Bereaved Fathers: Say Your Children’s Names

The daughter that my wife and I prayed and struggled to conceive, Olivia, was gone just like that.  As I sat in a chair in our hospital room holding our daughter’s lifeless body, I thought in that moment the situation was all my fault. I wore sadness and anger as a shirt I could not change.  So many thoughts of  “what ifs” and “what did I do wrong?” In my mind, the passing of our daughter wasn’t my wife’s fault-it was mine.  I took the weight of the tragedy on my own shoulders.  

Many people think that child loss is something that only happens to women.  You’ll hear people say, “Child loss will never happen to me!” You’ll hear things like, “she lost a baby, or she miscarried,”  but the truth is child loss affects more than just women.  It affects men, too. As men, it is somewhat taboo to show emotion, especially in public. It is often viewed as a sign of weakness and lack of strength and incompetence.  But in my experience, crying and making myself vulnerable to emotions that I did not know I had helped me tremendously. And they helped me to navigate and surrender to my initial stages of the grief process.  

As days and weeks went by after Olivia passed, I knew that I could not stay there in the crippling rut that I was in. I was hurting and my wife was hurting with nowhere to turn.  But then there was a small glimmer of hope. A few of our close friends recommended a couple things to help us. One thing was to connect with Angel Baby Network and secondly to take a trip to reconnect spiritually and emotionally.  For many people child loss can lead to a path of divorce and my wife and I agreed that was not going to be our journey. We began attending ABN meetings the week after Olivia passed away. Listening to others and their testimonies allowed us to not only connect with other grieving men and women but it also gave us strength. We knew that child loss was tragic  but being at the meetings gave us a sense of purpose by helping other families who were going through similar situations.

Even through our pain and the loss of Olivia we still believed we were supposed to have a child. A few months into our bereavement journey we began educating ourselves on the medical condition that caused Olivia to pass away and child loss as a whole. We developed a village of  close friends and an awesome medical team and a year later we conceived our miracle twins. Not a minute goes by when I do not think of my first daughter. We continue to honor her and say her name as a reminder that we are overcoming the pain. With this day being Father’s Day, my advice to parents who have gone through child loss and especially dads, it is to always remember to say their name!  Your child’s life was and is of value to the world. Your child has a legacy that does not have to end with the huge rip in your chest. There is always a purpose and a plan.  Sometimes you must lean not on your own understanding.  The Lord will direct your path. 

Kathy Cureton, KaMeelah Cureton, Michael Cureton, Jr., Michael Cureton III

-Written by Michael Cureton, Jr., Kathy’s husband, Olivia’s, Kameelah’s and Michael Cureton III’s dad

 

Contradictory Living on Mother’s Day: No Child, a Quarantine and a Tightrope

Every year during this weekend, I do my best to write a blog post that describes what it’s like for me to be a mom, without a child, on the holiday that honors mothers. This year, the coronavirus-induced quarantine provides an extra layer of texture on top of that.

I won’t attempt to speak for every bereaved mom-but for me-having endured the mental, physical, emotional and social pain of child loss also introduced me to a new world of contradictory thinking and living that has never been more profound as it has been during this pandemic.

While I miss my son, I am so glad he is not here to go through this very confusing, anxious time when uncertainty looms and fear overshadows so much of what used to be “normal.” When the pandemic started it hurt my heart to scroll through social media and see young families spending so much time together. The weird thing is I’m not envious of those families since I know I don’t want *their* family–but at the same time I know I want what they have because I know I want *my own* family. (Contradictory thinking at its finest.)

A couple of weeks ago, as a “Mommy Moment” segment was beginning to come on the news I started breathing hard. I could feel the tears coming and I quickly changed the channel to stop what was sure to be a pretty long crying session.  I want my son here desperately. And on the other hand, I’ve heard stories from moms and dads about how hard life has been since they have been thrust into the world of not only being a parent, but being an educational instructor, a gym teacher, an arts and crafts connoisseur, a lunchroom attendant and so much more, all while trying to work from home and maintain a healthy and safe household as the world fights an unseen, serious and sometimes deadly virus. While I know I would be up for the challenge of taking all of this on—I must be honest with myself and admit that I can’t begin to imagine what daily adventures and stressors that lifestyle presents.  

