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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...

Friendships and Loss

I will never forget the first time I felt it. I was sitting in a room full of women, who were all laughing, talking, complaining about their husbands, bragging about their children. It was five months after my son Joseph had died, and I thought I could do it. I thought I could join the world again. I wanted to feel normal. But sitting in that room—with a newly formed women’s group—I never felt so alone in my entire life. The sounds all became one, like a constant buzzing. My hands started to sweat. My heart started to pound. And I ran for the door. I ran from new friendships and I ran from my old friendships. I isolated myself from those who had children and babies. I couldn’t face my pregnant friends, because I was a reminder to them of what could go wrong. My friends’ worlds were moving forward, and my life felt as if it was standing still. I didn’t know how to be anyone’s friend. I was different. I had held my son and watched him take his last breaths. I watched his casket being put in the ground. I had gone home to leaking breasts full of his milk, an empty nursery, and a broken heart. And my friends would never understand that.     As the months after Joseph’s death turned into years, and I sought the help of support groups and private therapy to deal with my grief, I tried to repair old friendships and begin new ones. I started to accept this was the new me. And I began to see,...

How you can help those who are grieving the loss of their child

Your best friend just called you sobbing because she lost her baby in her 10th week of pregnancy. You just got an email from your coworker, and at her 36-week checkup, she learned her baby no longer has a heartbeat. A friend you haven’t seen in a while, but who you follow on social media, just posted her 2 month old daughter passed away last night. What do you say? What do you do? There’s never going to be the perfect thing to say or do when you learn that someone you know has experienced pregnancy loss or infant death. But the worst thing you can do is stay silent. Here are some ideas on how you can make an impact on the life of a grieving family: 1.) If their baby was named, use their child’s name. It’s not a horrible reminder to those of us who have lost a child. It’s a beautiful memory. 2.) Don’t wait for the family to ask for help—take action. Many families are in shock after their loss. They might not know how to ask for help or want to be around others. Drop a meal on their front porch or send a care package. 3.) Remembering milestone dates is very meaningful. Send a note or even a text message on the due date, baby’s birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and/or holidays. Many people are afraid this will “remind” people of their loss. The reality is we never forget, and knowing others remember our child is comforting. 4.) Hold their hand. Give them a hug. And listen. 5.) Be mindful of saying...

Forever Footprints Memory Box Program

When Forever Footprints learned that many families left the hospital with empty arms, we vowed to change that. For many years, we have distributed memory boxes into the community, so families who have experienced pregnancy loss or infant death have treasured memories of their baby. And while we are so proud of the boxes, we had a dream of providing ones that were larger and sturdier. Thanks to the generosity of the Brady family, in honor of their son Jayden, the dream became a reality. Because of their support, 200 boxes will be given to families. In addition to sturdier boxes, we are also able to include teddy bears, blankets, hats, keepsake magnet frames, and support information in English and Spanish. Many thanks to all our volunteers who donated their time to assemble boxes at our Forever Footprints office. It is our hope to provide even more boxes to grieving families. You can sponsor a box for $25 by clicking...