One of the Hardest Posts I’ll Ever Write. 

I wish what I’m writing right now would be the good news I hoped it would be. What it should be. 

Truthfully, I had been keeping a little secret from you guys. Hiding my hope and (yes) excitement for the future. You see, the Wednesday before Mother’s Day the word ‘positive’ boldly presented itself right in front of me. I was blessed with another baby, another pregnancy. Jensen had handpicked his little brother or sister for me. There the fire of having a living child was reignited. 

The past weeks were full of anxiety and guilt and joy for this new life inside of me. I’ve been sick to my stomach and craving avacados. Eleven days ago I even saw his or her’s strong heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. Ten perfect weeks of pregnancy. 

Late last night, I noticed light, brown spotting. Of course I was concerned. I read through all the baby blogs and boards. My mind kept telling me, it’s just old blood. Everything has went so smoothly. Then this morning, it was back. The spotting went off and on, I thought about going to the doctor first thing, but figured I’d just rest unless it got worse. 

Then it did. 

My mom and I went to the hospital. Still, I was so confident nothing was wrong. There was no pain or any other symptoms. They took my blood and urine. It said I was pregnant, but we needed to scan just to see. 

I should’ve known when she didn’t let me see the screen. Part of me did know, but I was holding onto hope. 

Loss had already struck, it wouldn’t hit me again. 

We waited in our room for what it seemed like forever. Today there was a ton of trauma patients. There were so many people being wheeled to the rooms beside me. I told my mom that I wasn’t high priority, they were just getting to everyone first. There’s nothing wrong. I really didn’t think it could happen again. 

He came into the room, muttered some words, but all I got out of that cacophony was ‘there wasn’t a heartbeat.’

I don’t know what’s going to happen now. In the blur of the conversations after those words, I know I’ll either miscarry naturally or have a D&C Monday. This weekend was supposed to be happy, I was going to announce to the rest of my family. Show them the baby’s ultrasound, have hope for the future. 

Mentally and emotionally, I know I’m in a sort of shock. Different from what I was with Jensen, but still shock. I am angry and feel as if having a living child is not in my cards. 

There’s nothing that’s going to make this ‘better.’ This baby is not in a better place and I don’t want to hear about God’s plan for me. I’m in pain. Losing this child hurts like hell. I loved and wanted him or her so much. It wasn’t just a few cells, it was my baby. Just like Jensen is my son. 

This is my child. He or she was here and so real. I miss them already and hope Jensen will take care of his little sibling. 


Although I don’t know when this will be posted (I’m writing this on my couch after just leaving the hospital), I will probably be MIA for the next couple weeks. If I do post, it’s not going to be ‘happy,’ my second child just died. 

I do appreciate all of your support through my journey of loss and love. It’s not one I’d ever wish on anyone. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Supporting Loss Parents During Important Grief Dates.

Jensen is turning one in eight days.

This is how I always pictured Jensen and I near his birthday…

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Encouraging him to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I never imagined he’d be teaching me how to do the same.

How time passed so quickly completely eludes me. It feels like just yesterday I saw him dancing across the ultrasound screen just five days before. In another sense, it feels like forever since I’ve been able to catch my breath. From the moment I found out his heart had stopped beating to this one right now, and all the moments for the rest of my life, I will never fully grasp that this is my reality. That I will forever be physically without Jensen. The fact that I have to face his big day is overwhelming.

but…

With almost a full year of grief under my belt, I have an understanding of what I need during these huge grief and trigger days. This list is compiled from what has helped me and my support group during the last year. It hasn’t been an easy process to find out what worked and what didn’t, but I am so thankful for my support circle that have been so willing to learn and swim through the waves with me. Although I can’t speak for every loss parent, these do’s and don’ts are with the bereaved hearts and their support in mind.

Do…

Offer support/ask how you can help.

Honestly, this one is a little tricky. Most of the time I don’t know what I want or need in terms of support. It’s frustrating because I know there has to be something. Whether that be someone to listen to me or to sit with, to actually helping with events or plans concerning that day. Big grief days are exhausting. On top of not knowing, (for me) reaching out seems difficult because I’m exhausted and deep down, I know this is the only way I can mother Jensen.

A big thing I’m going through with his birthday party is telling people I have everything planned. In my mind, that’s true. As of today, there is a lot I need help with and my family and friends have asked and I said no. Deep down though, I know those people want to help me and will if I ask. Like I said, this is in my experience, planning his birthday is how I’m able to parent Jensen and heal my heart.

Even if there isn’t any way you can help, just by asking if a person needs support or help, they know you’re there for them. You’ve opened up a doorway that will positively impact that next moment and interaction.

Listen to their stories, feelings, and emotions.