There’s probably no better example of the dichotomy in which a bereaved mom lives in than on Mother’s Day. Most of us are already on an extremely thin tightrope of trying to balance “living life beyond child loss” and wanting nothing more than for our child or children who have passed away to be back in our arms. That tightrope comes with the pressure of continuing to walk with our heads held high while others say insensitive things that they don’t realize are insensitive. It also comes with wanting to maintain hope and faith while a constant barrage of thoughts about what the future holds and if more children are there—should we even want more—play in our minds. Walking on that tightrope brings with it the ever-so cautious practice of avoiding triggers that sometimes we don’t even realize exist until they are staring at us in our faces. When you throw in a day that was created to honor moms and some of us are left to question if that day even applies to us since the people who would be calling us “mom” aren’t here—it can make for a very confusing time.

This year on Mother’s Day, I want to remind bereaved moms that they are still mothers, as I always do.  I also want them to know that it’s completely fine to live in the paradoxical; contradictory; sometimes you don’t know if you’re coming or going; one minute you feel like you’re on top of the world and the next minute you feel like you’re underneath it; one minute you’re moving mountains and the next minute the mountain is moving you; one second  you’re praising God and in the same breath you’re cursing Him for taking your child and leaving you here to explore this new world. Mama, it is OK. Take a deep breath. Whew.

Know that you are not alone and that this pandemic, its quarantine and this season has brought challenges that none of us could’ve predicted.

Know that while walking on a tightrope is extremely hard, you have what it takes on the inside of you to continue putting one foot in front of the other and to keep on walking. Let your child’s spirit guide you and surround you with the love that only he or she can give you.

Finally, know that Mother’s Day even has a bit of contradictory nature of its own. Afterall, it’s a time to celebrate those who are fierce, yet loving, strong, yet sensitive, wise enough to discipline, yet ever so caring about their children. It sounds like Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate women just like you. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama….never forget that you are still a mom  <3.

-Danielle Nicole Lewis Jones © 2020

She Had To Die So I Could Live

Sunflower for DeMarla's postI am a baby loss survivor. On August 1,  2014 my angel baby Alexandria was welcomed home to be with her Heavenly Father and from that day I was forever changed. I learned I was pregnant with Alexandria, who was unexpected,  after taking 3 pregnancy tests and having blood work done at the OB for consultation. I was beyond excited and in total shock only because I was on birth control and had no intensions on having another baby. She was the perfect plan I never thought of and God had other plans and His timing was everything.

While I was pregnant I attended all of my prenatal visits since I was considered “high risk” with my two previous pregnancies due to my history of preeclampsia. My blood pressure was always high but it was monitored without medication.

My 20 week checkup resulted in red flags and the doctors became worried so they took precautions and ordered lab work, a series of tests, and repeatedly took my blood pressure to rule out what they thought could cause complications in my pregnancy. The result came back that I had protein in my urine and my red blood count was not within normal range.

I was sent home with a urine jug and was told to return it the next day which was very  familiar to me since this was my third time having this done due to my history. I was then cleared to go home until my next checkup. My pregnancy was good up until four days before my 22 week check up which caused me to go the hospital after experiencing what I thought was indigestion and being told by my doctor to take Tums. I knew my body, and something was telling me to go the hospital, but I didn’t listen until the evening. That led me to the emergency room for upper right abdominal pain and severe tenderness. When I arrived at the hospital in so much pain and rushed up to the labor and delivery floor, I was told that I was on my death bed and was very lucky to have arrived when I did because I hadn’t I would not have been able to last another day.

