on a daily basis. This just happens, I understand that now and don’t hold any anger towards them. Yet, I longed to hear his name and talk about him as much as I could. I would say it out loud to myself whenever I could and filled my house with it and J’s. During this time and even now, I want to be surrounded by him because I miss him and he should be here. Still, I felt like I needed to share his story, say his name, and remember him with others who understood what losing a child felt like.

Finding the baby loss community so early in my grief has helped me heal and know I’m not alone. I remember not even a month into my grief, I was sitting on the couch, and watching Carly Marie write names on Christian’s Beach. Each time she wrote a baby’s name, I felt the mother and father’s name. As I saw others write their child’s name in the comments, I wanted to do the same and see his name clear on the other side of the world. So I did and within a few moments, there she started his cursive J. My heart felt easy, which was a crazy juxtaposition to how I felt beforehand. Then the waves, trickled up, and washed away his name. He and his memory was forever on that beach and then in the ocean.

I didn’t think of it as an act of kindness in that moment. It was a gift. One that I needed, but didn’t know I did.

Since then, members of this community and even those who are not, have sent me secret acts of kindness: his name. I have hundreds of pictures of Jensen travels from around the world. For his birthday, I even made a scrapbook of them. Seeing and hearing his name are the greatest gifts I can ask for post-loss. Just recieving a text from a friend saying they’re thinking of Jensen can completely turn my day around.

This is a gift, an act of kindness, you can easily give to your friend, family member, or someone you know who has experienced loss. As a loss mom, I’m thankful to have been able to help other moms by making name wreaths and writing their child’s name on the beach. We all need support and sometimes it’s as simple as knowing the power of a name.


Thank you Avery’s mom, Tara from Avery’s Garden, for including Jensen in your Leaves of Love Tree for your Wave of Light project. You do so many beautiful projects for our community, I’m thankful to know you and Avery.

A Day to Shine. 

His light guides me everyday like a lighthouse guides boats into shore. Whenever I’m in the dark, I wonder what he would want me to do and an answer always comes. 

Yesterday I wasn’t able to post for Capture Your Grief. My mother was released from the hospital and I was able to get her settled back home. It has been a tiring four days. It’s taught me lessons I didn’t know existed and calmed worries I thought I would have forever. I honestly thought for the rest of my life if someone was in the hospital for a dire reason, they would die. That’s my past experience. Although my mom was/is in pain, she’s here. I’m so thankful for that. 

During our stay, Jensen did really shine. I wore my pregnancy and infant loss awareness pin and people were asking what it represented. There was also a ton of comments on his footprint tattoo. I felt so proud to tell anyone who asked about him and felt like I was the lighthouse opening up the conversation on his life and this month. 

Jensen will always shine. 

This prompt has also got me thinking towards the Wave of Light happening on Sunday. Last year I felt so connected to the community and throughout the world. It lets all our babies shine collectively. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing. There’s an event in Ohio that I’m thinking about driving to, but it depends on how my mom feels. I might also be speaking on Still Standing’s Facebook page, I’ll make sure to share if I do. If you’re unaware of what the Wave of Light is, in short, it’s on October 15 and whatever your time zone is, you light a candle for your baby/ies at 7pm. There will be a continuous wave of light light that spreads across the world as a result. Make sure to share your pictures on social media. 

Also, a big thanks to Kerstin, Mathilda’s mom, for creating this beautiful graphic for Jensen and I. This community constantly warms my heart and gives me hope. 

Life is Short. 


For some, it’s much shorter than others. 

Jensen lived thirty-eight glorious weeks. In his lifetime all he knew was love, warmth, and the sound of his mommy’s voice. He danced to Usher and posed for ultrasound pictures. Everyday, he was told how loved and wanted he was. In that time, he grew to be seven pounds, one ounce and nineteen and three quarter inches long. His blond hair was curly and he had ten perfect finger and ten little toes. 

His life was short, but so very beautiful. 

Unfortunately, I found life can be even shorter than thirty-eight weeks, some babies pass much earlier. Ten weeks was never enough with Hux, but it was his and was so full. 

It’s been twenty-four years, one month, and some odd days that I’ve been born. In this time I outlived my child. Their have been lifetimes lived within my belly and I can feel them with every step I take. Sometimes it feels like I have lived a thousand years and other days like I’ve barely made my mark. I get down on myself, constantly, but I think of the life I grew inside me and how he would want me to be happy. 

Life is short. 

