Another October

October. The month of magic, and crisp autumn leaves. When goblins, ghouls, and ghost stories come out to play. I woke this morning, and stood under the old tin roof – listening to the rain. The hillside our house is nestled in is vibrant with colour. I took a long, deep breath, hoping the tranquility around me may soothe my restless soul. October is my favourite month, but it also lays heavily on my heart. When I close my eyes and remember October 2018 – it feels as though I’m watching another life entirely. How heart wrenching it is to acknowledge these last 2 years as reality. To bear the honest truth of our life, and our grief. To wake with such a heavy heart despite the beauty of the life we’ve built from the rubble. It is another October, and despite the true joy this season brings for me, there is an emptiness that I don’t believe will ever be fixed. And it all honesty, it shouldn’t be.

I am sleepwalking on an ocean of happiness I cannot baptize myself in” – Sabrina Benaim

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. It also marks Addison’s birthday. There is still such a surreal feeling to this loss. Still the ever constant belief that there is a way to “wake up” from this nightmare. The never ending hope, and disappointment that this may have all been a terrible dream. Yet, here we are. Another October. Another month further from you. Try as I might, I cannot seem to truly describe the weight and feelings that come with this never ending ache. I often find myself still searching for answers. For the “reason” behind her death. For the sign that was missed. For the logic to it all. But in my heart, I know that will never come. We are the 1 in 4. The ones talked about in hushed voices. Met with looks of sadness, or pure ignorance depending on the situation. There was nothing about her death that didn’t become public knowledge. That was in part a result of “small town life”, but also on my own account. I refuse to erase her, and I refuse to allow others to come to their own uninformed conclusions. We are the 1 in 4. And there was nothing we could have done, that we weren’t already doing, that could’ve changed things. We are the 1 in 4. Her death, was nothing but a cold statistic – a reality possible for anyone – SIDS doesn’t care who you are, or what your life is like. It doesn’t care that the angel it comes to steal, is your entire world. It happens quietly. Without warning, or reason. A rarity I allowed my own anxiety to disregard – “It won’t happen to us”. I told myself, just as thousands of others do. But it did. And it does. We are the 1 in 4.

“In French, you don’t say “I miss you”. You say “Tu me manques” – which means, “You are missing from me”.

There isn’t an inch of my soul that doesn’t feel your absence. No piece of my heart unaware of this pain. As time passes, it doesn’t get “easier” as people may tell you. Time cannot heal all wounds. There are some things in life that cannot be fixed, they can only be carried. Loss like this is one of those. Time continues, but here we stand. My heart still rooted to yours. It never gets easier, but I am learning how to experience it differently. Some days, I feel like an archeologist, slowly unearthing these different layers of grief. Careful not to expose them to too much light, or noise – while I study that which has been buried. I keep learning new ways to navigate the hole in my soul, trying to ensure I’m tethered somewhere light and lovely, as to have somewhere to go back to once the darkness sets in. You see, this is heart work. There is no way around it, you must continue to feel through it. And my goodness, how these feelings crash like waves in an angry ocean. The archaeologist lifts a layer carefully, examining and cataloging its’ contents. Trying to determine its’ origin – but here, the origin is always you. The archeologist treads lightly, careful not to leave any footprints or marks upon the soul. You see, I am the archeologist. But I am also the excavation site. It is me trying desperately to find a way through the dark tunnels and caverns that enclose my heart. It is always me, searching for the answer or the understanding. And I suppose, with grief like this, there’s not much else I can do but study what is left behind. You see, loss is not about learning to live without someone – it’s really learning to live with the love they left behind.

“What I’ve learned, is that you cannot escape your grief. You can try to drown it in distractions, kill it with your vices, or even pretend like it isn’t there – but you cannot escape it. Eventually, it will spring back out of its’ secret hiding place and demand that you stand and face it.” – Beau Taplin

The love that rests in our hearts for you, can outweigh the darkness tenfold. But it cannot bring you back to me, despite each way I’ve cried for it to. It cannot change circumstance, or alter time. Regardless of our deepest desires, there is no magic in death. It isn’t a topic discussed for the dead, but one left for the living to stumble through in despair. You see, Addison is by far the greatest lesson in love I have ever experienced. How love holds no boundaries such as time and distance. How one soul can split, connected to another in ways that cannot be explained. I feel her still, here in a house that she’s never lived in. In the whispers from early winds, and deepness of the starry nights. I hear her most in the silence, as the crickets sing into the emptiness. I spend more time talking to the stars than most, trying to listen for the answers that I won’t ever receive. Last year, I shared our story of that day. Riddled with pain, and a longing for others to hold tightly to their loves, to understand this reality. This weight we carry, with the hope that no one else should need walk this path behind us. With a desperate desire that one day, someone will learn the true “answer” in all of this. That SIDS will be understood, and preventable. That even it’s name may offer some solace and explanation that it currently doesn’t hold. I will forever wonder who she would be. What our life may have been like. I wonder over all the tomorrows that I believed would exist. A lifetime worth of love, packaged densely into an unfair timeline. We don’t get a time stamp for life. This love has taught us the truth, and the value of time. Nothing is guaranteed.

“I will wait for you beyond the stars. For you see, perhaps those aren’t just stars. Perhaps they are the light of the ones we love, letting us know they’re happy.” – Proverb

When you lose a baby, you don’t just lose them in that instant and it’s done. No. You also lose the 1, and 2, and 10 and the 16year old she would have become. You lose Christmas mornings, and first steps. You lose prom night, and their wedding day. You lose every minute you imagined you’d have with them. It is a haunting lifetime of wonder. And I will always search for you. Your death is the tragic truth that beauty can hide deep pain. Just because we carry it well, doesn’t mean it is not heavy. It does not mean that our lives have continued forward without her. She is here. She is in every breath I take, and every song I hear. She is never missing from our hearts. And I would do it all over again, just to have those moments. The beautiful six months. Not nearly long enough, but more than enough love to last a lifetime. You see, the sun still rises in the East and sets in the West. The moon still orbits the Earth, and the flowers still bloom and die with the seasons. It’s just another October: but your footprints won’t ever fade from the lives you touched.

“I will wait for you beneath the willows, when the stars dance across the sky. My sweet girl, my heart aches in your absence. How much I long to hold you. If my love alone could have saved you, you’d be here still. I’d trade my soul a thousand times to bring you back to Earth. I am so sorry, that we must love like this. Across the boundaries of space and time. But I promise you this: For as long as my heart continues to beat, I will carry you with me. Each day – until I hold you in my arms again. With so much love, Mama.

