A Letter To Bereaved Mother’s Day Past.

Dear Danielle,

It’s been almost exactly four years since your first Bereaved Mother’s Day. I know… it hurts. You’re not sure what happens next or how you’re even supposed to go on after everything has happened. If I could somehow go back in time and just sit with you, I would. I’d listen and let you talk about Jensen, letting you cry or smile or however you felt in those moments. It’s what you needed then and you still need it now.

I’m sorry we had to find out what loss and grief was all about; especially losing him. There’s been so many times in the last year where I’ve thought how I wish I could go back and take those moments for you.

If there’s one thing I’ll always be thankful you did, it’s starting this.

Our memory is awful now; four years of grief will do that to a person. Its been awhile since I went back and read anything from that first year. The way we write… I can read through it now. We’re harder now. When we talk about Jensen or how bad death hurts, it’s a lot more blunt. There’s a blog post we listen to now and they say, “fuck politeness,” pretty often. We’ll get there, I promise. Anyways, I read this post: “Honor Your Motherhood.” Twenty-five whole days of being a mom… you’re doing your best and that’s all that matters.

I remember this was the first time in our life that it was hard to order my thoughts. They rushed around and I couldn’t ever catch them, that doesn’t go away, fyi. So finding a prompt really helped order everything. I’m going to answer them again. Mainly to show future Danielle who’s going through whatever how much we’ve grown and how much she’s grown too.

What does it mean to you to “honor your motherhood?” 

Motherhood has changed since that first year… We have Jensen, and we always will. We’ve experiences loss again. We have Mila now too. Since it’s grown and changed, we honor it differently too.

I’m not sure how it is for people with more than one living child, but for us it’s like having a bigger heart. We have Jensen times and we have Mila times. Mila takes up a lot of our time. When she’s awake we’re focused on her and cleaning and taking care of ourselves and keeping up with family and friends and whatever else there is to do. In some ways, the craziness is a way I honor my motherhood with Mila and Jensen. I know this is how he would want us to keep going. It’s funny because even in the craziness of our life, we can always picture where Jensen would fit in.

Honoring our motherhood with Jensen is still one of the most special things. On that first Bereaved Mother’s Day, you did the things to remind you of him. I love that. You helped put Jensen in every room of our home and on our body too. See, that’s a lot in four years. We were a lot more literal in those early days. It was our way to scream to the world that we had him and he means so much. He still does. We honor our motherhood with him by still saying his name, sharing him with Mila (the way she says his name, the cutest thing), and including him in ways that are special to use, but in quieter ways.

Mixing both parts of our motherhood and just by simply moving onward is honoring our motherhood. There’s been so many setbacks in this time period, but you keep going. If that isn’t a strong mother, I don’t know what is.


What would help you feel like your motherhood is being honored?

I remember being so afraid everyone would forget about Jensen. When we first saw this prompt, we wanted everyone to know about Jensen, not necessarily that we were a mom. I think all moms put their child ahead of their wants and needs, but when there isn’t a child physically there, it’s hard to do that. It’s hard for other’s to see and understand that you’re still constantly thinking about your child and wanting the best for them. Honoring our motherhood then felt like making sure our motherhood was concrete. It was, even without him there in your arms. You’re still a mom. That space you hold in your heart and mind for him make you one.

I’m so sorry he wasn’t there to hold and love on. Just like I’m sorry he’s not playing around the house right now.

Honoring motherhood now… gosh, it’s changed so much, but the core of it remains the same. I think we honor it every day. We show up and do our best, mostly with a smile on our face. Mila’s happy, Jensen will never be forgotten, and we have grown. In the calm moments, we take a step back and realize what we have, what we’ve lost, and where we want to go. Wanting to go forward and keep doing better is the best way we honor our motherhood now.


What can you do today, on Bereaved Mother’s Day, to honor your motherhood?

Since Mila’s been born, it feels like Bereaved Mother’s Day is a day to honor our grief in motherhood. I think the best way to honor and connect with that part of motherhood, I’m setting time aside to sit outside and take in the moment. We’ll say his name and look through his pictures with Mila. Maybe I’ll read more of your posts to honor us and this crazy journey we’ve been on.

