May We All Heal | Patience 

Patience…

Some have it and others don’t. Leo is obviously one of those who need to learn. I was one of those people who needed to learn once upon a time too.

Even when I first found out I was pregnant. My patience was nearly non-existent because all the appointments felt so far away and I wanted to know everything right now. After that first appointment where I saw him, I knew I needed to learn. The little baby inside me needed to grow and I was the only one who was going to help him do so. That’s when I decided to take each day and week as they came and embraced them. I remember being asked if I was going to find out the gender early and I just shook my head no.

“No, I’ll know at the time this baby wants me to know. Either boy or girl, I’ll be happy. Just want him or her to be happy, healthy, and have hair.’

Patience came quickly when we found out about Down syndrome. My arms were poked and pricked with so many needles. Each to tell me what exactly what was going on. The first nurse messed up the blood test and bruised my arm all up so much that the first results came back inconclusive. In the mix of meeting with Fetal and Maternal Medicine, all the ultrasounds to do his measurements, and them telling me he ‘looked fine.’ Everything seemed so normal. I was patient. Then they told us the blood results came back 99% positive. The world felt so different, but I was patient through every week and all the appointments just to see him grow and doing his best.

I was patient for thirty-eight weeks and one day. Then my world flipped upside down. 

When I was laying in the hospital bed and my blood pressure spiked, I wanted him to be out. I didn’t know what to expect because nothing seemed like it made sense anymore. They kept telling me I needed to be patient, that he’d be out soon enough.

For the five hours I was in labor, I was patient. I thought it was going to be a whole day of laboring, but he came quick. After he was born and I was cleaned up, I remember sleeping. When I woke up I showered and felt that emptiness in the pit of my stomach. The one place and part of me I was so patient to watch grow was now, just done. That’s when I realized one huge thing.

I have to be patient until my last breath to finally hold Jensen again.

Although you can’t really see everything I wrote in the picture above, the top waves say, “living with,” then “patience” in the middle. For the rest of my life, I am forced to live with it. There’s no way for me to pluck him from heaven and hold him in my arms. On this day, almost my four-hundredth without Jensen, I patiently wait and I’ll be doing the same on day four-thousand and beyond.

What I ask from my family and friends is that your patient with me. Patient with my grief and my healing. I’m living with lifelong patience to see my child again, so sometimes I need a little slack. Journeying through this life of loss and love is hard work, I appreciate all the love and patience you’ve given me so far and I hope (with all my might) that it continues.

May We All Heal | Empty

I never knew what the word empty meant until thirteen months ago when I walked to the shower after giving birth. I felt nothing but the emptiness in me. The space Jensen occupied for thirty-eight weeks and two days, was eerily droopy and not right. My belly was this big, visual reminder that my baby had died. That the only, sacred place I held him was now this dreadful pit of despair.

The following weeks, I caught myself staring at the empty hole my body had every time I went by a mirror. Not only did I physically feel emptiness, my feelings began to feel the same. All the pain I felt was numbed by my brain. I didn’t allow myself to feel, so it was always just blank, but gosh did those tears fall.

On Jensen’s very first monthday, I promised myself (and him), that I would choose love. That’s how I’ve been able to get through each day, feeling that sweet love and wanting to do my best. When I wrote about him and how I was feeling with my still motherhood, I wanted to be brave. I projected that. But, I felt the emptiness. It was always there and it’ll always be here. Even with a whole year of grieving and healing behind me, emptiness. 

When I wake up every morning, I don’t choose to be sad or let grief overwhelm me. I try to wake up and smile as I say ‘good morning, Jensen,’ as I give his bear a hug. Maybe sometimes I have to smile through the tears from waking up from a nightmare, but I try. I try my best. Yet, as the day goes on his absence is so present, the emptiness grows. My house is empty. My womb is empty. My heart even feels empty sometimes. I don’t choose this at all. I’ll always pick love instead of pain, but I can’t stop this feeling.

Feeling empty draws you in. A person can even get lost in feeling that way.

Today I felt empty. Maybe because I was thinking about this prompt all day or that it’s the fifth of May. I questioned myself if I always feel this way, but it’s more noticeable since I’m focusing on it.

I reminded myself that whatever I feel is okay. A person cannot make themself feel a certain way. You have to let whatever comes to you pass through and not suppress it. Being sad doesn’t make me a horrible person. Feeling empty doesn’t mean I have to fill it with something else. This grief journey is a huge learning process of knowing my ‘new normal.’ That comes with positive and negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

What I want to leave you all with is feeling empty after loss is normal. Your baby’s physical body is gone. There’s no weight there anymore, but there’s something that remains. Even when it feels like storm clouds are happening on the outside and nothing is on the inside, I promise you this one thing stays.