Looking Back

Somedays, I am overflowing with words. I write until my soul feels rested. But other days, the pen barely touches the paper before my mind closes – I have no words for how we feel, no stories I feel need to be shared. The truth is, I write about our experience because it heals me – but I do not owe anyone a personal look into our lives. No one is owed the deep details, no one has a right to use our pain and the beauty in our lives against me. And yet, each time, there is always that one. The one person who feels they have the right to pry into my soul and try to unearth those feelings that I have not shared. This is a reminder to all: we are allowed privacy. Just because I choose to write about us, does not give anyone the right to our deepest thoughts or feelings – nor does it entitle anyone to believe I owe this to them. This is our truth. It is our life, sometimes beautiful, sometimes painful – but it is ours. And I will share only what I choose to. Nothing more: I do not owe you anything. I write solely for my own desire to heal, and to share with those who may relate or may be walking down this road behind us.

“Remember: your words can plant gardens, or burn whole forests down” – Emma Troy

There is something silently beautiful about this art form. The way words can become an inexhaustible source of magic, of healing, or truth. Sometimes, being a writer is both a blessing and a curse – with so many intricate ways to describe events and feelings, it becomes difficult at times to even express oneself. But never in my life have my own words betrayed me, they have never made the task of navigating through life more difficult- just sometimes harder to explain.

I have been holding my breath for what feels like eternity. The bubbling anxiety that I hold just below the surface catches in my throat at times, overwhelms me to the core. I have been holding my breath – waiting for the other shoe to drop – waiting for the pain, for someone or something to snatch away the happiness we have created. But it hasn’t come. Instead, we continue to move forward together. We continue to tackle each day, and each obstacle with the love in our hearts that has carried us here. Today, Charlotte is 6 months & 19 days old. And it has taken me time to finally look back on these months together. To reflect on the joy and gift it is to be here, with her. To watch her grown, to help her experience the beauty that this world has to offer.

“She was not fragile like a flower. No. She was fragile like a bomb”

Our second child is officially older than her sister. Older than our first. We stand at the foot of a glorious mountain, overlooking all the possibilities that may be in store – and I take a breath. For what feels like the first time in months, I exhale – not out of serenity, but more out of necessity. We have made it past the beginning of the end. We have stepped out of the shadows, still broken, but willing to believe that good may still come. You see, there is something that changes inside you when you have a child. I don’t know if it’s hope, a streak of optimism, or just the fact that you hold your heart in your arms, but something changes. Things change even more so when you lose a child. We will never be the same people we were before – nor should we be. It has taught us to be present, to love unconditionally, to hold each moment close. But it has also taught us to be vigilant. To be standing at the ready, prepared to fight for our lives and what we have built back up from the rubble.

I do not have the luxury of imagining the future. I try and stay here, in this moment, and treat our time with Charlotte as a gift that we are not guaranteed. Because I have to. It is much too easy to look at your children and see the next 50years of their lives – and I have learned not to do that. For once before, they handed me my heart to hold in my arms, and I imagined every occasion, every moment the future could hold – the ability to dream like that was taken from me when Addison was. There is just no way to look ahead to special moments that may not become reality, without becoming fearful that they’ll never exist. So we live here, in these moments. Embracing each joy, each laugh, every tear that may fall. All of it.

It’s easy for others to judge this logic. To tell me how I “should” be handling this. To inform me that I “should be grateful” for every opportunity I have to watch Charlotte grow up… And I am, don’t get me wrong. I view each new day with her as a miracle. But that doesn’t change the glaring absence in our lives. The truth is, there is ALWAYS a hole in our family – someone who was supposed to be here with us, but isn’t. And that doesn’t change, no matter the time that passes – Addison is ALWAYS missing. Each morning, when I wake to Charlotte, I am reminded that there should be two little girls running around our home. It’s unavoidable. It’s not a negative outlook, but rather our reality. I can not remove the truth of our lives to make it more convenient for others. And I won’t. Every instance that I miss her, gives me a moment to remember her as well. Her laugh. Her smile. The wholeness she brought to me. She will always be a part of me, no matter how much time has passed. She will always be the girl who made me a mama. I urge everyone to consider your words carefully when you approach this topic with grieving parents. Before you open your “privileged” mouths to tell me how grateful I should be for Charlotte, for my “living children” – I ask you to take a look at your own children, and tell me which one you could live without. See? Not so easy. I don’t say this to be mean, rather to point out something that is so often said without thought. Just because we carry it well, doesn’t mean it is not heavy. It is a privilege to watch your children grow older – it truly is. And I’m every moment I hear others complain about it, my heart hurts. They don’t realize that watching them grow older is better than not having them grow up at all.

“I don’t pay attention to the world ending. It has ended for me many times, and began again in the morning.” – Nayyirah Waheed

The current state of the world has pushed me further into the wild. Further away from the sharp tongues and wickedness of others, and closer to the Earth. Social media has become a place I avoid, and cannot enter without becoming frustrated by the human race. I loath it. I can no longer mindlessly scroll through to check up on friends as I am never not met by some idiocy, chanting and screaming for things that go against basic human rights. This belief that humans must “earn” their right to be alive, to take up space. The state of the world, and our country maddens me. It hurts my soul to see the evil perpetrated, or to watch humans raised to hate others solely for being different. This is not the world I wish to raise my children in. Where we care so little about the lives of others, where society is focused more on material wealth than on the lives of those who need help. How hate has become the main focus, and I know many will argue this view: but the reality is, there is nothing about the current state of things that isn’t fuelled by hatred and greed. We as humans are the most invasive species on the planet and we will destroy everything for our own gain. Just watch the news. Actually no, don’t watch the news: listen. Listen to the cries of those who are hurting. Who are hated. Who are fighting just for their right to be here. It hurts my soul that somehow we have drifted so far from the things that matter. Some will say that social media is to blame, but in reality: those in power have controlled the media for decades. What they hate about social media is our ability to share information outside their controlled channels. Suddenly we can see and hear that which has been hidden from us. And we don’t like what we see. That’s why there’s a cry for change.

“I plant roots so deeply in the people I love, that I always lose a piece of myself when they go” – Beau Taplin

I believe that people enter our lives for either a reason, a season, or a lifetime. There are few who fall into that lifetime category – few who are willing to sit down and stay for the real. For the mess. For the hurt, and the heartache. Many wish to be present for the highlight reels, but disappear when things are ugly, or painful. This has been ever so true in our lives. I only need one hand to acknowledge those who stayed when shit got hard. Who continued to be a part of our lives, when we were angry and sad. Who sat right down in our mess and were willing to wait out the storms. You see, most people are uncomfortable with grief. After the acceptable “first two months” I watched as slowly those who couldn’t handle our truth and pain stopped coming around. We did not have the energy or ability to put on a face and hide our truth.