Even if it’s the same story you’ve heard a thousand times, this is all we have. It could be about the first kick or their birth story. Of course there’s sadness, confusion, and anger towards loss. On the other hand, there is so much beauty in their son or daughter’s life. Their lives, although short, were full of love and happiness. For most of us, having them grow and finding out we were parents was the best time of our lives.

This is another form of support. To me, it’s so important to be able to share Jensen’s story. and not just his death. In fact, his birthday will be a celebration of his life. There will be cake, laughter, and his lifetime of memories. Now, I’m not going to lie to you all, the day before will be a day of mourning. On each day, I hope and know that my support circle will be there to listen to it all.

Say their child’s name.

Always. Even if you’re miles away, write their child’s name down and send them a picture of it. This seems way simpler than the others, but it means the entire world to a loss parent. It lets us know that our child is not being forgotten. For me, it is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.

Embrace their child(ren)’s life and memory.

Sort of like some of the previous ones, but it goes a little deeper. When you’re listening to their stories about being pregnant or other memories they have, tell them something you remember. Maybe it was the day they told you they were going to be parents or a memory you have of feeling the baby move. Don’t be shy to bring these moments up. We haven’t forgotten.

Also, if there’s something they want you to do, try your best to do it. Usually it won’t be anything too huge, but something like lighting a candle on their hard days. Do a random act of kindness in their child’s name. This embraces and keeps their memory alive.

Don’t…

Be afraid to ask questions.

This can be different for everyone depending on where they are in their journeys. It is hard to talk about certain parts, for both parties. But, if you want to see pictures of their child or know what time they were born, just ask. Don’t be afraid to ask about those memories. I know for a lot of moms (sorry dads) facts and moments are constantly playing through their minds. It helps get the information out and, again, it helps to know you want to be there to support us even through the messy part.

Personally, I’ve always been one to tell people to ask me questions. I would rather them know from me and the truth about it all. Like I said though, this is completely different for other loss parents.

Get angry if the plans for the day change.

If you get a text a few hours before you’re supposed to meet up for a lunch or self-care day on one of these grief days, don’t be mad. No one really knows how they’re going to be until the day comes. It could be they woke up that morning and the waves are crashing down. This isn’t anything personal against you, this is a way they’re helping their heart.

Downplay their pain, even when it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Grief and loss hurt like hell. There hasn’t been a moment of comfort I’ve had since April 4, 2016. Believe me, I know it’s hard to hear your loved one is hurting, but that’s why they’re talking about their grief. Please, please, please don’t downplay or cut someone off. They’re talking to you about the hardest and most tragic event that they will ever go through in their life. Opening up to another person about these raw feelings is extremely brave for a person to do. It is terrifying to start talking about emotional times to only be told that what their feeling isn’t really that intense.

We live in a society who do not really know how to grieve. I’m thankful that not every person in the world knows what it’s like to lose a child. But I am telling you, that releasing these emotions to the outside world is so healing. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Imagine how that would be like every day.

Tell them that it’s time to stop grieving OR any hurtful comments.

Just please don’t do it.

Ten Things I’ve Learned in Ten Months of Grief. 

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The past ten months have been the most challenging in my life. A parents worst nightmare is to have their child die, but the nightmare doesn’t end in that moment. Learning how to live after loss is unnatural and soul splitting. There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t cried or felt like my whole world was going to crash around me. On the other hand, there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t felt an immense amount of love I have for Jensen.

This whole journey is a learning experience and I don’t think there will ever be a day where I stop learning about loss and love. Today, for Jensen’s ten month day, I want to share with you ten things that have gotten me to this point in my grief journey.

Loss

I never knew loss before Jensen died. My grandmother passed away before I was two years old and I knew people and had pets that had died, but never had felt this deep loss. From the second I found out his heart had stopped beating, loss overwhelmed me and I didn’t even know how to process that feeling. Then there was the realization that I would forever live with the loss of Jensen. I mean obviously, right?

But at that second of finding out he was gone, my body would not allow me to understand that I would lose Jensen at all the stages. Sometimes I still don’t think I completely have come to terms with losing Jensen at older ages because I’m not there yet. At ten months, I know what it’s like to have loss from the moment he was supposed to be born until his ten month day. I relive that loss each and every day. The Jensen sized hole in my heart is with me with every step and I can literally see him with each step I take.

Loss isn’t ‘fun’ to learn, but I’ve been forced to do so.

Pain

Immense. Abundant. Heaps. Endless. Masses. Enormous. Infinite. Never-ending.

All those words that could describe the oceans amount of pain I have felt. Even with those words, I would still say there’s more. Then with each wave of pain I get, it stings somehow harder than before. This type of pain is mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical. It is so exhausting to keep fighting this pain and not just succumb to it. Yeah, there is days where it hurts so much I just lay there and take it.

I almost wish this pain was visual, so others could see it coming on to me. There’s only so many ways to describe it, but if it was my leg bleeding out I feel like others would run over to stop the bleeding. There’s no way for others to really ease this pain.