I could wake up tomorrow and be gone. We don’t know our destinies or ever predict when we’re going to die. A lot of us know this firsthand, when we learned of our children’s death. Everyday I try to make it a great day and do my best. Whether it’s advocating for baby loss, bettering my future, or taking steps for Jensen, I’m living my life because I know how precious it is. 

A Space Reimagined. 

There were only two places Jensen’s body was housed after he was born. One was the funeral home and the other is the wing of the hospital pictured above. Every time I drive past the funeral home, my stomach flip flops. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to go back in there without the waves of memory hitting me in the face. That’s how I thought my visits to this hospital would turn out too. 

When I was bleeding at ten weeks pregnant this summer, we went to this ER. I was terrified to get bad news and couldn’t believe it when I did. Then a few days later, I had my D&C. I had left without my babies in this hospital, twice. 

I have yet to return to the labor and delivery wing. There are so many memories from the day Jensen was born there that I’ve revisited over and over. They’re hard. I’m terrified to go back and see those same sights or maybe to see a happy experience knowing mine was everything but. After my D&C, I promised myself I wouldn’t come back here unless it was an emergency or if I was ever lucky enough to have another child. 

It’s only been four months since my surgery and on this Tuesday, I got a call that was completely unexpected. 

My mom had to get emergency surgery today. 

Her room’s window faces the labor and delivery wing. I’ve faced it head on and know exactly what room I had Jensen in. Facing that place felt like the scariest thing I could handle today, but it wasn’t. When I had Jensen, although I felt completely hopeless, I was in control of my breathing and physical pain. I’ve never thought of how it would feel to be my mom or dad watching me go through labor knowing Jensen was already gone. Today I know how it feels to be helpless when someone is in pain. 

This hospital was a space reimagined in these moments. The wing that holds my nightmares is just a part of the hospital today. I’ve stared at it and waited for those memories, but the intense feeling of wanting to help my mom not feel pain overrides my fear. Plus, I know Jensen knows his way back here. I feel him and people have mentioned his footprint on me. That’s my sign that she’s going to be alright. 

A place where I have so fear for has shifted in helping heal my mother and I hope it’s much sooner than later. 

Clear + Let Go. 

I didn’t deserve him. My body failed him. I am alone. Love didn’t save him. I’m not enough.

These thoughts have crossed my mind more than a few times during the last eighteen months. They lead to self-doubt about my motherhood and grief journey. I wonder what Jensen would tell me if he knew I had these thoughts. What would I tell my mother if she had said these things to me?

When I saw today’s Capture Your Grief prompt, I wondered what I needed to let go? My space, my home, is pretty much where I need it to be. I don’t feel cluttered here. Yet, sometimes I feel trapped. I remembered this weekend and feeling anxious on the day of the walk. There were times Saturday where I felt all of those statements. That’s when I knew my mind needed to let go of the negative and clear space for the positive.

Today I held a little cleansing fire, on my dining room table. It’s raining out so it really wouldn’t have worked out there. I took the risk. On a piece of paper, I wrote down every negative thought that came to mind about me, my motherhood, and this grief journey. It was a longer list than I wanted.

I read them all, out loud. Each word stung and my tears felt cold on my cheek. It felt like I needed to feel what I thought they meant; yet they felt strange as I heard them. I crumbled the paper up as forcefully as I could then put it in my makeshift fire pit. Then I lit my match, watched the fire take over the words, and the smoke cleared them out. As I watched the paper burn, I felt those words leave my head. I was able to clear and let go.

I did deserve him. My body didn’t fail, it grew a perfect little boy for thirty-eight weeks. I’m never alone. Love keeps his memory alive. I am more than enough. 


Although I wouldn’t suggest doing a fire cleanse on your dining room table, the fire is such a healing element. Every few months I have a fire in my backyard and burn letters to Jensen so the smoke delivers it to him. I would suggest anyone to try doing this, it has felt like a weight has been lifted since I did this morning.

Tribe Circle. 

Technically today’s Capture Your Grief prompt is ‘Sunday Tribe Circle,’ but my Sunday has revolved around self reflection, healing, and resting. This is because yesterday was all about my tribe circle at one of the annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness walks I go to. 

If you’ve never been to an awareness walk like this, it’s full of conflicting emotions. You’re surrounded by a ton of people who have had similar experiences to you. The room is full with bereaved parents and their support people. In this journey, it’s hard to feel like you belong anywhere or that you’re the only person who’s walking this path. At events and walks like these, you realize you’re not alone at all. On the other hand, it’s devastating. When I arrived yesterday, the line to just get registered was SO long that they had to have two separate ones. It dawns on me that each person has felt this immense loss. All that pain. Yet, somehow they’re able to keep living and moving forward with their child always in their hearts. 