The truth is, losing a child is devastating. Our entire world shattered, and those who couldn’t or wouldn’t accept us exactly as we were that day, slowly got left behind. False friends are those who are willing and ready for the celebratory moments, but disappear when life gets real. We got handed a whole pile of pain – and after the “acceptable” time had passed, people grew tired of our sadness and struggle. As if we should be “better” or fixed. The reality is, you can’t fix child loss. There’s no logic to apply to it. You can’t cry it away, or pray it away, or “snap out of it”. No matter what, our family is always achingly incomplete. Those who backed away from Addison as a topic, who were uncomfortable in the mention of her name, became people we don’t often see. I refuse to allow others discomfort to erase her. Yes, my child died. But she also lived – and that is equally as important. She left a mark on this world, and on our hearts – no matter how brief her time here with us was. She was here.

On Raising a Rainbow 🌈

Charlotte is rolling around on our couch as I write this. Constantly snatching at toys, blankets, the dog – really whatever is in her reach. Her ability to interact with her surroundings has developed exponentially in the past few months, and it is such a privilege to watch her learn and explore. Each moment with her is beautiful (yes, even the three hours of crying she did yesterday) because we get to bear witness to her growth. It is a privilege, raising little humans. A privilege too many take for granted. A privilege to be a part of this little girls journey – you see, we wish not to shape her. Not to influence her to be “what we want” rather let her grow and develop her own loves and interests. To bear witness to her strength. There is nothing I don’t love about being mama. About being the guide on this journey of discovery, of love, of beauty. We only wish to raise children who are in love with the Earth, and gentle to its’ creatures. Who will grow up believing in the beauty of their own magic.

“You cannot raise your children like your parents raised you, because they raised you for a world that no longer exists”

The world is different now than it has ever been. It becomes harder and harder to do what is best for your children and family without the rest of the world’s criticism. Each time I bring my child into a store, I am criticized for not caring for her health and safety, and yet, each time I leave her sleeping in the car (AC on and locked obviously) I am scolded for not caring for her health and safety. There is no way to win in the eyes of judgement. This is why we have stepped back. I still share updates of Charlotte, but am incredibly selective of those who get to have time and influence on her. We wish not for those who wish to shower her in presents and useless plastic crap that will sit forgotten – we wish for those who wish to share their presence with her. To share their experience, to spend time with her rather than money on material things. We wish to raise her in a way that allows her to create, to explore, and to be loved. Time matters much more to us than things do. We have had a beautiful six months. Filled with laughter and tears, we now enter into a string of “firsts” that we never had the privilege of experiencing with Addison. It is a strange feeling to be experiencing firsts, when Charlotte is our second child. It hurts my heart somedays when I think of all the little moments that Addison never got to have – like crawling, walking, popping teeth. I often imagine how it would have felt to hear her say “Mama”. But I know that she is always with me. Every minute, of everyday- she is a part of my heart and nothing can take that away.

Charlotte loves to stand on her own now – fiercely stubborn, but easily frustrated when she tries to crawl forwards and ends up moving backwards. We watch as she interacts with our furry friends in amazement – the connection they have. Our overexcited boxer Pyper, who moves slowly and calmly as she plays with Charlotte. Our cat(dog) Tucker, who sits patiently and allows her to “pet” aka grab him. They seem to understand that she is small. And they protect her, and love her. It is beautiful to watch. She crawls, plays, laughs, and smiles. Already you see her determination and fierce love shine through. And I know, we have a beautiful angel watching over her too.

To lose a child, is to be haunted with a lifetime of wonder. And to be a good mother, while a large part of me is breaking, is one of the hardest roles I have ever had to play. The truth is, I will never understand the why – there isn’t one. I carried you before I held you, and I will carry you still. All my love, today, tomorrow, and forever”

“Get that out of your mouth!” – COVID-19 & Kids

Disclaimer: This blog post is written entirely from my own perspective and experience with the current COVID-19 pandemic. It is not meant as a generalization, as I understand every family is different. My experience includes my personal reflection on having a baby during a pandemic, and what it is like as a parent of young children right now. It includes a glimpse into the interactions we have within our social bubble/social distancing, and the opinions of other mamas I am close with. It is a personal reflection.

75300809-473F-4E38-89C1-7C2D855C84EBThe world is exploding right now. Each day I awake to news regarding COVID-19 numbers, mask orders, etc. alongside the ever important #BlackLivesMatter human rights movement that has woken the world up to the injustices being perpetrated. It is a frightening time to be human, as uncertainty is never our strong suit. It both seems like just yesterday, but also like 10 years have passed since wildfires raged across Australia in January. I watch in frustration as people dig in their heels against social distancing measures, and compare wearing a mask to having their freedom stripped 🤦🏻‍♀️ I am outraged by those who have shifted their perspective as if the danger has passed.

Historically, pandemics always have a second wave. But, we are living in unprecedented times: there is hardly anyone alive today who lived through the Spanish Influenza pandemic in the 1920s. We have no comprehensive history to look back on to help us decide what to do. Research and data are constantly developing and changing as we learn more: This is the point of science. To learn, to further our understanding of things, and develop preventative measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19. That’s the goal at this point: how can we minimize the impact of COVID-19? How can we protect the vulnerable?

The idea itself is simple: Wear a mask (if you are medically able) when you are in enclosed public spaces and when social distancing is a challenge. In my understanding, this approach applies the same concept as herd immunity does with a vaccine. If the majority of the population is “vaccinated” (WEARING A MASK) it will minimize the viruses ability to spread quickly, lowering our case numbers and protecting our vulnerable population.

No one is saying you are stuck in a mask 24/7. No one is stripping your freedoms from you – you are free to come and go as you please. Consider stores “wear a mask policy” the same as “no shoes, no shirt, no service” – no mask, no entry. No one is up in arms that they have to wear a shirt at the store…


Raising young children at any time is a challenge. Infants, particularly newborns have very little immune systems. They are still developing, and are not yet vaccinated for serious communicable diseases. In recent years, outbreaks of the measles have caused huge problems for those with newborns – and have created a ripple of fear in parents. The ability to chose to not vaccinate leaves our communities with large vulnerabilities. It’s a well known fact that children are tiny germ factories: it’s why we all know to expect a cold/flu to rage through our homes in mid September/October, just after the kiddos return to school – it happens every year. That’s why it’s so much harder with children right now.

When Charlotte was born, we were right in the middle of typical “cold & flu” season. We were extra cautious, and kept her visitors at a minimum to protect her health. One month later, the COVID-19 pandemic began – and the uncertainty swept over the country. Children were pulled from school. The country closed its borders and suspended international travel. Businesses closed and people began working from home in crazy situations, trying to kept some semblance of normal in lives.