Longing

Just like with loss, I have never felt longing before. Of course there was times I missed my mom and dad when I was away, but I knew I would see them soon enough. There was never a doubt that I would see them and all that missing them would just fall away. This isn’t the case with my longing for Jensen.

I long to see him smile and to hear his laugh. I long to feel his hand squeeze mine. I long to know what his first word would have been. I long to learn the schedule we would have had. I long to read to him one more time. I long for him every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep.

With each new place I go, knowing he’ll never go there, I long for him to experience it with me. I feel as if I’m just being introduced to longing and it will continue to grow as the years pass.

Grief

Sucks…

Just throwing that out there. It really does though. Grief sucks you in and it decides when to throw you out. It’s like a huge black hole and who knows what you’re going to feel when you’re trapped inside.

Is it depression, anxiety, PTSD, or all of them at once? Will it be me feeling completely numb or feeling everything?

Grieving is hard for anyone in any situation. I hate that I have to be a mother grieving her son. It’s not fair, like most things in our world, but this really isn’t how it should be.

Tears

They sound self-explanatory, but I can tell you all the different tears I’ve encountered in ten months. Heck, I’ll just tell you the tears that I’ve had in the past twelve hours.

Big droplets that form from holding them backs. Hurried sobs because you held them back. Silent ones that flow down your face as you try to sleep. Scattered ones from crying in your sleep and they have no idea where to go. The flood from when you open your eyes when you wake up and they just fall out. Then there’s the nameless ones that just are there and you work/live through them.

Heck, I could have filled a kiddie pool full of tears in the past twelve hours. Imagine the last ten months.

Support

I’ve had support all throughout my life, but I’ve learned that the best type of people support you through the worst of times. Through this ten months, complete strangers have become best friends and best friends have become complete strangers.

Support isn’t trying to fix what is wrong. It isn’t necessarily making everything better for the person in pain. Support is listening and letting the person know you’re always there for them. It’s being their greatest cheerleader and seeing the progress on a day where it feels like you’ve fallen way off track.

Most of all (with child loss) it’s remembering their son or daughter with them. It’s saying their and writing their names down, listening to the same stories, and never forgetting.

Smiles

Of course I knew what a smile was before Jensen died, but I never felt how good it could be to smile during grief. Just because you smile and feel happiness doesn’t mean the death of your child is forgotten or you’re happy they’re not here. You’re having a good moment and this smile just comes from the soul. It brightens your day and feels so much better on your face than just a frown and tears. Not that those frowns and tears are bad, but the smile does feel good.

On my bad days where I feel strength, I look for what makes me smile. Seeing Jensen’s face and his drawers full of his stuff makes me smile. Knowing his life means so much lights up my day. Leo and Poe’s antics make me laugh. The support I have can cheer me up and I know they love to see me smile. Seeing how far I’ve come and knowing I’m still taking steps towards living brings me a peaceful grin.

A (real) smile there is lightness throughout this black hole of grief.

Growth

This ones a little more difficult.

I long to see Jensen grow. On each of his month days, I wonder how much he would weigh and how long he would be. I’ve wondered when his first hair cut would have been. Honestly, I could go on and on with this. I won’t today, but you get the picture.

The growth I’m talking about here is the growth in myself. It’s how my strength has grown to not only take on the stresses of everyday life, but to also hold the weight in my heart. My voice has grown to be able to shout from the rooftops all about Jensen and the taboo of pregnancy and infant loss. I’ve probably grown in ways I don’t even know yet, but I feel it. There’s apart of me that screams that I could have grown these ways without Jensen dying, but I can’t change that. It’s not a good that has come from Jensen dying, it’s a positive that has grown through the grief I’ve had to endure.

Motherhood

It’s an invisible motherhood, but it’s my mine. I have been a mom since the moment I knew Jensen was inside of me and I’ll be his mother forever. No one will ever be able to take that away from me.

I’m still learning this type of motherhood, which is strange because it’s my only experience. Yet, I’m still here; being the best mom for Jensen I can be. I know it’s not the same as mothering a living child, but I still mother him in ways all moms mother their children. I have sleepless nights and I worry myself sick wondering if I’m doing all I can do for him. He is my motivation and even though I can’t see if he’s proud of me, I know, deep down, he is.

Love

It always comes back to love.

Throughout the good, the bad, and the ugly, love has always been right there. The love I have for Jensen will never cease. The love I have for my motherhood only grows stronger. My love smiling has come back. I love the support and my tribe of loss mamas. There’s a huge hate-love I have for grief, loss, and all the ‘bad’ that was listed above. I hate it because I don’t want it in my life, but I love to see how through these I’ve grown. Through these I’ve learned to love harder and greater. Would I give that all back to have Jensen? In an instant.