Once I was admitted, the medical staff plugged me up to monitors and and inserted IVs. I realized that my life was no longer my own and that I was no longer in my right state of mind. I become completely numb-both physically and emotionally. The next morning the nurse came in my room and diagnosed me with HELLP syndrome which stands for
H-hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells)
EL– elevated liver enzymes (liver function)
LP– low platelets counts (platelets help the blood clot)
What this means is my kidneys and immune system was shutting down. All I heard was the attending doctor telling my husband that they needed to delivery my daughter immediately or we would risk losing both of our lives. The choice was made and I was immediately prepared for labor. During the birth of my miracle baby a white light over shadowed me and I felt like my body was no longer mine. However, I could still feel my daughter and see tiny pixels of her hands healing me from the inside. She looked at me and smiled and then she was gone. The time I had with her was bittersweet and through this experience I have gained a new perspective on life.

Since she passed away, I have asked the question of “why” over and over again and the question has been answered. What I have learned has guided me into the person I am today. Alexandria was not meant to be here for a long time. She was sent here from God to serve her purpose, which was to save her mother from a disease that she didn’t know she was fighting. Not only did she give me another chance at life, but two years later she sent down Aleece, our “Rainbow baby.”

Aleece Harris

Our Rainbow Baby, and Alexandria’s sister, Aleece.

Alexandria taught me that life is precious and should not be taken for granted. I strongly feel she is going to make sure that I demonstrate this every day by shining her light through me. She healed me from within and she made me whole again. I didn’t carry her out of the hospital in a wheelchair with a car seat safely placed on my lap. I carry her spirit in my mind, body, and most of all in my heart.

Rainbow for DeMarla's post

Alexandria made me an angel mommy and I promise to continue to tell her story, say her name often, inspire others, and keep smiling. Until I meet my sweet baby girl again, I will be loving her for forever.

-Written by De’Marla Harris

 

A New Reality on Father’s Day

A New Reality on Father’s Day

AS-1Do you remember in Kindergarten, when the teacher would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up?

While everyone else said, “a fireman!” “a doctor!” “an astronaut!” I said, “a Daddy!”

I thought a dad was the coolest job in the world! Mostly because I was fortunate enough to have a great father myself, who was present, loving, and always there for me.

Last year I got my wish when my wife and I became pregnant with a baby boy.

I was so excited and nervous at the same time. It really hit me when I heard his heartbeat on the ultrasound for the first time. I had helped create a new life.

At that moment, I leapt into full Dad-prep mode. My wife didn’t have to tell me to get any baby books, I went out and bought four off of Amazon immediately!

I was on Consumer Reports and watching YouTube reviews every day on baby strollers, car seats, pack n plays–everything. I had diapers and changing areas on every floor of our house. I attended all the classes at the hospital along with my wife and had two different apps on my phone for contraction counting.

I wasn’t growing my child inside me, so I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to prepare for his arrival. I was going to figure out how to do this Dad thing.

I couldn’t wait to meet him.

August 21, 2018

We had a textbook pregnancy and had no issues with mom or baby. But then, at 38 weeks, his heart was no longer beating. He had passed and we had to deliver him stillborn.

I drove my wife to the hospital in a daze. The car seat was still in the backseat. We had our hospital bags in the car. We were going through all the motions of what we had trained for in the 6 weeks of classes we took at the hospital, but it wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

Nine hours of labor later, we met our beautiful baby boy, Ethan Alexander Schutte, delivering him into a world he would never know.

We left the hospital with a blue box that contained his onesie, a hat, and a teddy bear, having to walk past happy new parents clicking their living babies into their car seats in the back, beaming with pride, love, and excitement.

AS 2

We were faced with our new reality and forced to walk through a difficult journey.

We were part of the 1 percent of pregnancies that end in stillbirth.

The Journey Begins

I took two weeks off work and focused on being there for my wife and helping her heal – physically and emotionally. She had gone through all of the pain of childbirth with none of the benefits.

Adding insult to injury, her milk was coming in, so I found myself setting timers, with Alexa calling out “change the boob cabbage”. Somehow my wife and I were able to maintain a sense of humor in all of this.