Love.

I know there will always be a missing part of your heart and an empty feeling in your belly from where your child left, but what remains in the emptiness is love.

May We All Heal | Wish

I wish…

I could hear his laughter.

I could know if his nose scrunches when he smiles.

I could see him chase after Leo and Poe. 

I could hold him tight as he falls asleep in my arms. 

I could teach him as a child.

I could hear his protests as a teenager.

I could be nervous the first time he drove a car.

I could help him get ready for prom.

I could cry as I sent him off to college.

I could have a mother and son dance with him.

I could collect all the memories we were supposed to have.

I could have stayed in our little infinity forever.

I could have got him out a week earlier.

I could have taken more bump pictures.

I could live to see a day where there is no loss.

I could take the pain away from every grieving parent.

I could bring their babies to them.

I could still feel blissfully ignorant concerning pregnancy and loss.

I would have held him.

I would have whispered in his ear how much I loved him.

I would have known. 

for all the flowers he would have picked for me.

that I could have seen him wish all his wishes. 

that my house wasn’t empty when I got home.

that he was somewhere for the day and at any moment they were going to drop him off.

he was here.

I wished for a love so big, so strong that nothing could ever come in between us. That wish came true, but I wish death didn’t have to get in the way.

May We All Heal | Timeless

It’s early in the morning here. I couldn’t sleep last night and found myself staring at the clock.

4:25

The time that ended all other times flashes across my bright phone screen. My body is telling me to go back to sleep, to get lost in my dreams and push it aside. Of course, I didn’t listen to my body. I woke up, made tea, and looked at today’s prompt. Timeless.

Funny how the universe works right? Or maybe it’s the mind, constantly working and trying to make everything connect.

In the past two days I’ve been in a serious battle with my depression. Nothing I can’t handle, but it hurts. It’s impacted everything I’ve written and drawn for May We All Heal. Today is no different. The pessimism in my drawing taunts me.

Timeless. Any other millennial would have thought of an infinity sign. Just think of all the pretty synonyms: unending, forever, and vastness. This page could have truly been beautiful and filled with positive thoughts.

Instead, a clock flows out of me. Although this clock looks broken, it really isn’t.

Time stopped at 4:25am on April 5, 2016. It was the exact minute Jensen was born into this world. At that same time, he was taken away; breaking our physical connect forever. This very minute, halted my world. It stopped so hard and quick that all the minutes and hours fell from the face of the earth. Just like my world crumbled around me. All I could do was watch and feel the sharpness of the pain. Time felt like it would never go on again.

Then I asked about him.

Just a mother trying to learn all she could about her son. In the same day my son was stillborn and it felt like nothing would ever make me smile or feel anything but gasping for air, I learned he in fact had ten fingers and ten toes. That made me smile and feel a blanket of warmth cover me that I hadn’t felt since I heard he was gone. Hearing about Jensen… feeling the unending love I had for him… somehow it made the sting of everything lessen in that minute.

So the clock’s gears started back, slowly. Some would say barely visible in the first few months. They couldn’t see the littlest one though, its way in the middle working overtime. This gear doesn’t tire or need greased. It keeps moving, even when the others don’t want to budge.

This gear will infinitely turn. It never even stopped when the world did. One day, it’ll almost coax all the others back to as they did before. A part will always be missing and there’s no numbers to even tell how long or judge how long the clock takes to make its way around.

And that’s okay.

Because love is timeless. 

Love does not judge. Love motivates. Love keeps turning, no matter if it’s the only one doing so.

Jensen is my love. He does not judge his mama and only motivates her to do better. The love I have for him and I know he has for me will always be.

This love is timeless.

May We All Heal | Life 

Life truly began in this moment.

It was a pretty hot September day and I knew I was a few weeks pregnant. We went to our first appointment to confirm I was pregnant and we were going to get to see this little thing growing inside me. I was scared. Deep down, I knew he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t sure I was completely ‘ready’ either, but I knew I was already attached and protective.

Thoughts kept swirling around in my head. It didn’t help that I was being asked all these questions from this woman who was supposed to help me. She wanted to make sure I was ‘financially ready’ and ‘could handle the responsibility.’ I began questioning myself and fighting back and forth in my head, but I simply told her I was ready to be a mom. I have a house, a job, and a heart full of love for this baby even during these early weeks.

After being stuck in that room with her, they ushered me over to a dark room. It had a table I was supposed to lay on and a screen right at the foot of it. I was instructed to get undressed, just the bottoms. All of the sudden, I got extremely nervous. Now these thoughts of doubt and worry about what all could be wrong were popping in my mind. I laid down on the table and waited.