But I love this life I have been given. I love the fact that Jensen will always be intertwined in my everyday life. I love that he will forever walk with me. I love that I can share the love I have for him.


Happy ten months in heaven, my sweet boy. I hope you’re smiling down with your (not so) big ten month day sticker. The sun is shining and I know you’ve given me this day of renewal to keep on growing and to keep on loving. Everything I do, I do for you. I miss you. I love you.

Football Sunday.

While I was growing up, Sundays always meant football. We would hang out on the couch, eat, and watch games all day. My dad taught me all the hand motions and what position did what. I learned when to cheer and when to yell at the screen. Football was a big part of our family. It’s even how I ‘officially’ announced to my whole family. Little football socks and a note exclaiming: We’ll be getting another little football fan in April.

Jensen’s life was pretty surrounded by football as well. The day I found out we went to a preseason game. On Friday nights we went to watch my high school play under the lights. We went to a few Steelers game throughout the winter. He kicked every time I cheered, but never an uncomfortable kick. I paced around watching the Steelers play the Bengals last year and yelled at the screen. His tapping of his feet calmed me down. I unintentionally picked the Super Bowl champs colors for his nursery, even after my dad said he should have had a Steelers room. But most importantly, every Sunday of last season, I sat and watched the games with him like I did growing up.

We talked about the game just like always and in my mind I hoped he was listening, getting all the answers early on.

There’s certain days throughout grief where you know it’s going to be hard; like Tuesdays and the fifth of every month for me. Then there are other days, where it pushes you on the ground. Days where you don’t think it will bother you as much and yet that hole in your heart seems to just scream out at you. Those are Sundays for me. The ones where I’m watching the game and my family is surrounding me. Yet, there isn’t a little boy dressed in black and yellow crawling all around. My dad will never be able to teach Jensen all the calls and let him know when to yell at the refs. I’ll never be asked to buy him so-and-so’s jersey. Heck, I don’t even know what team he’d really love (even though I think he’d like the Steelers as well).

When I woke up this morning, I was looking forward to tonight’s game. It’s given me something to focus on other than this intense grief I have each and every day. I went into his room and sat on the futon when I first woke up. Sitting there I realized how instead of just sitting there, I would be dressing him in a little sweat outfit. We’d do our daily routine and head over to my parents house. Then it’d be like all those Sundays I had always had. The Sundays I dreamed of Jensen having during football season.

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I think about how different this picture should be. How there should be a smiling (almost) ten month old in this picture or someone taking a picture of me holding him. We’d probably be matching. He’d probably roll his eyes at me when he would be older with all the pictures I’d have taken of him by then, even more if we were matching. In these little moments I never have, I can smile. I smile of knowing he was able to experience parts of this life I wanted him to while his was growing inside of me. Imagining his happiness makes me smile. Knowing he wants me to smile on these days full of grief, makes me want to smile for him.

Jensen, I hope you’re shouting ‘Go Steelers’ while waving a huge, bright yellow Terrible Towel today and that you come to sit beside me on their couch. I would do anything to have just one Sunday of football with you, but I know I’ll find moments today full of you. Those are the moments I live for.

A Very (Dreary) Christmas Eve.

Last year, Jensen woke me up with his kicks that grew stronger each and every day. I can vividly remember talking to him while rubbing my belly and imagining how very different the next Christmas would be. My thoughts went to him standing with the help of the couches while he tried to stumble over the lights of the Christmas tree. We would make cookies and he would lick the icing. The rest of our family would come over and he would play with his second cousins. I would read to him in a whisper when his bedtime would come. Prompting him to dream so very sweetly for when he would wake, he would find Santa had carefully placed presents under the tree he had been so amazed with the week before. Each present would wait for him to try to open them. I imagined this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with so much happiness and love just as I had while I grew up.

Instead, this Christmas Eve is nothing like that.

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I knew this year would mark a change of how I would celebrate Christmases, but I never could imagine them being filled with tears. Honestly, I didn’t know there could be this much sorrow through the holidays. My brain would never have been able to wrap itself around the fact that babies could die and instead of a house with a bustling eight month old, it would be empty. Stockings were not hung and there are no presents underneath the tree for Jensen or I.

For the past eight months, I almost always say how hard this is on me and for all the people who are missing their loved ones. It is so exhausting. My body is completely run down and this morning I woke up with no voice and a sore throat. Awesome. I’ve been a little sick since I’ve been home from vacation, which makes me feel horrible since I haven’t downloaded all the beach pictures and the babies names in the sand. Seriously, I feel like a hole in this tightly woven net of the moms in the baby loss community. I don’t want to blame this on Jensen and his absence, but it’s engulfing me. There isn’t anything I want more than to have him in my arms and since I can’t have that, I just want to sleep for years on end. Hence why I haven’t got much done this week.