If I could end with anything or scream through time, I’d let you know that the version of us that you’re living right now is the strongest one. I think future Danielle would agree too. You, we, I, or whatever is easier to conceptualize, will always be Jensen’s mom. Your motherhood will always be valid and honored. I’m sorry that this had to happen to us, but I’m so thankful he’s ours.

You’re doing amazing.

Love,

Danielle

May We All Heal | Remember 


Remember… how could I ever forget?

Everyday I wake up and you’re the first thought that pops in my mind. I am filled with all the mornings we spent together. Our routine was spent with me telling you how loved you are as I traced my hand over each of your kicks. We took those first minutes of the day to just sit in peace. Even to this day, I spend that time saying good morning and still telling you how much I love you.

When I look at myself, I can see what I gave to you. You have my hands and feet. My nose and cheeks. I wish I could have known the color of your eyes or the sound of your voice. But when I see those parts of me that you had, I remember what love created.

I’ll always remember what food you liked and what times you tolerated eating. Just like I’ll remember to lay on my left side so you could sleep soundly. Or the time we were painting in my bedroom. We had all the windows open and each time I reached up, I felt you stretching to help me out. My little home improver. There are countless moments and memories from our thirty-eight weeks that I will never forget.

There isn’t a time where I have to sit here and try to remember you. It’s just natural that you’re in my thoughts every second. No matter what happens in the future, you’ll always be thought of and honored. You are my first-born child. The little guy who made me a mom and showed me a love that is so big and powerful. There will never come a day where you aren’t remembered.

I love you, Jensen. Thank you for all the memories we spent together and the ones we have made since you’ve been physically gone. I will always hold you in my heart.

On This Mother’s Day…

From the moment I saw the word ‘pregnant’ on the first test I took, he made me a mother.

Through those early weeks of excitement to see him grow and feel him move, he made me a mother.The first time I heard that strong, galloping heartbeat, he made me a mother.

When he showed off what made him be a boy on the ultrasound screen, he made me a mother.

During the worry of wondering if I was going to be a good enough mother to him, he made me a mother.

Feeling his kicks everyday and him jab me when I didn’t lay on my left side, he made me a mother.

Through those last weeks of anticipation for his big arrival, he made me a mother.

Giving me a quick, almost painless labor, he made me a mother.

During those weeks of deep pain and grief, he made me a mother.

In these weeks of healing and living our new normal, he made me a mother.

Even through our tragic story, there is an endless, unbreakable love that will always stay because he made me a mother.

He made me a mother and I am so proud that he’s my son.

On this Mother’s Day, I’m honoring my motherhood and the love I have for my son by showing him off to the world. When I see him, my whole being fills with pride and happiness. I made this little human and he’s given me a life I never knew was possible.

My only wish for this day (as it is on every day) is to have him back in my arms. I know this isn’t possible. So instead, I hope someone tells me ‘Happy Mother’s Day.’ I hope someone says Jensen name to me. I hope every mother who has lost a baby feels honored today. Just as I hope anyone who is facing this day without their mom, or sister, or aunt, or grandmother, feels like their loved one is forever remembered and honored.

Hold the ones you care about most near your heart. There are so many others that have to carry others in their. Just like I carry Jensen and his great-grandmother in mine.

This little boy, he means the world to me. He made me his mother and that’s my favorite part about myself.

 

#ShareYourMotherHeart

I never imagined myself writing about grief; especially the grief for my son, my precious Jensen. A mother should never lose her child, but here I am writing. I carried him for ten months, I should be cleaning off spit up in my hair. I should be doing nightly feedings. My baby boy should be here with me.

Yet, I am here. I have not woken up from my nightmare and I never will.

I decided to join the Share Your Mother Heart group in efforts to focus in on my grief around Mother’s Day. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared. How could I even fathom that my son wouldn’t be here for my first Mother’s Day?