AS 3I found myself just doing. I was finding ways to stay busy. I took care of the funeral arrangements, packed baby items into the basement, built a new bar cabinet, and even installed a little decorative fountain bubbler in our backyard.

I was doing doing doing, but not being or feeling.

 

This is often how men react to grief. Many grieving men throw themselves into work or doing physical activity. Others become more silent, withdrawn or distant, while many become angry, lashing out at the smallest annoyance or even attempt to cope by abusing alcohol or drugs.

These are all common responses and some are ok for a period of time, but these can all become unhealthy if we don’t allow ourselves to acknowledge and feel our grief.

Leaning Into and Learning from My Grief

My wife and I went to 6 weeks of grief therapy. The therapist acknowledged that not many men attended therapy.

In one session, the therapist was asking my wife how she was doing and my wife said, “hey, you tend to focus a lot on me, but I want to know how Alex is doing. He lost a son as well.” The therapist was stunned. Most of the focus had been on my wife (understandably of course), but we never really spent any time on my experience.

When men experience loss, they often get overlooked. We’re always the support person, but never the bereaved.

The therapist gave me an assignment. I had to write a letter to my son. I sat on my front porch on a windy Fall day and began to write. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I grappled with my emotions.

A man’s grief is often connected more with the future than with the past, especially when the grief is the loss of a child.

I wrote to my son that I felt “trapped in a deep well filled with wishes and wonder”.

I wish I could have saved you.

I wonder what your personality would have been like.

I wish it was your tears I had to dry instead of my own.

I wonder what your first word would have been.

I wish your mom didn’t have to experience so much grief.

I wonder what kind of parent I’d be.

I wish you were here. With me.

I was still dealing with all of the “why’s” and figuring out where to go from here, but I realized I was faced with a choice.

I could bury my feelings and act like nothing ever happened, I could live in anger, or I could become a beacon of hope for others.

I chose hope. I’ve been able to move forward through Gratitude, Relentless Positivity, and by Living Intentionally.

Gratitude

Gratitude forces you to step outside of what you’re feeling in that moment and put things in perspective. I’ve been fortunate to have had a pretty good life with mostly wonderful high peaks, but have had a few really low valleys. It’s in the valleys that depression lies and is so easy to get caught in the craters of darkness where you can no longer see or remember the beautiful summits of your life.

Forcing yourself to adopt a gratitude mindset can bring much needed comfort. Here’s what I’m grateful for:

I’m grateful I got to feel the unconditional love of being a parent and a father.

I’m grateful I got to see and hold my son. Many who miscarry don’t get that chance.

I’m grateful to have such a strong wife, amazing friends, and a wonderful support system.

We raised $10,000 that went towards local charities, rehabbing a local park, and a commemorative bench and tree with my son’s name on it that we can visit.

The butterfly has become our symbol for Ethan and we think of him every time we see one.

AS 4

“A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment, its glory and beauty belong to our world… but then it flies again, and though we wish it could have stayed… we feel lucky to have seen it.” – Unknown

Relentless Positivity

Much like gratitude, it can be tough to be positive when going through immense grief. However, if you can find gratitude, the next step towards healing is leaning into the future with hope and positivity.

It’s hard not to think of the world as cruel and to cower in your sorrow, but on the other side of pain is love and joy.

Happiness is a choice. While some days are easier than others, I try to wake up each day and choose to make a positive impact on my world and those around me.

I’m still standing. My wife, friends, and family still need me. I still have work to do while I’m on this earth. I’m still a father who gets to celebrate Father’s Day.

Stillborn.
Still heart
Still hurt
Still empty
Still not fair
Still with me
Still loved
Still hope
Still my son
Still born.

Even though I’ve experienced great loss, I believe tomorrow will be better than today.

Living Intentionally

The pain never goes away, but you must forgive yourself and allow yourself to live.

After the loss of my son, I’ve tried to hug more, love more, and live more. Nothing is promised and at the end all we will have are the memories we’ve created and the stories we share with each other. I’ve tried to create more of these memories.