In my last post I said that grief makes a person broken, but still functional. Then I ate my words. I’m not functioning right now. Autopilot has taken over so I don’t feel the sting of all these emotions at once. It’s why my body is run down and I haven’t gotten those pictures downloaded. My mind is focusing on the pain on my body and not how sad I feel. The names, although so beautiful and I feel so blessed to have helped all these mamas, it breaks me seeing all of them. I wanted to write a post about it when I posted them, but I feel like I have to say this now. With each name that I wrote and saw the waves take away, I kept thinking of the untouched sand after. Their names made such an impact while everyone walked along and read, but when it was empty…. It just bothered me. I wish I could engrave their names everywhere I go. Each are so important to me and knowing how much love is behind them all.

It just hurts. I hate that his name and his friends names were erased with the next wave. The erasing of his name reminds me of the lack of presents under the tree. How many times would his name be written if he was here? During December I had thought of just getting empty boxes, wrapping them up, and writing his name on the tag just to have there. Like it should be. It’s so hard to know how I envisioned it, but no one else can see. I’m stuck in these two realities.

I don’t like to talk about religion on here, but I want you all to know I’ve been praying for each of us. My heart is so heavy and just knowing my heart isn’t the only one that’s this heavy breaks me sometimes. I pray for us to have seconds of this pain easing. I pray for us to always see the light our children have shown us. I pray for us to feel the love we have for them and know they continuously send us their love as well. I pray for some peace of mind. There’s so many of us with questions that will always go unanswered and it really can drive you mad. Lastly, I pray for Jensen. I pray and pray and pray that he sees me doing my best. That even though I’ve cried enough to fill all the oceans in the world, it’s all because I love and miss him so very much.


As always, if any of you need to talk or just anything, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m always just a message away. I’d also like you to know that I’ll be thinking of you and our angels through these hard times. I promise you all that they will never be forgotten. And remember, do what you need to do for you! You are the one who has to go through this holiday season without your child. That is the hardest task anyone can go through. Be gentle on your heart and mind. You are never alone.

Back to December.

The month I’ve been actively avoiding has finally arrived and I’m terrified. I’ve honestly been putting off talking about how it’s here. It’s like if I don’t talk about it, then it’s not really here. It’s just hard. If December goes as quickly as November, I’ll be out of 2016. Out of the year Jensen was born in and into new waters. As hard as this past eight months has been, there was still so much love and happiness.

I just want to stay here forever, or at least on November thirtieth.

As we all know, December holds some pretty big events. We have Christmas, Advent, and the New Year. For me personally, I’m going on vacation, we found out big Jensen news this month, and it’s my first year decorating for the holidays. Jensen will also be apart of at least two Christmas ceremonies that I’m going to. They’ll definitely be sad, but I’m glad I can enjoy those events in remembering him with others. Most of all, it would be Jensen’s very first Christmas. There were so many things that I had planned for us and they just feel lost to me. Kind of like how I feel lost in December. The clash of grief and celebration should be ‘interesting’ to navigate. Such a horrible juxtaposition that no one should experience.

BUT, here I am. Although I’m doing this blindly, I am going to honor Jensen and this month in the best way I know possible. Starting with the Christmas tree.

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This month, I want to share certain ornaments on our tree and tell their meanings. There’s a lot of Jensen incorporated here, along with all Jensen’s friends gone too soon. I’m looking forward to telling you all about them.

I’m also planning something for my trip. We’re going to the beach in the middle of the month, but I want to bring Jensen and his friends with me. On Jensen’s Facebook page and probably on Instagram, I’m going to post to see if anyone would like to have their child’s name written on the beach. Hopefully I can get a lot of sunrise/sunset pictures to make it look beautiful! So, be on the lookout for that. I want to be able to just make an album on his page and tag people there. Or if you have loss mama friends, you can tag them on the post and on the picture when it’s up. Like I said before, I’ll talk about this more Monday or Tuesday.

With all that said, it’s going to be a pretty busy month. As always I love to share with you guys and keep you updated on this journey of loss and love. I’d also love for you guys to share some of your special ornaments or even your Christmas trees with me. It’s so nice to see how other’s honor their babies through grieving while trying to ‘celebrate.’

Just a reminder to everyone who’s having a hard time with the upcoming holidays. You’re NOT alone. Grieving through the holidays is so difficult to process. On the outside it looks like everyone is so excited for the big day, but you feel its eternal doom.

Feel how you need to feel. Cry, in front of everyone if you need to. Decorate or don’t. Recognize Christmas or any holiday you observe, or just act like it doesn’t exist. Do what you need to do to survive the holidays. There’s no right or wrong way. Let your heart lead you. No matter what, you’re not letting yourself, your family/friends, or your child down. They’re so proud that you’re surviving and doing the best you can.

If at anytime you need support, feel free to message me to talk or anything at all. I’m here for you just as I know you’re here for me.

Blank Insides.