Raising children during a pandemic is like  trying to keep wild wolf cubs indoors. There’s a lot of pent up energy, and no where for it to go. There’s confusion, sadness, stress, and frustration. It’s a broken-record of “Don’t touch that”, “keep your distance”; “we can’t go to the hospital right now”. At 4 months old, everything that isn’t tied down goes directly in Charlotte’s mouth. It’s unavoidable: meaning – everywhere we go, everything we touch has to be disinfected. The people in our circle have been selected carefully, we don’t have a choice; We have to trust the ones who come into contact with Charlotte. We have to trust that they are diligent in hand washing, because it doesn’t matter how many times we try and stop her: ITS GOING IN HER MOUTH. Your hand, her hand, my hand, toys, car seat straps – whatever it is, it’s in her mouth. And that is a terrifying fact, considering how COVID-19 is spread. We have no control over that, but we do have control over who interacts with her closely.

“I live in a madhouse run by a tiny human army I made myself”

^^ the definition of being a mom. I thank my lucky stars each day for the two girls who walk this path with me. The age range of our children goes from 4months to 7 years – and we have many different experiences to share with each other. These girls are my sanity. My rocks. The ones who both laugh with, and cry with me. We get to watch our children grow together, and help each other raise good humans. Because that’s the goal: it’s not about “who is the best mom” – it’s about, raising children who are kind, loving, accepting – in a world that so often influences them not to be.

We are navigating this crisis together .We stand alongside each other, as we try to determine what the right step to take is.  Children are not the best at hygiene. Despite constant reminders, kids still touch things they shouldn’t. It’s not a conscious rebellion, just not something they’re used to having to consider. I watch as Sophie and Chael play together, and I am grateful they have each other to maintain some kind of normalcy. It is a strange time to live in. It’s a heartbreaking moment to watch Sophie, a kind and gentle (almost) 5 year old, skirt around Charlotte’s car seat when we arrive. It’s hard to explain why we can’t let her hold Charlotte, when her huge heart so desperately wants to. Last week, we let her touch Charlotte’s feet – and her face broke into a smile like I’ve never seen. Life is hard. Being a mom is hard. Being a kid is hard. It’s just hard.

It’s difficult to explain what’s going on it the world right now. Most adults don’t seem to understand the limited information we do have, and trying to explain it in a way 5-7year olds will understand is a challenge. It doesn’t make sense for them. This virus isn’t something tangible for them. They’ve been out of school since March, and at this point there is a lot of confusion and concern surrounding what September will bring. Explaining why they can’t see friends, teachers, or go to school is hard. They have no routine. It’s to be expected by now that everyone’s children are running a little wild 😜

The greatest gift we have received from this situation, is the time we have gotten to spend as families. Despite the stress this pandemic is causing, it has also allowed people to take a step back into the natural world, and focus on their family. We talk about “things getting back to normal” when in reality, our old “normal” was never working. We were an overworked, over stressed society focused on capital gains, sacrificing quality time for work requirements without flexible solutions. Suddenly, overnight – flexible work options have been created, so why would we consider our old normal something to strive for?

“Mama Bear is such a sweet way to describe the fact that I’ll tear you open and eat your insides if you hurt my child”

I laugh at the validity of the statement above: I am without a doubt, a Mama Bear. Chael and I often laugh when I remind him not to play rough/throw things near Charlotte. There’s a good natured joke that if something hits the baby, I hit whoever threw it. I would never actually do it, but sometimes being straight up and blunt is the best method  – he completely understands the fact that there are consequences to his actions. And because of this, he adjusts his actions and is more aware in his environment.  He is careful and slow around Charlotte, which is saying something for a kid who doesn’t  sit still often.

You see, for me (and most mamas) our babies are our biggest treasure. Charlotte is a miracle – a surprise we didn’t know we needed. And I hold her as such. She is a precious gift we were given, in a time when the world had lost all colour. Losing Addison gives me, as a mother, an in-depth, and frightening truth that we are guaranteed nothing. So I hold my child like I only get today with her. I protect her  and worry about her in ways that are sometimes a bit insane – but that is the truth in being a mama. I worry for her health and safety normally, and this pandemic is like putting a jet-pack on. Sure – COVID-19 doesn’t typically affect young children and babies – but the reality is, we really just don’t know that much yet.

It takes a village to raise a child – and we are building our village from the ground up – arming Charlotte’s corner with people who want the best for her, and are ready to help her navigate life’s challenges. In a world so focused on materialistic things, we strive to fill Charlotte’s life with experiences and love, rather than things. When we don’t fully understand situations, we seek out those who have better insight. We educate ourselves in regards to human rights, and understand that Charlotte is a little human in a big scary world right now. We are arming her corner with people who will support her. Dream with her. I never understand when people shame kids for having a meltdown occasionally. They are just little humans trying to navigate big feelings – and it’s our job as parents to help them figure out their feelings, and be the calm – not add to their chaos.

COVID-19 has definitely changed our experience with Charlotte – it is not at all what we expected. All those things we would take for granted, like family visits and support with a newborn – they didn’t get to happen as much. Hell, we still can’t get together to recognize her Godparents, because our base family unit is 12 people. Reality is such a strange and ever changing place currently. But we hold strong together. We laugh together. We vent, we cry, we clean, – wherever this pandemic takes us – we stand ready to help each other navigate the waves.

“Your kids require you, most of all, to love them for who they are. Not spend the whole time trying to correct them” – Bill Ayers

I feel that overall, this pandemic provides an additional challenge for parents – regardless of the age of your child. Whether you were a stay-at-home parent, or working shift work & using daycare: it really doesn’t matter. Uncertainty is stressful. Change is not something we enjoy. It is difficult to explain a situation where the “enemy” is invisible. But please remember: our children are watching. They are listening to us, and we are their cue on how to react. They already have their own worries: It is not the time to add ours. Be the calm in the eye of a storm. Discuss concerns and worries with your partner, but come united to your kids. They’re just as confused as we all are.



One Year

“How do I, get through one night without you? If I had to live without you, what kind of life would that be?…” – LeAnne Rimes

1 year.

365 days.

525,600 minutes.

I have been dreading this day. Dreading this week. Dreading the ever so constant reminder of your absence. My anxiety building as each day passed, as though moving in slow motion towards the inevitable. There is a piece of the puzzle that is always missing- no matter which way I try to put it back together, there is always a hole that only you fill. A place in my heart that is only yours. How time has passed between then and now I can only guess. How I’ve continued to keep breathing despite your absence I will never know. My heart shatters with each beat that you are not here for. I have not figured out how to miss you without breaking my own heart, and my god, how I miss you. How my heart longs for you with each passing moment.

People say that “time heals all wounds”, but I swear to God my clock must have arthritis. Time doesn’t pass in a way that lessens this pain. It is indescribable, how much a heart can hurt. Missing you, is a pain that can only be fully understood by those who have lost a child – because this unnatural hell we’ve been left to wander through cannot be explained. To lose a child is to upset the natural order of the world. There is a reason that there has never been a word for it. It cannot be described, only felt through the hollows of a heart that’s been left to carry on through the rubble.