AS 5
One way to help move through grief is to plan something you’re looking forward to in the future. Two months ago, my wife and I took a trip of a lifetime to Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. We also brought along friends and family, with 10 of us in Ireland and 7 in Scotland. We had a blast!

If you feel stuck in your own grief, find something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a trip around the world–just a new positive memory to create a new high peak in your timeline to pull you out of your valley.

My Father’s Day Wish

This year is my first Father’s Day since losing my son and very different than what I ever could have imagined. I’m 10 months removed from my greatest low point, but am walking through my journey in the best way I know how.

Through this experience, I’ve realized men and women process grief very differently, and I’ve also seen the impact that overall society has on the way men in particular grieve – whether that grief is from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of a relationship.

In talking with other men who have had similar experiences, I’ve uncovered positive and healthy ways of overcoming grief, but have also seen the negative impact when men are unable to process grief appropriately.

Today, I ask you to reach out to a man in your life who may be going through a tough time, but doesn’t show it, and allow him space to grieve in his own way.

Let’s make dialogue about male grief more common, so that men who need to grieve can begin their journey.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, whether all your children are here with us or not. I see you.

Helpful Resources for Men Dealing with Grief

Written by Alex Schutte, Ethan’s Dad

The Irreplaceable Child and No “At Least”: Happy Mother’s Day

At this point, I’ve been on this bereaved mother’s journey for nearly four years. While I can say that my days are easier from a grief perspective than they were four years ago, I’ll also admit that there are still plenty of days and nights that are hard and trigger points that spark thoughts of  immense sadness that rear their head(s) at the most unexpected of times. 

On this road, being a part of the sorority that no one wants to join, I’ve met some of the most remarkable women. Women who have endured unthinkable losses and who have somehow mustered up enough strength to go on, one day at a time and consistently “show up” for their families, their friends, their co-workers, their communities and  most of the time at the bottom of the list, themselves.

One of the things that many of us discuss is how our children are unique and irreplaceable and how no matter how many more children we have or how many other children are in our lives due to us being aunts or cousins or loved ones or how old we get or what happens, we know that we’ll never forget the one or two or many of our own children who have passed away. 

The thing about child loss and Mother’s Day is that as a bereaved mom, you are faced with many truths. Two of them being that your child who passed away will always have a special place in your heart that no other child or person can ever fill; and that there is no “at least.”  Phrases like “at least you’re an aunt, at least you have other children or at least you were able to be a mom at one point” don’t make us feel any better….they make us realize that our children are gone.

So, on this Mother’s Day, I want bereaved moms to know that your children matter and that you matter. I know that if you have 10 living children but you had 11 and one of them passed away that you will  always miss that special one. I want you to know that you, mama, are loved and deserve to be loved and that you deserve to go easy on yourself. I know that no matter how many other children are in your life, that your child is irreplaceable and that there is no “at least.”

Continue to keep your child’s memory alive and know that on the day when moms are being honored for their unyielding love, courage, lessons taught, sacrifices made and resilience, that you are one of the best.

Love, light, peace, blessings….and Happy Mother’s Day,

Danielle Nicole Lewis Jones

A Bereaved Mom’s Message to Bereaved Dads on Father’s Day

Father’s Day for many dads includes playing golf, having a cookout, playing games with his kids, spending time with them through going to church together or doing some other activity or just relaxing and relishing in the fact that he’s a dad. But for some dads, Father’s Day comes with pain and grief because their child has passed away. 

I remember when our son was in the hospital, I was in the hospital too, recovering from my C-section. During that time my husband became Superman for our little family and showed a side of him that I’d never seen before. He’d go between the hospital I was in to visit with me and then he’d rush to the hospital our son was in to visit with him. In fact, over the course of our son’s life, he spent more time with him than anyone else. They had some very special moments that no one else will ever know the intimate details of because my husband made it a point to be there for “his boy” as much as he possibly could. 