I’ve been a little MIA this week with writing. If you’ve followed along with my journey, I moved into my house exactly eight weeks after Jensen was born and posted about those challenges here. I purchased the house a few months before I got pregnant and it was a complete fixer-upper. We rushed to finish it before he arrived, which we probably wouldn’t have even if he was born at forty weeks. Anyways, the whole pregnancy I designed his nursery, the living room he’d take his first steps, and the mudroom where I’d be able to watch him from the backdoor window.

Well this week, I’ve been working on getting everything organized and decorated in my home office. It’s been a BIG task for me. There’s so many work papers, supplies, and moving all the furniture  that I’ve done mostly by myself (My mom has been a huge help for me!). During this time, I’ve found old pictures and notes I wrote to myself during high school. It’s been fun to go through and try to remember those moments. I’ve had bad memory loss since Jensen was born, so it made the gears turn in my head. Which is both good in bad. When some good flashbacks come, the bad also slide in there. I’ve been handling it quite well actually.

BUT, as I just said, with the good comes the bad.

Today, I hit a box that was filled around my final weeks of pregnancy. Only, I didn’t know it had all of these memories piled in it. At first, it was certain clothes I wore during that time. Then the movies and TV shows I had watched in the last two months. All made me smile because those were happy items that I shared with Jensen. They helped me with my swollen feet and I can remember the shirts I wore to rub my belly and talking to him. Seeing these made my heart flutter, but I had to keep pushing through. This room would never get done with this box unpacked.

I had this mentality until I pulled the next thing out.

It was a tiny, black box with a clear cover over it. Being a stationary lover, I knew it was a box of cards. I thought I had organized all of my cards and put them away. When I opened it up, cards fell out onto the floor. As I began to reach down to pick them up, I froze when I saw what they were.

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Unwritten, baby shower thank you cards.

I bought them only twenty-days before Jensen’s silent arrival and hadn’t had time to write them out for the baby shower guests. Those final weeks were full of preparing and organizing diapers, lotion, and clothes from my shower. I figured I’d add a picture of Jensen and his details when he was born to send them out to everyone.

These were supposed to be happy cards filled with love and good news. Jensen and I were supposed to be using all those beautiful gifts and showing off his cute outfits to everyone.

Just as those cards remained unwritten, those gifts are still being unused.

Triggers aren’t always seeing happy, healthy babies with their moms or a glowing pregnant woman when you’re out and about. They can come in a small, black box of unwritten thank you cards in the comforts of home. Both take your breath away, they unsettle your very soul.


Hemingway once wrote this six-letter story:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

People say it’s the saddest sentence they’ve ever read. I agree, it’s sad and it is hell to live through. Today, I can tell you that saddest words are the ones that were never written. The thank you’s that were never sent out.

Their blank insides will forever haunt me.

So, Are You Back to Normal Yet?

 

It’s been thirty-two weeks today and I often wonder if this question will ever lessen its sting.

Truthfully, no in the normal most people know and quite frankly I don’t want that back.

I’m never going to be back to the ‘normal’ many of my friends and family knew me as before. Like any major trauma, losing Jensen has irrevocably changed my whole being and outlook on life. It’s hard to grasp that I’ll never be the same girl who was carefree and never thought any bad ‘things’ could happen to her. The girl who breezed through life and could let things roll of her shoulders is gone. That playful spirit was taken when I hit rock bottom, when those five, haunting words were spoken to me. So, no, I’ll never be her again, never the old-me of normal.

With that all being said, I never want that normal back without Jensen. Of course if he was here, there would different changes in my life, but not this. I wish I didn’t know child loss or this type of depression or this anxiety, but it’s my reality. Even though I focus on the struggle while I write, there’s so many other traits that make this new Danielle’s normal beautiful. Although I wish those things weren’t apart of my life, I also know admirable things about myself now. I know this type of love for a little human, who through all the tears makes me smile. I know strength, even when I feel weak. I know how painfully beautiful it is when the world crumbles around you. I know how perseverance feels, when I’m picking up all those crumbs. I know the deep pulling of sadness and how sweet happiness can feel when it comes. I know how precious life is. I know I can look at myself and see the body that created life. And I know that even death could never break the bond of mother and child.

Normal is different now. It sucks to that my new normal isn’t normal for everyone else. I can understand why that’s so hard to understand on the outside. Before, I wouldn’t be able to get it either. I wouldn’t understand seeing loss posts everyday or why I continue to write about Jensen, grief, and loss in general. Honestly, I’d probably think I was going crazy beforehand, but this is real.

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This is Danielle now. She is a mother to Jensen. She is grieving. Her heart is heavy and her mind is weary. This is her new normal. This is her screaming out and healing in the best way she knows. It’s her wanting to tell you all about Jensen and all the goodness in his life. She can smile through the pain. She can see the world and feel happiness and sadness both at the same time. Danielle carries her son in her heart and wants to share their story. This is not typically normal Danielle,  this is her trying her best to live after loss.