”Which is to say, it has been a hard year. I hid myself from you, because I thought the mess would disgust you…” – Sierra Demulder

I cannot count the times I’ve woken up in the night, listening for you. Searching in the darkness, as if I might have dreamt the entire thing. I keep waiting for the nightmare to end, but it never does. I have gone back through every moment – every second of that day, trying to search for a reason, or a sign that doesn’t exist. Trying to grant myself an explanation – but the truth is, there won’t ever be one. Not one that makes any of this okay. We were nothing more than extremely unlucky. I’m not sure at what point the universe looked down on us and decided to toss this coin in, but we were never going to be on the winning side. There was only a 0.05% chance of SIDS happening to us… and that alone is a fact that causes me such anger – how careful we were with you. How the chance was so small, that even my anxieties didn’t believe it to be a threat. There is nothing I can say to what happened, except “What the fuck?”, because seriously, What the Fuck? Still, to this day, I keep waiting for the moment that I realize this was all just some big joke. That it didn’t really happen: we didn’t really lose you. And it never comes.

The weight never lets off, it never stops being heavy. I have racked my brain, search every detail, read ever article related to SIDS, and yet: In every way I try to have the day play out – it never changes the ending. It’s maddening, to lose you all over again each night. To hear the sirens, to hear my own voice call 911. I may not remember what I did yesterday, but I am not short on details when it comes to you.

It has been a hard year. To grieve such a monumental loss causes you to lose sight of the world around you. Richard and I spent a lot of time on completely different wavelengths – just trying to keep our heads above water. Trying to process this devastation. Trying to continue to move forward, despite everything that told us to quit. And the fact is, we grieve in very different ways. Which is not to say that either way is right, or better – it just made things so much harder to understand. Continuing forward was like trying to climb a mountain without any rope – with white-knuckles and a whole lot of cursing.

“I’d hold you every second, and say a million I love yous – that’s what I’d do, with one more day with you.” – Diamond Rio 

My heart aches for every moment you’ve missed. Every moment we’ve shared that you should’ve been a part of. And no matter how much time passes, that won’t ever change. There were so many wishes I had for you, so many dreams, and moments to share – I feel so extremely cheated by the universe. A year ago, I prayed more desperately than I ever have: I prayed to whoever might listen – hoping against all odds to be wrong. For some kind of miracle. I bargained with the universe, trying to give away anything but you. But the cards had already been played – And I cannot say that I’ve prayed since. I have nothing left to say that isn’t angry.

I have never been happier than the day you were born. The moment I held you in my arms the first time, completed my heart in a way I can’t describe. I had never understood how powerful love could be, until I watched my heart beat outside my body – and the world as I knew it melted away. Hearing you laugh for the first time was nothing short of amazing. Watching you grow, and have your personality shine through it all was precious. In losing you, my heart was torn from my chest – and it is still shattered.

I have slept with your blanket almost every night since you died. At first, it was because it smelled like you. And I would sob as I held onto it, as if it could bring you back to me. Now, it is more my own comfort piece – a way I feel safe. Like it somehow makes me closer to you. This morning, I took your box down from the shelf. I ran my hands across it, held your dress in my arms. Watched your videos despite my tears. Pulled out your photo album and took in every picture. It is almost like my own form of torture, I desperately wish to watch every moment we shared with you, but every moment I do tears my heart in pieces once more.

I miss your smile. Your laughter. I miss how bright you were – how much joy you brought to everything. I know how blessed we were to share those months with you, and I will forever be grateful for the girl who made me a mama. Addison, my love – you made my world such a brighter place. You filled a void I didn’t even know existed. And I will carry you with me, always. You will never be missing from our lives.

Love always, Mama

And the other shoe drops: COVID-19


We made it. We got through our first month with Charlotte smoothly, despite the fear. I won’t lie, I must’ve rolled over a hundred times a night to check her breathing monitor “just to be safe” the first week she was home. In reality, I still do that. She can be downstairs with Richard, but I still have to have the monitor running to my phone in order to sleep. It is just something that is part of our life now. I honestly can’t believe the first month has passed. It was a month full of love, snuggles, and joy.

Charlotte started to heal parts of me that I didn’t believe would ever be fixed. When you become a mom, you hold your heart in your arms. So for me, when we lost Addison, a piece of me went with her. And the rest got locked away, it’s shattered remnants stuffed into storage never to be seen again. It was the only way for me to survive. It amazes me each day I spend with her, to feel the love in my heart grow beyond what I believed possible. And that love, those smiles – they are worth every ounce of anxiety I feel. Without fear, there is no risk in love.


And then it began: COVID-19 

We watched. As a world, we stood by as this virus began to take hold in China. I think, as a society, we exist in this feeling of invincibility sometimes. We never imagined it would take hold on our shores. China is far away after all.

We had a limited amount of visitors to our house to begin with. Cold and flu season is upon us, and can be incredibly dangerous for a newborn. So for us, amping up the restrictions was not a far step. I watched as this virus began to appear in other countries. I tried to stem my anxiety, avoided researching too much about it, knowing I would quickly spiral into obsession if I wasn’t careful. But I continued to follow the developments as they came through. By the time Italy went on quarantine, we had minimized all visitors to our house. Fortunately, Richard works in a field that doesn’t have him interacting with many people, so our risk of having germs come into the house was low. And then it landed on our shores.

This is a time of great uncertainty. No one knows what’s going to happen day to day. Tensions are high, and the access to media is both a blessing and a curse. I raged at individuals sharing misinformation. People posting things about it being a “conspiracy” or a “hoax”. Statuses and posts saying that everyone is overreacting, and that it’s just a flu. I couldn’t believe the ignorance of people. I couldn’t understand how quickly they discounted the facts – ignored the situations unfolding in places like Italy, and Spain. I didn’t understand the selfishness being exhibited, how these individuals didn’t understand the major risks it posed for vulnerable people.

Before this outbreak, people were respectful of our “rules” when it came to visiting, but still expressed that perhaps they were a bit “over the top”. I have thick skin – I can take the criticism, because it was never about them. It’s about Charlotte. It always will be. We’ve been officially “quarantined” for 10days now. Protecting Charlotte is our top priority. I refuse to allow anything to happen to her.  Raising a rainbow means understanding the fragility of life, and the lengths you must go to protect it.

F17B35EA-AF00-404C-85DA-D2413C23EE12There’s a part of me that knew the “other shoe would drop”. A piece of me, deeply rooted in my anxiety, is always waiting for the worst to happen – because that’s what I am “trained” to expect. However, a global pandemic when Charlotte is one month old is even bigger than my anxiety could have cooked up. Having someone vulnerable in your family makes these frightening times personal.  At this point, there is nothing we can do but wait. We follow the instructions laid out for us by public health, and the government. We watch ALOT of Netflix. We video chat with friends and family. We stress clean – often. Last week, I pulled our stove out, and scrubbed all the baseboards in the kitchen. By the end of this, our house will be sparkling.