Which brings us into Day Nine of this writing journey…

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Before Jensen passed, I would have never known the community I have found so much support in. I admit, I would never choose to be apart of this community. It breaks my heart knowing all these wonderful, beautiful mothers have lost their babies. We grieve so deeply for our children, we search for answers, and we question ourselves. Even though we’re all going through this tragedy, we rally and support each other.

I can’t say enough about the support I have from other bereaved mothers. Besides writing and feeling my love for Jensen all this week, I was able to share my story and hear their stories. Listening was just as therapeutic as writing. I wish I could give every single mother a hug and tell her she’s doing great. I wish I could cry with her while we spoke of our angels. Support is the main part of this project and I’m so thankful you were all there for me.

I hope you all feel more than comfortable to contact me after this ten day journey is over. I hope you feel comfortable telling me anything on your mind. I hope you want to tell me more and more about your baby. I hope when I feel like I can’t move off the couch from this grief, you are there for me. This is what communities are all about.

Lastly, thank you all for Sharing Your Mother Heart with me. Each of your stories are different, but just as important. You are heard. Your baby is remembered. You are a wonderful mother.

For my family and friends that have followed along through my journey, I thank you all for your support. Seeing your ‘likes,’ messages, and comments help me out more than you know. This Mother’s Day was so hard for me to get through and you followed me through that journey. I know you could never imagine going through this and that’s okay. I never would want you to. If you do and I don’t know your story, please feel free to share with me.

You each heard baby Jensen’s story and for that I am forever grateful.

Mother’s Day.

I’ll admit it; today was hard. I woke up with a hole in my stomach. It’s an emptiness that can never be filled. My heart hurt. I swear it was racing and barley beating at the same time. Grief was the first to welcome me to my first Mother’s Day.

For most of the day I was on the couch, my face swollen, and cheeks stained with tears. I ached for Jensen. All I wanted was to be holding him, kissing his cheeks, studying every facial expression. But there I sat with empty arms, a mother without her child on Mother’s Day. That’s the reality in this tragedy.

The day could’ve easily drowned me with grief. Thankfully I have a wonderful support system who helped pamper me to the best of their ability.

Which leads to Day Eight in this journey.

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If it wasn’t for Anthony, holding me as I cried, I wouldn’t have been pampered for Mother’s Day. Instead of letting me lay in bed all day, Anthony got me out of bed and brought me cupcake pancakes from IHOP. It was absolutely delicious. Jensen had so many pancakes during his time here. He would’ve loved to try the cupcake ones.

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Not only did Anthony pamper me with good food, he did what he always planned to do with Jensen: pick out perfect flowers for Mommy. I know it hurt to go get them without Jensen. Bereaved Dads ache and grieve just like moms. They had dreams and hopes for their baby too. I think Jensen would have been happy with the flowers his dad picked though. He also gave me a beautiful bracelet I designed after Jensen passed. It has his name and birthstone on it. Whenever I need strength, all I have to do is look at my wrist and see my angel is right with me.

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When Anthony left to see his mom and then his grandma, I was alone. The most dreaded thing after a loss. My grief struck hard again and I found myself having a breakdown on the couch. I wept and wept, until I knew I had to get it all out. I journaled and got the worst part out. I looked at Jensen’s urn and thought, “He doesn’t want to see me cry. Jensen needs his mom to be strong.” I took a breath and was channeling his love. Thankfully I calmed down enough. I re-watched Carly Marie’s video of her writing all the angel babies’ names in the sand. I’m so blessed she chose to write Jensen’s name in the sand. I saw the loopy J and the peaceful ocean behind his name. It relaxes me knowing he will always be remembered and I have support from women around the world.

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We ended the night at my parent’s house. They have been there to pick me up, wipe my tears, and listen. My mom and dad pamper me even on the days where i’m not “supposed to be pampered.” They made my favorite dinner, steak and potatoes. We talked about Jensen and how much we love him. They listened to me and I’m so thankful for that. Jensen has the best grandparents and uncle the world could give him. He’s one lucky little boy.

They also gave me my first Mother’s Day present from them. It’s a beautiful necklace of a mother holding her child. The stones on the necklace are Jensen’s birthstones. Although my arms are empty, I hold him in my heart. I know Jensen would have loved this present as well.