I challenge you to ask this question differently. Instead of asking if I’ve regained my normalcy, ask me how my new normal is going.


To my Jensen, happy thirty-second week in heaven. It’s another beautiful Tuesday you’ve sent me. I’m so proud of you and am so grateful for all the signs you continually send me. I will always carry you in my heart, untill I can have you in my arms. I miss you. I love you.

Six Ways to Honor Your Child this Thanksgiving.

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, there are a lot of anxious and sad feelings for loss parents. Many of us feel there isn’t much to be thankful for after losing our children. This results to a lot of people not participating in any previous holiday traditions and making their own. No matter what a person chooses, their decision should be welcomed with love and acceptance.

Although this is just a short list, I hope that it will allow me to feel Jensen’s presence and maybe help another mom and dad cope on Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving Day Craft or Graphic

When I was pregnant, I pinned a lot of crafts to do with Jensen on all of his first holidays. For Thanksgiving, I always planned on getting his footprint and making it into a turkey. It makes me sad that I can’t get Jensen’s seven month footprint for this craft, but I’m thankful to have his footprint from when he was born on my laptop. As much as I love free graphics offered in online support groups, I wanted it to be a little more personal. I was able to make a turkey with Jensen’s footprint using PowerPoint and some help from this website. It’s really adorable and I can’t wait to share it on Thanksgiving! (Maybe I’ll post a little sooner so you all can see.) Although you’ll see it then, it’s a clipart turkey with Jensen’s feet as feathers. Really personal and really cute. It’s important to me to still do all the crafts and things I had planned for his first year. Also, it’s a fun way to be creative and take your mind of things for a little bit. I’ll be looking forward to using that feature on PowerPoint to do more crafts for some upcoming holidays as well.

You could also do this craft with printing out their handprints or footprints and drawing/gluing feathers on the paper. There are no right or wrong ways with crafts and there are a ton of ideas on Pinterest.

Donate Food to a Local Food Bank or Food Drive in You Child’s Name

I imagined Jensen being a little gentleman and wanting to help. As I’ve said many times, I wanted him to volunteer his time and be able to help others in need. To honor a value I wanted to instill in my son, I’m going to donate food to the local boy scout food drive in his name, which is actually going on a few days before Thanksgiving. There are a lot of different food drivers going on this time of year and local food banks are always in need of food. So many people are not fortunate enough to be able to eat on Thanksgiving Day and how special would it be to give back in our child’s name. It brings happiness to the receiver, you, and your child’s memory. No matter how big or small your donation is, you’re able to help out at least one person. If you’d like to be able to include your child’s story, you can always add a graphic you did for Thanksgiving and put your story on the back. It’s just another way to talk about stillbirth, miscarriage, infant loss, and child loss in general.

Make Child’s Favorite Food for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thinking ahead to actually getting ready on Thanksgiving brings me a lot of anxiety. I’m not even sure if I’ll be brave enough to go to dinner. To bring Jensen in on the meal, I think it’d be really interesting to make one of his favorite foods. Whether that being macaroni and cheese or just drinking chocolate milk with dinner. It brings Jensen to the table and probably a lot of laughs with the crazy cravings a lot of us have during pregnancy. If you’ve lost an older child, you can make their favorite and talk about the times you made it for them. This idea can be carried out whether you’re going to a big family dinner or just having a small dinner with you and your partner (or for me, Leo and Poe). Also, it brings comfort. Speaking from my experience, whenever I’m feeling a little down I go and make chocolate milk. It reminds me of Jensen kicking and ends up making me smile. I feel like having that little part will bring that experience to everyone else as well.

I can imagine everyone drinking chocolate milk out of wine glasses during my family dinner. It’d definitely be a light moment.

Set an Empty Place Setting

My family doesn’t really have a formal Thanksgiving dinner, but I really like this idea. It actually shows to the people around us what we’re seeing in our minds. I know for me, I always am imagining what Jensen would be doing and although he’d probably just eat off my plate, he would still be there and eating with us all. This is very symbolic and I think like the previous idea, would be able to bring your child into everyone’s hearts that day. I know this one is kind of sad to think about that missing place setting, but it’s just another idea I liked and have heard about before. It’s really hard because it makes it ‘more real’ for everyone else. Just the image of loss is hard to grasp, but I think it would promote family members being supportive. This could also be a plate for all family members that are gone in case there are others that are grieving on this holiday.