The optimist in me wants to say that “This too shall pass”. I would love to believe that 2 weeks of quarantine will allow us to fix the issue. But I have a solid understanding of our situation. The realist in me won’t lie to myself and say that everything is going to be fine and that this 2 weeks will work. Social distancing WILL stop the spreading, but our time in social isolation is going to be longer than people think. Things will get worse before they can get better. We have the advantage of learning from the mistakes of other countries, so we can be better prepared. We have been sent to our rooms by Mother Nature, to think about what we have done. Recently my “motto” in life has been “seems right”. So as the world battles this global pandemic, the selfish part of me looks around at our new life with Charlotte, shrugs my shoulders and says hmmm… “seems right”.
617F4049-7BA8-4CD8-8E75-C3F9E736C8C3My advice to everyone in this time: Take pictures. Take pictures of the people you love. Write. Let your kids write. Call your friends and loved ones often. Making connections online. Do what you can. It is okay to be afraid – it is a scary time to be alive. History will remember this time – we are living in a time that will be recorded in history books. Create something that can be your personal experience of this time, that you will show to your loved ones when you’re older, to explain this period of time.  But above all else, be kind. Humanity needs love and hope more than anything now.

Stay safe friends. Social distancing will save lives. Hugs and positive, healthy vibes to all.

My heart, and my extreme thanks goes out to all the individuals on the frontlines of this pandemic. I am so thankful for the work being done by our doctors, and nurses who are currently working to increase our ICU capacity in local hospitals, and are running towards this, while everyone else is stepping back. My heart goes out to the PSW’s working to help those most vulnerable, to keep them calm, healthy, and safe. My heart goes to those working as truck drivers and store clerks, helping to keep essential goods available. You, the helpers, I thank you for your service. Make no doubt: this is a war, and our frontline workers are our soldiers. ❤️

Raising a Rainbow

After 10days of early labour, and 4.5hours of active labour – Charlotte Ava-Marie Bonselaar made her entrance into the world at 5:35am on February 16, 2020. The experience of having a rainbow baby holds so much emotion, so many things to remember, and look forward to. This delivery experience was so much different than my experience with Addison. There were so many fears surrounding Charlotte’s arrival – I had read everything I could, and sometimes information is both a blessing and a curse. It feeds so much anxiety and fear surrounding the things that could go wrong, the risks, the worst “what if scenarios” my mind could imagine. But as anticipated, everything went smoothly – Charlotte made a safe and quick entrance into the world, and she’s perfect. Every little part of her is amazing. Everything she does is a gift. Every moment spent with her is such a blessing. That’s the truth of raising a rainbow.

A good friend of mine told me, the truth in being a rainbow mama, is that you see miracles in mud puddles. And it’s entirely true – Every moment with Charlotte is such a gift to me. Every cuddle, every nap, every midnight feeding and 3am wake up. Just knowing how precious these moments are, knowing you only get them for a little while, if you’re lucky.  It makes everything so beautiful.

 “Being a mother means learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed” – Linda Wooten

You see, we experienced love and lost in the most traumatic form. Addison taught me so much in such little time – and I will always be grateful for the love and time we shared. She will always be the girl who made me a mama. She will always be present with me, in raising her sister. She taught me the most important lesson of all – you need to love who you love, as fiercely as you love them. Because you’re never guaranteed the time you dream of. Enjoy every moment, love with all your heart. Because each moment is precious.

Raising a rainbow means understanding how fragile life is. How important it is to love fiercely, and to allow yourself to both feel and experience everything you can. So here’s to my miracle, and here’s to my angel. Stay tuned for more updates as we walk this journey of raising our rainbow 🌈


“You worry too much”….

Today, I was told “I worry too much”

I was told, that I should relax more.

I laughed.

By now, at this stage of the anxiety game, I am accustom to being told this. I am far too familiar with being told that I am overreacting, or things are “all in my head”.  However, I was also told that I shouldn’t let these “what if” scenarios decide how I am going to parent. I was told that things get “blown out of proportion” by research, and that everything would be “just fine”. I was told that I worry too much. And I can understand why it looks like that to someone on the outside. To someone who doesn’t live with anxiety,  and experiences PTSD symptoms. To someone on the outside, I do worry too much. I am making mountains out of mole hills, I am feeding my own anxiety with research and facts. I can understand where this opinion of me comes from.

I am not writing this because I feel the need to justify my decisions – frankly, I couldn’t give a damn what people think. I do however, feel the need to write about this for the sake of promoting understanding. To give a glimpse into the truth about anxiety – the real truth, not the pretty Pinterest quote, not the slight nervousness that is so often labelled as anxiety. I mean the real truth – the never ending race-track of thoughts. The hamster that never gets off the wheel. When the uphills are mountains and the downhills are cliffs. When the trauma is the backpack you carry along with you, despite your so desperate desire to leave it at home. Because the truth is, I would love to be “care-free” and taking everything as it comes. I would love to be able to experience a moment, or look forward to the future without worrying about catastrophe – but that isn’t who I am. . It’s not how I was made. My anxiety is the alarm bell screaming “DANGER” when everyone else is completely chill. It goes off at a pitch only I can hear. It runs shivers down my spine, and has me constantly looking over my shoulder. It is the voice whispering the worst “what if” imaginable. It is not my friend. But it is my roommate. The experiences along the way have shaped me – and I have learned to live with my anxieties, and most times I do so without allowing them to consume me. To find space in my life for both hope, and fear. For me, there is never one without the other – and that is okay. It is not a bad thing – it’s just who I am. 

” I am learning to forgive myself, for the things I didn’t know. For the moments I never predicted. I just did the best I could, in the situation I was in, with what I had.” 

The hardest part about being a parent, is the moment you realize that you can’t always fix it. That no amount of love, of knowledge, of experience that you have can change the situation your child is in. That no matter how hard you try, and how much you want to – you can’t fix it. You cannot change it. It is the harshest reality to come to, and sometimes, this lesson comes to you in cruel ways. Maybe for you, it was a broken heart, or an illness, maybe a failed test, or a bad decision – or maybe, if you’re lucky – you haven’t had this moment yet. You still feel like super-mom (or dad) in the respect that there’s nothing in your childs’ world that you can’t handle – that you can’t fix. But for me, this lesson came down hard. In a manner that shattered my world, and quite literally took my breath away.