To mark our second year of walking for Jensen, I made another pin. Last year’s was the ‘J’ button with all his colors. This year’s was my meaningful mantra, greatness starts here. (Both pictured above.) It’s a way I can share a little about Jensen with someone just looking at me and the pins. I think it’s also nice for people to see where I am in my grief journey and maybe it will help them out. 


Through my journey, my tribe circle has gotten larger. The group walking for Jensen this year all dawned his mantra ans have helped me heal with each step of my journey. Not only do I have the support of my family and friends, my tribe circle continues online through Facebook and Instagram. Most of these women and men, I would never have met if our children didn’t die. We were complete strangers, but have learned to lean on each other because we all understand. Awhile I go, I posted a graphic that said, ‘find your tribe, love them hard.’ Sometimes I don’t know where I’d be without my support system. It makes me think of all the mothers in the past who were silenced and didn’t know who to turn to. Projects like Capture Your Grief and so many others help the bereaved across the world not be silenced like those before us. 

During the walk yesterday, I was hot and wanted to complain about it feeling like it was constantly uphill. Then I saw all the children walking for their brothers, sisters, cousins, aunt, and uncles and I realized I’m walking for Jensen and the steps he’ll never take. We’re so lucky to be living, even when life and losing our children feels like anything but luck. So, I carried on with Jensen forever being held in my heart. 

When we arrived back to our starting place, we were prompted to take balloons to release to the heavens. I love balloon releases. They are so relaxing and feels like a little part of my grief and sadness is being lifted. It’s such a beautiful sight too. Blue, pink, and white flooded the skies; each representing a child the releaser was walking for. This also visually represents the tribe circle the bereaved community has. We all walk and advocate from our different experiences, but for the same cause and love. 

Sunrise Blessing – Capture Your Grief 2017

Gnadenhutten, Ohio – 7:22am

My alarm went off a little earlier than I had wanted it to. All of last night, I tossed and turned. I knew when I woke that I’d be in my second year of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and what should be Jensen’s year and a half monthday, coming up on the fifth. After pressing a hundred buttons to quiet my phone, I threw on a sweatshirt, and made my way on my front porch.

Fall welcomed me. This might sound silly, but it’s been so warm here lately. The cement was freezing on my feet and the sun had just started to show itself behind the wall of trees. I whispered, ‘Good morning, Jensen. I love you so much,’  then started snapping.

It hit me that one year ago at this exact minute, I was sitting on my porch waiting for the sun to rise again. I waited for the perfect shot and had my props ready. The sun had risen and the sky looked beautiful. Then I stared at the sun and the picture I had taken today; it was so much different from last year.

Instead of a pink and blue skyline, I captured darkness and a perfect orange light. The trees look so rigid and dark. I wondered if I should have waited a little while longer out there. That’s what I would have done before.

But, that’s not how my grief is right now.

This sunshine blessing let me know I’m right where I’m supposed to be and if that’s rigid and raw, then so be it. Jensen’s life and legacy is still beautiful. My grief journey is still evolving. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and Capture Your Grief isn’t about showcasing the perfect moment, it’s about sharing our babies gone too soon and letting other parents know they’re never alone, no matter where they are in their journey.

*If you would like to follow along with CarlyMarie’s Capture Your Grief, here’s the photo with the months prompts.*

Sharing Jensen in Class. 

One of the scariest things about starting up school again is that dreaded question: do you have any kids? I’ll never not share Jensen to someone who asks. So my answer is always yes, I have a son. I am so proud of him and his life, I’ll share more about him if they press on. The part that scares me is their look of helplessness when I say he died. 

Admittedly, I’m just doing online classes right now, but it still gets brought up. Instead of not mentioning him, I tell our story. It’s shaped me into the person who I am today and he has inspired me to go back to school. 

I wanted to share with you all how I introduced Jensen to my classes. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say, but maybe this will help someone else. 



Honestly, I was nervous that I would get negative responses. I didn’t really think I would, but there’s always a fear of hurtful words after you share something so vulnerable. Instead, I was welcomed with supportive comments. I was so thankful and happy I could share Jensen with others who don’t know his story. 

Somehow, I wonder how I’m strong enough to keep sharing and going on. I think of Jensen and what he’d want for me, but also being able to share here with you all. You’ve given me the strength to keep telling my story and advocating for all our children. Everyday I live hoping to change the world into a more sympathetic and understanding one. It starts with all of us sharing and letting others know it’s okay to grieve. Just like it’s okay to talk about our children (and family members) gone too soon. 