Family Picture Including Your Child

Years ago, my family took a big family picture. Since then, there’s been more people to come into the family and obviously we’ve all grown. It’s nice to document those days, especially when everyone’s all together. After child loss, it’s hard to gather everyone when, again, we know there’s a huge part of our family missing. Our child can’t physically be there and have their picture taken, so it’s difficult for a loss mom and dad to want to take these pictures. But, I think it’s important to have them. If this is an option for you family, include your child in the ways you can. Whether it be their Molly bear, a framed picture, or any other remembrance item, include them in this. They’re present right there and I know it’s not the same as them being there, but they’re being remembered in that moment. It’s also another way to open conversation about how you’re doing on your grief journey and to talk about our children. We want them to be included on these big holidays and this one way to document it.

Plus, I love showing off Jensen bear. It would be the first time my family will feel Jensen’s weight. It’s special to be able to share that with everyone.

Start an “I’m Thankful For…” Conversation

Another challenging moment for loss parents on this THANKSgiving, is what we’re thankful for. Yes, I’m so thankful for Jensen and the thirty-eight weeks and two days I had with him, but he died. I mean there’s really no other way to explain. Other than the time and memories I have with him, I haven’t been thankful for much else this year. There’s little things like bluebirds and dancing flames, but it’s hard. I’ve heard it doesn’t really easier during the holidays years out as well. Yet, this is a moment we can honor them. Say out loud we’re thankful for our child and death cannot spoil everything. Death cannot take away the time we had with them and I’m thankful for that. Going along with the theme, this is a way to talk about our child without adding death and grief in, which lets our support people know we still are happy to talk about them. That it’s okay to talk about our children and there’s way more to their lives than death. It could be another way of talking about the community and the others ways you’re honoring your child during the holiday season. I think our families might surprise us and let us know that they’re thankful for our babies too.


I hope you’re able to use some of these ideas or come up with new traditions this Thanksgiving. If you do, please share with me. I’m always looking for ways to honor Jensen and survive the holidays without him.

I’d also just want to let you all know, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need support this coming week (and anytime really!), that I’m here for you. We’re a strong community that are always supporting each other. Especially when we need it the most.

As much as I’m thankful for Jensen, I’m thankful for all of you too.

Happy Anniversary.

Today is a very special day for my family.

Twenty-four years ago, two people declared their love, said their vows, and walked through the doors a young, married couple. Their love story began years before and even survived through a war. Their story was exciting and now they were going to embark on their biggest one yet. Nine short months later, they brought home a baby girl and then sixteen months after that, a baby boy. As their children grew, they were able to teach them what true love really looked like. Even through the ups and downs, they were there to support each other because true love never fails.

Everyday of each year they would make sure to give their children everything they could, but they also taught them something special every seventh of November. Their anniversary was always their big day. They could take those twenty-four hours and make it the best they could for each other. No matter how many Sweetest Days or Valentines Days they missed, their would always be presents on their anniversary. If not presents, little getaways where they could really focus on each other. This taught the children that love really is special and worth it once you have it.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m of course speaking of my parents; Jensen’s grandma and grandpa.

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Last year for their anniversary, I gifted them with little football booties and a grandparents sign. It was the moment we could all freely talk about the little life growing inside of me with all of us knowing. Of course, mom and dad already had known, but Logan did not. I can just see the pure joy in their eyes when I recall that moment. The little football booties sat in their bookcase for the longest time (we had to put them up because of their puppy dog) and the sign is still there. Everything felt like it was on track, that life was going how it needed to be. I remember thinking of how Jensen and I were going to be able to make them their gift the next year.

From then to now, a lot has obviously changed with me, but their love has carried on.

I’m sure this year has been one of the hardest on them. With the mix of grieving their grandchild and not knowing how to help their daughter, it has to be complicated for them. They helped so much during my pregnancy with getting things for Jensen and helping me finish my house. Every time my dad would talk, Jensen would listen intently. He would kick then when he started talking he would stop then start back up again when my dad would finish. When he was born, mom and dad were there and they got to see and hold Jensen. They protected my heart, helped me plan his funeral, and have supported me through my grief and Anthony leaving. No matter how hard it has been for me, they’ve been right there.

There is no way I could thank my parents enough. My whole life, I’ve only ever known my parents being in love. Of course there were hard times, but love prevailed. It really helped me know what kind of relationship I wanted to strive for. They are able to lean on each other and support each other in parenthood. No only that, but as I just said, they’ve made me the person I am today. They both made me want to be the as amazing as they were to Jensen. I wanted to give him everything I could, just as they did. They are my mentors, role models, and most of all my loving parents.

This year was different from I thought it would be. They still were given a handmade gift from me and I even think Jensen put his little touch on there; a smudge that looked a lot like baby angel wings. Instead of holding Jensen, Jensen bear was held and loved on. We were able to talk about the past, the future, and of course Jensen. I wish he would’ve been there, stealing the show and in some ways he still does. There was the obvious missing piece, but there we were. Able to smile, cry, and celebrate their twenty-four years of marriage and all that comes with it.

Happy twenty-four years of marriage, Mom and Dad. You’ve given me the very best and I know how much Jensen loves you both.