I remember when the doctors would say that our son’s vitals were slipping and my husband would “speak life” into his protegee and tell him that he was healthy and that his father loved him. He even made a CD with him speaking those  powerful words over our son and the CD would play 24 hours a day in his hospital room so that our son and anyone who walked into his hospital room would hear his voice encouraging his little guy. 

For the dads whose children have passed away, my heart goes out to you. Just because your child has passed away doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t celebrate Father’s Day. After all, it was the seed that you carried within you long before your wife, girlfriend or significant other was carrying your child, that gave way for the very little person that made you a father. It is because of YOU that moms and families exist. There is no love like a father’s love. He protects and provides, while his love guides, leads and directs. That doesn’t stop when your child passes away, it just looks different. You still get to have those quiet conversations within your heart that only you and your child get to share and you get to choose to make decisions every day that would make your child proud of you. 

Continue to hold your head high, know that your significance as a father will never diminish and enjoy your day. 

Happy Father’s Day
Danielle Nicole Jones

 

When Mother’s Day is Hard

Mother's Day--giving one backMother’s Day can be hard for some people for a variety of reasons…there are people whose mother has passed away, there are some people who have never had a close relationship to their mother or they were abandoned by her at some point during their life. Others have strained or awkward relationships with their mother and on the day  when everyone else is celebrating their matriarch with ease, these people wish Mother’s Day would quickly pass by.

And then you have people like me whose child has died and she is trying to figure out should she celebrate Mother’s Day too–and if so, how; she’s self conscious because she’s wondering if  other people feel some kind of way for her wanting to celebrate the day; she’s super self conscious because she visibly sees the way others are struggling to figure out if they should or shouldn’t wish her a Happy Mother’s Day and then she’s hurting on the inside because Mother’s Day reminds her of the harsh reality that she went through all of the motions of being a mother (conceiving, carrying, loving and making plans for a child, etc…) but she doesn’t have the child to show for it.  

Here’s my message for the mamas who are struggling on Mother’s Day because of child loss. You are still a mom. You are not less than. Your child passing away doesn’t change those facts. You are loved and you deserve to be told Happy Mother’s Day. You deserve to celebrate today like any other mother. While some moms carry their child in their arms, you carry your child’s spirit in your heart. It is your decision to decide on how you choose to remind people of your little angel or if you decide to keep those memories to yourself. Be gentle to yourself. Accept love from others. Don’t be afraid to correct the people who challenge your “mother” status on this day. And most importantly, know that you are loved and appreciated for the woman and the mother you are. 

Happy Mother’s Day from a mother who “gets it.” 

Danielle Nicole Jones

What I Learned from My Baby Who Died

IMG_5553Two years ago today, at 7:23 pm, my baby boy passed away from my arms and went straight into the arms of Jesus. Though his death hurts immensely, that little guy taught me several lessons in his short life that usually take people many years to learn. I’m blessed to have had almost nine months to learn from him.

Among those lessons, I learned to be more compassionate, considerate and kind.

He taught me to be less judgmental of others because you never really know what anyone is going through on a day-to-day basis.

He taught me to be brave and courageous. After he passed away, I discovered a layer of badass fearlessness that propels me to go after every dream I’ve ever had. So, when people see that I’m a public relations expert, actress, model, author, television host, business owner, property owner, world-renown speaker, and whatever other dream God lays on my heart from now until eternity, we’ll all have my baby boy to thank for being my inspiration to get off of my behind and actually go for it.

He taught me to be aware of everything around me. At one point, his doctors told us that because of his small chin size that his tongue couldn’t lay down flat in his mouth, which could’ve caused his tongue to fall back and cover his airway. I never paid attention to people’s chins before—but Lord knows I do now.

He taught me to live my truth in its entire manifestation. My truth is that just because my son died, it doesn’t mean that I’m not a mom. And just because the miracle we desired didn’t go the way we planned, it doesn’t mean that a miracle didn’t take place. These are my truths and I live in them and embrace them every day of my life.