Seventeen Months Without Jensen.


It’s almost two in the morning.

I’m in bed, under my warm blankets. Outside, the rain is falling, hard. I can smell it through my open windows and hear it syncing up with the song I have on repeat. During their breaks, the sound of my keyboard rhythmically tapping catches my ear. The light in my bedroom is broken, so the only light that brightens this dark room is from my screen and lightning escaping through my curtains.

Deep down, I know I should be asleep. I have to be up early tomorrow morning and will be busy most of the day. Yet, somehow my body is revolting against me and wants me to take in every moment of today. It’s the fifth and a Tuesday: a combination that I don’t take lightly. That’s why my mind won’t shut off. The words keep flowing even through the piano playing and the thunder rumbling my house.

I feel like I’m apart of the storm raging outside.

Jensen would be seventeen months old today. I miss him. My brain is overworking and focusing on everything else going on in my life because losing him and battling my grief is an unending battle I haven’t learned how to win. I know it’ll never be one that I can be victorious. Grief is so exhausting. You’d think I’d be in a constant slumber and wouldn’t have this surprise insomnia.

The fear of falling apart.

Nights like these, I think about how time has moved like sand through my hands and at the same time how it feels to watch paint dry. I wonder if time would feel the same if he was here or if the thunder would scare him? I always said I wouldn’t let him sleep in my bed, but maybe I would have bent if he was scared and wanted to be close. If I could have him in my arms right now, I’d never let go.

I don’t know if I’m writing to actually say something meaningful or to just… get it all out. In the grand scheme, do these grief and loss ramblings amount to anything? I hate when I question myself. It makes me go back further and further to the weeks leading up to his birth.

Whoever said grief was linear obviously never lived with it.

Oh, this is the beat of my heart; this is the beat of my heart.

How many tears does a person get in their lifetime? I wonder if they’re allocated differently or maybe they just run up. Eventually, my tear ducts will go on strike and decide their job is too much, especially tonight. I’ll have to look that up one day.

Seventeen months ago I had a baby. I felt him enter this world and that was it. How the hell is this my life? Who signed me up for this? I would never wish this feeling of falling into the deepest, darkest pit on the most evil person in the universe.

No one deserves to know what it’s like to bury their child or choose to have their perfect little body turned to ashes. Another decision I had to make seventeen months ago that still haunts me.

There are so many things I don’t talk about here, which sounds absolutely insane since I’m fairly open about my journey. I know I’ve said this frequently though. Some parts of the story never come to light. They’re too hard to process and write for everyone to know. I hate talking about the decision to cremate Jensen or to never see him. More recently, I’ve been so backward talking about my miscarriage. The most common type of loss and I’m afraid to talk about it. It’s a shame. If I’m afraid to talk about it, how many other women are in the same place? Then I think about women from the past, having to stay quiet and for people to act like their child never existed. I know they carried the love for their children all their lives, but to be shamed by something that had no control over…

Why do I feel like that sometimes?

How is it in 2017 we’re still afraid to talk about ‘sad things.’ I cannot tell you how many people have came into my house, looked straight at Jensen’s pictures, and never say one word. They see a baby in the pictures, but there’s no baby home. No sign of one anywhere, besides on the walls. Yeah, I know it’s uncomfortable. I’m so damn sick of hearing that.

Let me shove his picture in your face. I’m so proud of that little human I made. A little over seventeen months ago, you’d be asking all about him when you saw my big belly…

I shouldn’t complain. I’m sorry.

‘Cause I won’t give up without a fight.

It’s after two now. The storm has settled outside and inside my mind. Each month Jensen has been gone, I try to think of something/anything I learned from another month of grieving. I’d like to believe they’re all deep and meaningful lessons, but in truth, most of the time they’re just reminders of how I survived the previous month. They’re all probably extremely similar to one another too. It’s just how it goes.

This month, with seventeen under my belt, I’ve learned my child, this journey, and I am significant. There’s been so many times (even in this post alone) where I question my worth or think I don’t matter. Jensen, he matters the most to me. No matter if no one person reads my crazy, after midnight scribbles, I wrote it for him and I. I wrote to help me because I matter. My mental health is important and to do my best to keep Jensen’s memory alive, I have to do what is right for me. Not everyone is going to ‘get’ this journey or my process. In seventeen months, I’ve seen the such opposite ends of how people ‘deal’ with you after your child dies, that all that matter is Jensen, this community of beautiful parents and their children gone too soon, and me.

If you made it to the end, thank you. The sound of the crickets chirping and the piano playing will guide me to my dreams. Hopefully he’ll be there to meet me.