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Now the last minutes of Mother’s Day are slipping away from us. I survived, as I keep doing each and every day. Jensen watches and guides me every second of my days. He’s the reason I get up in the morning. He’s the reason I smile. He’s the reason why I feel all this love. He’s the reason why I’m a mother. He’s my angel forever. I love you Jensen.

I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. You are so loved.

I’d also like to thank everyone who texted me throughout the day. As I said yesterday, you don’t know the impact it had on me. Knowing you were thinking about Jensen, Anthony, and I means the world.

Advice from a Bereaved Mother.

I dreamt Jensen and being his mother for months. Every night I would dream of our long future together. I was so ready to learn everything I could about him and being the perfect mom for my son. All I wanted was to embrace my motherhood and look at Jensen with joy every second I could.

Even though my sweet baby boy isn’t with my physically, I feel him with me everyday. I had to change my motherhood due to our tragedy. This past week seven days, I’ve made similarities and differences between what I dreamt and now; the before and after. I don’t claim to know everything, especially about being a mom. Although I’d like to give advice or reminders about being a mom to others.

Which leads us to Day Seven’s prompt…

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For Mothers with living children or are pregnant:

  • Don’t wish time away.
  • Always tell your child/ren you love them.
  • Live and cherish every moment like it could be the last.
  • When your child/ren does something that upset you, remember how lucky you are that you have them and that they’re safe.
  • Hug them an extra second longer.
  • Be a proud of the babies you have. They are perfect in every single way.
  • Be proud of yourself. You are a beautiful mother.

For Bereaved Mothers:

  • Your child/ren loves you more than words can describe.
  • You are not at fault.
  • Honor and remember your babies as much as you can.
  • It’s okay to have a good day. You deserve it.
  • Reach out for support, there’s others that want to support you.
  • Be proud of the babies you have. They are perfect in every single way.
  • Be proud of yourself. You are a beautiful mother.

To all types of moms, remember to wish each other a Happy Mother’s Day. All mothers need to be recognized, three small words could change one’s day around.

I wish every mother a Happy Mother’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy your day with your baby, soak up every single second. If you’re angel is in heaven, protect your heart. Do what you feel is okay for the day. Your baby is with you. They want you to know how much you’re loved.

For me, I’ll be spending time with my loved ones; thinking and talking all about my Jensen Grey.

Being Seen.

I never knew four weeks could feel like forty years at one second, then only seem like one day a second later. It’s been twenty-eight days since Jensen has been gone. Some mornings I wonder if I woke up from the nightmare and other mornings it’s like getting slapped in the face. Today was a slap in the face; just as physical slaps in the face, it stings afterwards.

Today was overwhelming for me. I’m grief stricken and felt anger, sadness, helplessness, guilty, and vulnerability. All those in one day are hard to handle. Yet, I’m still here. I feel Jensen near my heart and see his little ultrasound pictures smiling at me. Reminding me he’s here watching over his momma, now and always.

He will always see me as a mother, which leads to Day Three.

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In what ways have others seen and acknowledged your motherhood?
How do you see yourself as a mother?
In what ways is your motherhood visible?

Most of the time (like 99%) I see myself as a mother. I know I’ll always be Jensen’s mom. He was made of me, I delivered him, and love him. Since he’s not here physically, I can’t be the traditional mom I wanted to be. I see myself as mother now by saying Jensen’s name, writing about him, and sharing our experience. There’s still a bond between us even though Jensen is in heaven, a mother’s love is unbreakable. Not only emotionally do I feel like a mother, but physically. I see the stretch marks, my face changing, and my body still feels like I should be nurturing a newborn. Today, it hurts as I’m typing this. My body tells me I should have my baby here and my brain knows he’s not here physically to be nurtured. Today is hard to be seen as a mother.

I feel like all moms have times where they think they’re not doing their best. Worries that their baby isn’t sleeping enough, growing as big as they should be, or not hitting all their milestones. Moms worry about their babies. I worry about him being in heaven. I worry he sees my guilt. I worry that he feels my sadness. I worry I can’t show him I love him enough. So I guess in that way I see myself as a mother.