My baby’s death taught me to cherish every single moment. As a parent of a NICU baby, you watch several monitors and you listen to every sound that those monitors make all day, every day. You hang on to any sign of hope and your emotions fluctuate for as long as you can take it until you fall asleep, wake up and start the cycle all over again. You become accustomed to your child’s medical status changing from minute to minute, sometimes second to second. And in the midst of those time keeping measures, you learn to hold onto every second as though it is the only second that will ever matter.

I’ve learned to be more gentle on myself and with others. God freely gives grace to all of us to get it right. And even when we don’t, He extends it again and again and again. There’s no reason why I can’t extend that same grace to myself and others.

Finally, my baby taught me to love deeply, enjoy experiences fully and to live life purposefully. I have learned to not take ever take any person, thing or experience for granted. Tomorrow is not promised and each person has the awesome responsibility of cherishing each day as it comes.

Thank you, little boy, for being one of your mama’s best teachers.IMG_5499

-Danielle Nicole Jones

Happy Father’s Day; Dads Hurt Too

If you want to get my husband excited, ask him about his son.

If you want to make my husband happy, ask him about his son.

If you want to get my husband to talk, ask him about his son.

Over the last two years, I’ve learned that there is nothing that makes my husband light up more than when people spark a conversation with him about “his boy.” His face beams with pride as he talks about his dreams of his son being a linebacker and how he envisioned the days when he and his son would have the daily goal of being involved in so much ruckus around our home that they would both “get in trouble with me.”

I’ve met many other dads with similar sentiments. Just because their children aren’t physically here, it doesn’t mean that they stopped being dads. It means that fatherhood for them looks different than what they imagined. Most of the times, people are so concerned about how a woman is doing after the loss of a child that they neglect to think about the man who carried the seed that created the child. So on this Father’s Day, don’t forget that dads hurt too. Let a bereaved father who is hurting know that he’s still a dad and that he is loved.

Light, Love and Blessings!
Happy Father’s Day!

-Danielle Nicole Jones

 

Dads Hurt Too-pic

*Taken from Remembermyfootprints.com.

 

A Dad Hurts Too

Happy Mother’s Day, #imstillamom

My child passing away does not change the fact that I’m still a mom. In fact, it never will.

For many women, Mother’s Day and the days that lead up to it bring a multitude of

Junior's Cremation Bear

A picture of Junior and his special bear. Every parent who has experienced infant loss knows what this bear is <3.

emotions, especially for bereaved mothers. For some, there is grief, anxiety, anger, sadness, hopelessness, despair, confusion and the feeling of literally being heartbroken. And for many women whose only or whose every pregnancy and/or childbirth experience has ended in a miscarriage or infant loss, Mother’s Day hurts from the pain that comes from these same women questioning their own status, or having others question their status as a mother on a day that celebrates moms.  

 

To the woman who is reading this and who knows what this feels like, I want you to know that living through miscarriage(s), pregnancy loss(es), SIDS, infant death(s) or the death of a child or children  doesn’t negate you being a mother. In fact, your experience(s) makes you one of the strongest moms there is. Your ability to remember and honor your child’s or children’s lives after they’ve passed away–even in the midst of heartache and on some days, truly unbearable pain–means that you, my dear, are a mom who has extra-ordinary love and strength in her heart. 

On Mother’s Day, and the day leading up to it, I’m asking for all of the moms who have lived through the loss of a child, especially pregnancy or infant loss, to raise awareness about this special group of women by creating a social media status with “#imstillamom.” And if they’re brave, “#momof___” with the number of children who they are a mom to (including their children who they have lost to miscarriage, pregnancy loss, SIDS and infant loss). One-in-four women have suffered that type of loss. And I’m one of them. There are moms around the world who know what this feels like–but they don’t have to walk alone, especially on Mother’s Day. And they need to know that they aren’t alone.

To the mama who is struggling on Mother’s Day because of what she’s lived through–know that the day is still for you. You are still a mom, a mommy, a mama and a mother. Nothing and no one will every change that.

Peace, love, light and blessings.
Danielle Nicole Jones
#imstillamom, #yourestillamom
#momof1
#juniorsmommy

Dani Girl_19