The ultrasound technician came in. She seemed happy. Before we began she told me all what she was going to be doing and of course I consented. Then the screen came on. It was bright even though it was mostly black. She rubbed my belly trying to find the baby, until she stopped.

Then my world lit up.

I saw him, before I even knew he was a him. My baby was right there, he looked like a little peanut, so small. She searched for his heartbeat and we got to see it on the screen, we couldn’t hear it with the doppler yet. I didn’t even mind, because I was so transfixed on the screen. On the little life that was inside me.

All those worrying thoughts slipped away. Every thought was on the life I created, the one I was growing.

When she asked if she could print his first picture out, I probably said yes a little too quickly. I couldn’t stop smiling and when she placed the ultrasound in my head, I put my finger over him. Like I was touching him, I instantly wanted to rush to April so I could physically touch him.

I have never felt this much love and I never felt more alive. Being this baby’s mom is what my life was going to be about.

My whole life began with the little one that grew inside me.

May We All Heal | Imagine

I Imagine…

Waking up on a warm spring morning, filling my pink, mom cup with coffee before Jensen starts stirring. Somehow he’s already almost thirteen months old. He hears me just as I finish my last drink. The sun hits his crib in the most wonderful way. When I look at him, he’s already staring back at me with his big, hazel eyes. He smiles, of course. His blond, curly hair seems to have dark pieces intertwining as each day passes. I pick him up and the day begins.

After our morning routine of breakfast and getting dressed, I play him music. He loves to dance around and is always showing me these crazy dance moves he somehow learned. I’m hoping with all this dancing he ends up being better at it than me. His moves make me smile and laugh. I have to take pictures and videos to remember this moment. The house is fluttered with all the moments of the past year.

With the sun shining so brightly, I take him outside. The sun is shining so brightly and he continues to dance and play. His steps are getting more sure and stable. All of them so important and I know one day his footsteps will take him on great adventures. We’re outside for a while. I notice him picking the little flowers. He brings them over to me, proud that he found them. I take them and this pleases him, until he’s hungry again.

The day passes, almost too quick. I wish these day were unending. The sky starts to change and soon the stars will be twinkling. I open the curtains in Jensen’s room so he can stare outside as I read him his nightly story. He begins blinking slowly and more frequently. His hand starts to twirl his hair, but he’s hanging on to every word.

When he finally does sleep, I finish the book anyways. Then I hold him tight. I have my whole entire world in my arms. There is no pain or loss. Everything is just the way it needs to be.

But I’ll never get this day. It’ll always be just something I imagine.

Now imagine a love so big, that even though none of this can ever happen, my heart is still full.

Imagine this love that heals.

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.

There’s No Excuse Why My Child Died.

I had a miscarriage.

Don’t worry, it’s not even like it was a real baby. Just a clump of cells.

My child was stillborn.

At least you didn’t get to meet them and see them alive.

I watched my child die in my arms after they spent their life in the NICU.

Good thing you didn’t bring them home and get too attached.

My child died from SIDS in infancy. 

These things happen, next time you’ll just have to watch more closely.

I’m in a constant battle with infertility.

Just relax, it’ll happen in its own time.

My child died in child/adulthood.

Be thankful you have all those memories with him/her.

I am a grieving parent.

Don’t worry, you can always try again.

There is no excuses when it comes to a child dying.

Unless you have experienced child loss, do not think there is solution to ‘get over’ or ‘move on’ from a mom or dad grieving. These ‘helpful’ phrases only create more pain.

This grief is uncomfortable. It’s sad, but it’s very real for so many of us. We do not need judged for how we grieve. There is not a timeline. If you wouldn’t say it about any other loss, then it does not need to be said about this type of loss. Our children are very loved and real. No matter if we lost them a day after we found out they were there or after many years.

Please think before you speak, you have no idea the war that we’re battling every. single. day.

A List of Five Positive Things in My Post Loss Life.

April, Jensen’s month, has come and went to very quickly. The fact May will be here next week is absolutely crazy. A mix of the lingering sadness of Jensen turning one and the anxiety to what May brings has almost pushed me over the edge; and I only just got back from vacation.

This morning I was super triggered.

A big thought that circled my head was, I didn’t deserve Jensen and he was taken away from me because I was a failure. This was obviously emotionally charged. I don’t believe any of our babies died for a certain negative reason. BUT that didn’t stop my thoughts from making me feel like the worst mom in the entire world. I cried the entire way to therapy and even when I sat down on the couch to tell her about everything this month held.

She calmed me down. Told me my anti-self was in control right now and I knew she was right. After I spilled everything that was weighing on my heart, she gave me a list of suggestions to help my anxiety. It included laughing, reading out loud, and smiling at myself in the mirror. One really jumped out to me today and I wanted to share it with you all.