To others, I think it is hard for them to see a mom without a living child as moms; not that they discredit me and others as mothers. If I go out to lunch or dinner for Mother’s Day on Sunday, will someone tell me “Happy Mother’s Day” with a big smile? I get support from my friends and family, they speak Jensen’s name and listen to my worries. Comments on my blog let people say how much love I have for Jensen and how proud he is of me. That makes me smile and feel like I’m doing a good job in this journey of motherhood.

Then I question myself…
Does Anthony see himself as a father? Do my parents see themselves as grandparents? Does my brother see himself as an uncle? Am I really seen as a mother?

That’s how bad my grief makes me question myself and others.

Then I question… Does Jensen see me as his mother?

That answer is yes.
I see Anthony as a father. I see my parents as grandparents. I see my brother as an uncle. I see myself as a mother.

My motherhood is visible to others because I let it be. For other people, I won’t let them question if I am or not. I share my love for Jensen and I’ll tell anyone his story. For ten months I carried him, cared for him, and made sure he was one happy little boy.

The pure existence of my son makes me a mother. Everyday I’m proud of that.

Bereaved Mother’s Day.

For the next ten days, I have decided to participate in a journey to explore my motherhood after losing Jensen. It’s on an online community for mother’s without living children that I joined named: Share Your Mother Heart. Since it’s almost been four weeks since Jensen was born, I thought it would be good to document this ten day journey. Since it’s still such raw grief that I’m feeling, I want to be able to reflect on this next year and the year after that to see how I’ve progressed. Plus, just exploring new topics in my early stages of motherhood will be beneficial to me.

Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day and it’s my first one. Before Jensen, I never knew there was such a thing called Bereaved Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, Jensen is in heaven and I’m learning new facts about stillbirths.

Now on to today’s prompt…

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What does it mean to you to “honor your motherhood?”
What would help you feel like your motherhood is being honored?
What can you do today, on Bereaved Mother’s Day, to honor your motherhood?

My first Bereaved Mother’s Day started off like the other 25 days Jensen has passed, I told Jensen how much I loved him and spent a few minutes talking to him. I let my parents know about today and knew it would be a trigger day for me. They understood and talked to me about Jensen, like they do most days. We smiled talking about my pregnancy and how adorable Jensen was. They took me to the movies to watch Keanu, since Jensen loved going to the movies and his kitty Poe. We went to Applebee’s and I got his favorite meal from there, Fiesta Lime Chicken. They steered me out of the ways from triggers and made sure I was comfortable all day. The only thing I wanted of course was my Baby J. Now I’m writing this blog, remembering him more and honoring me as a mother. I feel like today my family and I did a great job of honoring Jensen and my motherhood.

What does it mean to “honor my motherhood?” It means to always say Jensen’s name. To let everyone know his story. Just because he isn’t here with me physically does not mean I do not love him less than a mom with living children. It means to feel like I did my best in provided Jensen the best in his time with me. It means not blaming myself for what happened to him. It means being me. Since I found out I was pregnant, I was so happy to be a mommy. I took care of myself and in turn for him. I did everything for Jensen no matter what and I still do. I ask myself, “Would this make Jensen smile?” or “Would Jensen be happy with this decision?” It means grieving my son at my pace. It means when and if I do have other children to let them know their big brother is always there for them. He’s their and my guardian angel forever. It means unconditional love for my child, my precious Jensen.

To help me feel like my motherhood is honored everyday, it would take a village. Like everything in life, we all need support. The best way for others to help honor my motherhood would be to speak Jensen’s name to me, ask about him, and talk about him. For other’s to acknowledge I’m still a mom. When acknowledging my family, acknowledge him. If I have tears when I talk about him, know it’s tears of love. But also, for other’s to be okay if I’m not comfortable with a situation. My heart is heavy and I need time to grieve and not put myself in a vulnerable position. Just showing love to Jensen and I, listening, and being there for me honors my motherhood.

Honoring my motherhood means so much to me. The second I knew about Jensen, I wanted to be the best mother for him and I continue to want to be the best.