I was a nervous mom, right from the get go. That fact wasn’t really surprising to me – I have struggled with severe anxiety most of my life, and I knew that in being a mom, it wouldn’t be any different. My anxiety would still be there. So I read all the books, I did the research. I was constantly checking for tips, tricks, and safety concerns. I asked doctors an abundance of questions. For the first few weeks of Addison’s life, I was too nervous to give her a bath on my own – I would wait until Richard returned home, more comfortable in the idea that we were both there, and then nothing would go wrong. I tried with shaky hands to swaddle her the first few times, terrified to do it wrong. Slowly, over time – I got a little more confident in my own abilities – but I was constantly vigilant. Always triple checking things. We were so very careful with her.

So imagine, if you will, how terrifying it was the day she passed. How the crowd of police officers and paramedics in our home was a stark realization that this was something I couldn’t fix. How I had tried, with everything I had – to save her. To fix it. And was met with the horrendous truth, that there was nothing I could do. How entirely helpless I was in that moment.

I do not share these details for pity. I share them with the intent to promote understanding. There I was, a nervous mom who had done everything right, and yet tragedy struck anyways- SIDS doesn’t discriminate. Tragedy happens whether you’re prepared or not. And the logical side of me understands that I truly did everything I could. That nothing could have changed what happened that day – and yet, my anxiety will rear its’ ugly head, and cause me to question. Cause me to wonder daily, if perhaps, I could have done more. Perhaps there was something else that could have changed things. I relive that day, on a daily and nightly basis – even more frequently as we near closer to Peanut’s arrival. I spend a great deal of time trying to quiet my own mind. Trying to keep myself calm, and unafraid. But in reality, that fear will always exist for me. Because I understand so deeply that there are things I can’t always fix. That things can go wrong, and I cannot change that. That fact alone is terrifying to me.

Here we are, over 10 months later – anticipating the birth of our second child, while still navigating the grief we carry. Still, I question myself – my choices that day. Everything that has gotten us from there to here. Everything that will come once Peanut is born. My anxiety runs on a constant loop, telling me that “I’m not ready”, and I re-run through the list to ensure we are in-fact prepared to bring her home. My anxiety runs on the constant loop, telling me all the terrible things that could happen, and I re-run through the research I’ve done, and the steps we’ve taken to prevent such things. The point is – for me, it never goes away. The trauma of that day, reinforces the anxiety I have and turns it up to max.

So yes. I worry “too much”. I spend too much time thinking of the “what if” scenarios, the possible outcomes, the risks of everything. And I did this before I had Addison – the only difference is, now we have lived through something horrendous. We have walked a path I pray for no one else to ever take – sometimes, life is a cruel teacher. People are not wrong in saying I worry too much, but my question to you is this:

After everything that happened, wouldn’t you?

“Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on…”

Has anyone seen my toes?

I posted a photo today, where I quoted that I’m at the point in my pregnancy where, if something falls on the floor – it’s dead to me. And this I can say is entirely true. I am fairly certain I still have toes, but they’re pretty difficult to see nowdays. Last week, I was off sick from work with an infection and I sincerely tried to teach our kitten Tucker how to pick things up for me. Unfortunately for me, he’s only interested in doing that when it is his “fetch” ball…but hey, at least we tried right?

We are 35weeks&1day today… and my goodness, I am excited that there is a light at the end of this seemingly never-ending tunnel. I will say, that this pregnancy has been a much healthier one than my first, given the fact that I am actually able to eat this time around but I am definitely exhausted. We’ve reached the point where just moving around, or getting out of a chair is both extremely uncomfortable, and tiring. Although I am still stubborn enough that I refuse to sit down to put my socks on, that moment has arrived.


“Pregnancy is the happiest reason ever for feeling like crap” 

With the reality that Peanut is due to arrive in 5 weeks (or less) truly hitting me, the anxiety I have surrounding her arrival has reached an extreme level. I am constantly wondering if we are “prepared”, and if we have everything we need (which we most definitely do). I’m pretty sure there’s enough 0-3months clothes to never have to wash a single outfit she wears, and still have some leftover. Her closet is overflowing with clothes, her diapers are prepped and ready to go, our bag is packed – and yet, I cannot shake the feeling of being “unprepared” for this from my mind. The reality is, her imminent arrival brings with it a wealth of emotions. Fears surrounding labour and delivery, questions of newborn care, immunizations, and possible complications are just the beginning of the list that runs through my mind. The fact is, even though we’ve done this before – there is so much more fear and anxiety, and “what if” scenarios to think about. So far, we have had two “false alarms” of labour, that have had us rushing to the hospital to make sure she is okay. That may stem partially from my anxiety, and my need to hear her steady heartbeat – but it also comes from my labour experience with Addison. By having “silent labour” with her, it leads me to question every unfamiliar feeling this time around, as I truly have no frame of reference for what the beginning of labour may feel like.

“A rainbow baby is a baby born after the loss of a previous child. It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened, or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of colour, energy, and hope.” 

The truth in having a “rainbow baby” is that we have experienced such great loss and tragedy already, that there is so much to worry about that we wouldn’t have considered before… Our worst “what if” has already happened – and it brings forth so many emotions surrounding our family, this baby, and how we will continue forward with her in our lives.  I know, the day that Peanut chooses to arrive will be an amazing day. It will be an experience like no other, as every baby is different. I know already the unlimited love we have for her, and how having her in our arms will be the greatest moment we will share. I don’t have to question how much love we have for her – a rainbow baby is a beautiful gift, but it is nowhere near a simple experience of emotions. Already, the ups and downs of this change have weighed on my mind. The fear and anxiety surrounding the possibility of “something going wrong” will probably never truly go away. The overwhelming happiness and joy of this special little girl who we’ve waited so long to meet. Every kick brings us closer to her, every day that passes gets us closer to the day she will arrive and I cannot wait. But I know the waves of emotion have only just begun, but no matter how hard the process – there is no greater gift than the hope she brings.

The Dawn of a New Decade

“Real love is always chaotic. You lose control; you lose perspective. You lose the ability to protect yourself. The greater the love, the greater the chaos. It’s a given, and that’s the secret.” – Jonathan Carroll

The New Year rolled in quietly for me. I avoided the resolutions, the “Top Nine’s”, the difference of a decade posts. I scrolled through peoples year end posts on social media, but avoided writing one of my own. I didn’t post any New Year’s photos, or celebrations, because to be honest – I didn’t feel that there was much to celebrate. 2019 was the worst year of my life, and there was nothing I wanted to do more than sit quietly and watch it slip away. Truly, my largest accomplishment of the year was that I continued to survive. I continued to live despite all the reasons I wished so desperately not to. And although that is worth celebrating, it wasn’t an accomplishment I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I did not wish to look back at my year in photos, knowing that some of the most popular ones I have are of Addison. I brought in 2019 with joy, and laughter – spending New Years eve at home, dancing in the kitchen with my daughter. I did not wish to be reminded that I started this year with her, but it was ending without her. 2019 was cruel to us. 2019 painted our world with a brush of pain, and the harsh reality of the unpredictability of life. In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you – but that does not mean you don’t wish desperately to be able to change them. I pray that 2020 will be kinder to us. That the tides will come in gently, and that the sun will shine brightly. But mostly, I hope it will be a year full of love.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will simply learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same. Nor would you want to.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

In grief, there is so much love. There are so many words unspoken. So much pain carried silently with you. Grief is like an ocean. The tides ebb and flow, and within it, I lost myself. I lost who I was before all this. I lost the ability to take care of myself. The ability to show love outside of my own heart. I lost the ability to truly fight my own mental illnesses. I succumbed to the darkness, unable to do anything more than tread water. Unable to do anything more than hope one day I may find shore again. I no longer recognized myself in the mirror. I’d lost locks of hair, pulled it out in knots due to lack of care. Nails bitten down until there was nothing left. I’d lost the ability to recognize my own needs, and with it, I lost the ability to see the needs of others. I no longer understood the concept of self-care, and self-love. I was merely a shell, existing in a world I did not necessarily wish to be a part of.

