714-509-0065 info@foreverfootprints.org

Spring Will Come

This is a season of new life.  Spring is my favorite season of the year with freshly bloomed flowers spotting the green earth.  Bees and butterflies dance and flutter in the breeze.  I love the sound and smell of light showers falling from full clouds.  Near my town, there are hills painted with bright poppies with the roadside littered with parked cars where people snap pictures of the beautiful scenery.  I love this season because it reminds me of hope and a new beginning. Over the past year, I have been slowly adapting to my new life as a bereaved mother.  I’m getting used to the unfamiliar colors, sounds, and smells.  Each day I embrace unique experiences.  All the while, with my daughter in my heart and mind, a greater purpose for this season has risen.  I never thought I could be like this.  I thought my life was forever doomed for a bleak, lifeless existence. You see, another valuable lesson has erupted from the ashes.  There is a time to mourn, but there is also a time to rejoice.  “But, Kaitlin, how can you rejoice after losing your daughter?!”  Seems crazy, I know, but I do rejoice in my new life.  I belong to a close community, yet at the same time Wendy gave me a perspective of life like I’ve never known.  I have started to think for myself and take care of myself more deliberately.  I have gained a better appreciation for my friends, family, and especially my husband.  Yes, I see the world in different colors, and they are more vibrant than I could have...

Living with Grief

I had no idea what to do.  I was a first-time mom and a first-time grieving mom at the same time.  I was confused, overwhelmed, and devastated.  Honestly, the list can go on about everything I was feeling, but this blog would go on forever like my last one, lol.  I knew every emotion possible and felt so incredibly numb at the same time, like I was separated from my being and experienced everything from a distance.  Every day seemed like an eternity.  The energy it took to wake up, eat, work, and make dinner was thoroughly exhausting.  For the longest time I was depleted, empty, and drug myself through the motions of life. My grieving didn’t stop there.  Everything I experienced was affected by my situation.  Being pregnant with a terminally diagnosed baby compelled me to avoid countless things.  I didn’t look at new moms holding their babies because it made me extremely jealous.  I didn’t laugh as much.  I didn’t smile like I used to.  I couldn’t go to family events, but when I forced myself to go, I broke down weeping in the car. Why am I telling you this?  I let myself feel it all.  I didn’t push my grief aside, avoid it, or deny it.  I was present and faced my reality and embraced it.  As painful as it was, I’m glad I was present in my circumstance.  I’m glad I shed tears, wept, and mourned.  It has helped me live with my pain, rather than just pushing through it and “getting over it,” because I know a measure of my grief will never...

The Baby that Changed My Life

As the holidays have passed, I feel like I can finally breathe again.  A fresh new year, wondering where it will take me this time.  However, after losing my first baby girl I reflect on my journey and where it has brought me.  Who I have become and where it will take me now.  I am honored to share my story with you this coming year.  I want to share about the baby that changed my life.  I’m going to be real with you, reveal the nightmare I had to live through, the dreams I was forced to let go, and the daily hardships I have to overcome.  But, also, the grace that saved me, the love that held me, and the wisdom that grew me. My name is Kaitlin, and I am a bereaved mother. My daughter was stillborn November 12, 2017. Deep down in my soul I know that my daughter’s story will touch countless people, far beyond the number of her days. This blog is about my experience as a bereaved parent, what I went through, the realities I was forced to adapt to, the pain through it all, and the joys of being a parent. Possibly, reading about my family’s experiences will bring hope or a measure of healing to your heart. Allow me to share with you the story of our sweet baby girl named, Wendy. My husband and I received the news that we were expecting on February 19, 2017. We were so incredibly excited. Immediately, we started dreaming about how our lives would change forever. We dreamed of seeing our child learn...
Grief and Gratitude

Grief and Gratitude

I had always thought of gratitude and grief as polar opposites. To me, gratitude is associated with appreciation, relief, and provision. It fills your heart with warmth when you are pleased with something. It often follows something you had hoped for. Grief, on the other hand, is associated with deep sorrow. It can feel so painful, so isolating, and so cold. It often follows your worst fear. They couldn’t be more different from one another, thus it made perfect sense to me that they could never coexist. Surely grief was an enemy of gratitude, and gratitude was the remedy for grief. Then I lost Ethan. Holding my firstborn son in my arms as he took his first and final breaths, my assumptions on grief and gratitude were challenged in ways I found difficult to articulate. All at once, I was overcome with both gratitude and grief–incredible gratitude for the privilege of being this strong little boy’s mama and unthinkable grief over losing him. It was then I discovered that grief and gratitude do not cancel one another out. Grief and gratitude can coexist. Contrary to what I once assumed, grief is not the enemy of gratitude. Thankfulness can grow and thrive in the midst of pain. To clarify, this does not mean that I was thankful for loss. Gratitude in grief does not mean that we are grateful for losses or for heartbreak. We have the freedom to call those things what they are–horrible, painful, confusing. Grief demands to be felt and my gratitude did not take away my permission to grieve. Finding gratitude in the midst of grief...
As we walk to remember

As we walk to remember

Three years ago, I attended my first Walk to Remember. It had only been two months since I had said goodbye to my infant son, Ethan, and my grief felt so deep, so raw, and so fresh. The previous months leading up to that day had been incredibly painful and isolating in ways I couldn’t quite put into words. When a friend told me about the Walk to Remember, I felt nervous yet excited all at once–I had no idea what to expect, but something inside of me longed to connect with people who understood. I longed to celebrate my little boy and to simply say his name to someone…anyone who would listen. I am so grateful I put my fears aside that day. From the moment I checked in, I felt seen and understood. My walls crumbled down with each person I spoke to. As each baby’s name was spoken and each rose was passed out, I felt less and less alone. While it didn’t take away the grief of losing my son, stepping into this community of like-minded people softened the jagged edges of grief in ways I never expected. I received an indescribable gift on that day—the gift of hearing Ethan’s name, the gift of honoring him, the gift of being surrounded by people who didn’t try to brush him aside or just tell me to “think positive”. I received the gift of meeting other parents and hearing about their babies–the simple gift of “me too”. This event and the community that I’ve found in it have been a comfort to me over the years, as...
As seasons change

As seasons change

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.” — Ernest Hemingway I felt especially connected to the seasons the year Ethan died. The previous spring had been filled with so much excitement and the promise of new life. As the tree in our front yard filled with green lives, hope bloomed inside of me with eager anticipation over all that was to come. My heart felt warmer than those beautiful springtime afternoons. Summer was the season of Ethan. One day we were driving home from the beach, windows rolled down, discussing baby names, and laughing over the irony of how many girl names we both liked and how few boy names we could agree on. Days later I went into the hospital for a routine ultrasound, blissfully unaware of the tidal wave lurking over the horizon. Soon after that we were sitting across the table from the geneticist as we received the devastating news that our little baby boy would likely fight for every breath. As the temperatures continued to rise, it felt as if we had been thrown into some sort of fire. Week after week brought more appointments, more scans, and even more bad news. Weeks later, we rushed to the hospital in the middle of a warm, August night. We uttered joyous hellos and tearful goodbyes. I can vividly...