A list of five positive things in my post loss life to remind me there’s more in this world than grief, anxiety, and depression.

1. Jensen

Obviously, right?

The most love I’ve ever felt in my life revolves around him, even in death. From the moment I found out he was growing inside me and for the rest of my life (and beyond), I knew he would always hold the biggest piece of my heart. He brings me so much happiness and peace when I think of our time together. I literally use his name for grounding techniques during anxiety attacks. He walks with me through my life and I’m so happy he’s mine.

2. Family and Friends

Every family member and friend I have is as unique as they are to my grief journey. No matter if it’s a text to see how I’m doing or a whole day spent with them, they are so important to my life. They make me smile, laugh, and feel so very supported. Even when they don’t know what to say, they’re there for me. To listen and let me know that I’m going to keep moving forward. Most of all, they let me know Jensen will never be forgotten.

3. Leo and Poe

My two little kitties are such a positive light in my life. When I’m sad, they let me hold and pet them. They will find me wherever I’m crying and just sit there until I stop. Both of them are so different, but each know how to make me smile. Let me tell you, pets are such a stress reliever. It’s actually well talked about and proven that when you stroke an animal, your stress decreases.

4. Nature

The sun, wind, flowers make this heavy air feel so much lighter. Maybe being by the beach has this on the top of my head, but even today in my small, Ohio town, I felt so much peace. Seeing the trees and feeling the sun’s warmth on me relaxes me. Every part of nature is positive and healing to me. I’m so ready for summer to be here though!

5. The Loss Community

Without the loss community, I don’t know where I would be right now, besides feeling like a complete crazy person. Support is necessary and when I’m hurting I can reach out. The projects that take place throughout the year are so perfect and really help an aching heart. Through my tears today, I told my therapist how I was able to look forward to next month and it’s challenges, just because I know my tribe of beautiful mothers will be here to help me along.

The Last First.

Easter. The one holiday my anxiety decided to take a vacation on. I didn’t feel the sadness of not taking Jensen to get his picture with the Easter Bunny and I only once wanted to buy this perfect navy basket for him. Honestly, this has been the only holiday that hasn’t bothered me during my whole grief journey.

Or so I thought.

When I woke up this morning, all the usual build up hit all at once when I opened my eyes. All the pain and anxiety paralyzed me and the should be’s flooded my mind.

I should have been the Easter Bunny and hid his basket.

Jensen should be waking me up and be in his Easter outfit.

He should be quizzically looking at me while he dug into his basket.

We should be going over to his grandparents house, getting ready for the Easter egg hunt.

All the littles should be taking their picture together.

I should be taking a picture with my son on his first Easter.

My life should be so different.

All of the moments today I wish I could have that I never will. It hurts. I never had a certain outfit picked out for him for his first Easter, but I can imagine he’d be in blue and a hat. He would be stumbling while trying to pick up the eggs that will be scattered in the yard. They’ll still be scattered, but one little egg hunter won’t be physically present.

I’ll tell you, it’s normal for me to picture where Jensen would be every day. But on the days where everyone’s there and I can so easily put him where he needs to be… it takes my breath away.

The other part of today that I wasn’t prepared for was how this is the last first. I thought when his first birthday passed, so did all the other firsts. He was still here during Easter last year. Safe inside my belly. I didn’t take in account that Easter moved around, that I would have to face his first Easter after his birthday. It hit that it was the last first that I’ll encounter with Jensen. That feeling I wasn’t prepared for and I don’t know if I would have ever been able to prepare myself. There’s also a feeling of Easter last year being the last, last. Of course there’s the last movements and the last time seeing him, but this was the last holiday with him.

I can remember that Easter so vividly. We were talking about what would happen if our children would pass. At that point, I never imagined he could die before he was even born. I’ll never forget what I said.

“If Jensen would ever die, I wouldn’t hurt myself or go to be with him. He wouldn’t want that for me. He would want me to live my life to the fullest for him.”

Those words ring in my ears during my lowest lows.

I’ll keep doing my best for him. This last first will be lived to the fullest for the boy who can’t get the Easter eggs laid out for him. The boy who will never get a picture with the Easter Bunny. The one who will forever hold my heart.

Gosh, I miss him. So much it hurts every part of my body and soul. I’ll never stop missing him or remembering the time I spent with him. It was the happiest thirty-eight weeks of my life. I’d never, ever give them back, but I’ll always wish something could have changed so I could have him here with me.


Thank you so much to everyone who has helped honor Jensen with me today. It means the absolute world. 

Happy Easter to you all.