Slowly, as time passed I began to realize what I had lost. I began to understand that I had lost myself. I decided to start searching for her again. To start loving her again. To find pieces of myself among the wreckage. To search for myself with the poetry I love, to brush my hair, to treat myself to manicures, and bubble baths. To begin to come home to myself again. This is the beginning of recovery. This is a rescue mission in finding my own voice. In finding myself. In understanding that I will never be exactly as I once was, I will never feel exactly as I once did. But I am learning how to honour my grief and sadness, without drowning within it. I am beginning to write again. I beginning to love again, in small moments. I am looking for myself in the mirror once more,  searching for the light in my eyes. I am finding the love I have to share with others, that I had locked away in fear. 2020 will be the year I return home to myself. Home to my love. It is going to be a year of healthy boundaries, and self-love. A year of learning to love life once more. I will never be able to erase the pain of the past, but I can learn how to continue forward, in love and in life.

“I won’t let my pain turn my heart into something ugly. I will show you that surviving can be beautiful.” – Christy Ann Martine

Peanut’s Journey:

31weeks.4days. – We are nearing the end. One more ultrasound, and a handful of appointments stand between us, and meeting her. Her room is almost complete, just requiring a few final touches to finish it. We’ve started creating more and more space within our small home, organizing what we can and getting rid of things we no longer need. The space we hold for her in our hearts is already beating strong. Much like her heartbeat. Much like her karate-kicks, and gymnastics routines that take place on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. We anticipate her arrival with plenty of nerves, and excitement. Despite her causing the a bout of false labour on Christmas Eve – things are running on schedule. She is the perfect size, and growing constantly. She has an amazing ability to kick like mad, right until I have Richard place his hand on my belly. Of course, in that moment, her movements come to a screeching halt. Last night, she kicked Tucker while he was sitting on me. He was not impressed, but also quite shocked. Although I am at 31 weeks, it feels like this pregnancy has been going on forever. Here’s to the final stretch of the journey. Here’s to waiting patiently for you to finish growing. Here’s to your arrival – the greatest gift 2020 will bring us.

“That’s how you know you love someone, I guess. When you can’t experience anything without wishing the other person were there to see it too.” – Kaui Hart Hemmings

Happiness & Heartbreak

“You are on the floor crying, and you have been on the floor crying for days. And that is you being brave. That is you getting through it the best you know how. No one else can decide, what your tough looks like.” – Clementine von Radics

This weekend, I unpacked two boxes.

I say this triumphantly.

I say this with pride.

I say this, as if two boxes made a dent in the unpacking process.

Because, this weekend, I unpacked two boxes of Addison’s things. This weekend, I held baby clothes in my arms, put hangers in the closet, collected toys in a bin. This weekend, I took a small step forward. I began to allow myself to feel the tingles of excitement for the room our daughter will have. For all the love we have to give her, for all the moments we will one day share. I allowed happiness to enter into our home in anticipation for her arrival.

But this weekend, I also cried. I sat sobbing on the floor of our nursery, hands clasped around a Christmas bootie purchased at the dollar store. It is one of a set. “My Very First Christmas” written in white on cheap red cotton. Tears streamed down my face as I remember constantly putting the booties back on, as they slipped off Addison’s tiny feet. I remember our Christmas photos, the excitement, the acknowledgement that this Christmas would be “more fun” for her, as she would’ve been older. I remember all the Christmas’ to come, ones that she will never be present for. My heart aches. Richard joins me on the floor of the nursery, and we sit in silence together until I place the bootie back in its’ box. Two boxes unpacked is enough for one day – No one else can decide what your tough looks like.


“Loving you changed my life. It should come as no surprise that losing you has done the same.” – Chloe Frayne

Life in grief is different. Each day a silent battle, each moment a dangerous minefield to navigate. Somedays are simple. The sun rises and sets, life continues in your absence. We are learning to walk again despite the storm. We are learning that we can experience joy despite our pain. This is what it means to be grieving. This is what it means to be living. At 26 weeks pregnant, memories of you are the calm in my storm. The reminder that there is beauty despite the darkness. How blessed I was to have been your mama. How blessed I am for the lessons you’ve taught me, both in your life, and in your death. How lucky I am to be able to open my heart to love once more. What a beautiful 6 months we were given together. How grateful I am for the time we shared.

This pregnancy is different, and yet the same in so many ways. At 26 weeks, my body aches constantly. Peanut is a fan of sticking her feet into my ribcage, and she does so often. She is a nocturnal being, waking me at 3am. I remember these moments from my pregnancy with Addison – for some reason, my girls love the night. Perhaps it is because it is the time when everything is quiet. Or maybe they just like waking mama up. Who knows.  My anxiety during this pregnancy however, has reached an all time high. Every question I have is followed up by 50 “what if” scenarios, every slight discomfort becomes a cause for concern. I spend a great deal of time quieting my own mind. Reminding myself that my anxiety is valid, but I do not owe it a response or reaction each time. It is difficult, and exhausting. Oftentimes, my fear wins and I find myself googling statistics on SIDS, on pregnancy complications, on stillbirths, and more. It is a complicated situation, where I am reminded constantly that I need to have faith that things will be okay. I say complicated, because when your worst “what if” has already happened, quieting those questions is hard.

Tomorrow, I will unpack two boxes. I will hold Addison’s memory tight to my chest. I will allow the leftover love I have for her to spill out when needed. I will put away clothing. I will make the bed. I will allow my excitement for Peanut’s arrival to continue to grow. I will continue to be gentle with myself, as we navigate through waters we never expected to go through. I will allow the light that her arrival brings to shine through the darkness. There is no map we can follow. No textbook directions on how to grieve, how to navigate through this loss. How to continue forward, while still treasuring our past. We are the writers of our own script, the makers of our own map. It is a journey with many twists and turns. A journey of courage, of fear, and of love.

“Grief, is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.”