This blog is about love despite a prenatal diagnosis, grief & healing after baby loss, hope, faith, pregnancy after loss and Hydrops Fetalis awareness.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I am excited to be taking part of Capture Your Grief 2015 by CarlyMarie for the 4rth year!  After a wonderful and busy summer, many changes and adaptations, cooler temperatures & shorter days were inevitable, I was looking forward to this project to pursue healing, keep my baby girl's memory alive and raise awareness for PAIL...

"Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child of any age or gestation. There are 31 subjects, one for each day in the month of October. You are invited to explore each subject and share a photo that captures your own journey. You are welcome to take new photos or use ones from the past. Capture Your Grief is about exploring your grief and discovering more about your thoughts to aid in your journey of healing and personal growth. You can join the project at any time of the month."

I will try my best to explore each of the subjects planned for each day during this beautiful  month of October.






Day1- SUNRISE

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

                                                    Lamentations 3:22-23




Day 2 - INTENTION


Through this project, that allows me to express Lily's legacy of creativity, I intend to pursue my efforts to speak for the little ones who can't...the little ones who deserve nothing but love&hope despite a prenatal diagnosis of a life limiting condition.  I intend to try to support families going through what we have been by sharing our story.




*This is a photo I took this afternoon as I was having a little treat and found a heart shape chopping some of the last delicious local strawberries that are still in my fridge.


Day 3-  IN HONOUR

I am doing this project in loving memory of my baby girl Lily;  a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a grand daughter... a surprise, a gift, a precious soul that had a purpose.




Before I was born the Lord called me;
from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.  Isaiah 49:1



Day 4- DARK+LIGHT

The dark and ugly side of grief was the bitterness that I was tempted to feel towards mothers that had never lost a baby, who were pregnant or had newborn babies or were complaining about their motherhood challenges. Discomfort in those situations was normal but I felt bitterness was unhealthy. During many months, I battled with these emotions, praying for God to wash them away from my heart, to give me the strength to face uncomfortable situations and to love despite being uncomfortable.  When bitter feelings came up, I would focus on being thankful to God for Lily, for my other children and for those babies that really, were little miracles too...  That brings me to the peace that God filled my heart with along with comfort and hope through this journey of grief filled with heartache and pain. Without Him, I know I would be bitter and mad today, I would not have chosen healing. Through His wonderful creation I still can see the beauty of this life and the beauty of Lily's life.  God is the One who fills my heart with sweetness from above.



"I'm going to give you a new heart, and I'm going to give you a new spirit within all of your deepest parts.  I'll remove that rock-hard heart of yours and replace it with one that is sensitive to me."
Ezechiel 36:26

* I took this picture when we went apple picking today (day 4).  It was a calm & peaceful day filled with God's grace of having my 6 earthly children and my hubby to spend it with and the beauty & sweetness of walking through the apple orchard while eating apples fresh from the tree.



Day 5-  EMPATHY

I love for friends and family to acknowledge Lily on her birthday or at least acknowledge that this is a special day for me (us).  A short note, an e-mail, a $ store birthday or "thinking of you" card, a phone call... Silence hurts on that day.  I went through 12 hours of labor and I delivered Lily's body just like I delivered my other children.  The room was silent when she was born...I need the silence to not be part of that day anymore.  That being said, I received a lot of support on Lily's 3rd birthday.  Sure, I had to talk about it and mention how we were remembering Lily but I see it as the same as when I have a birthday party for my other kiddos...I kinda need to send birthday invites if I want their friends to come.  I don't expect people to remember on their own because I am the first one to not know by heart most of my friends' children's birth dates (children on earth or in heaven).   Sending birthday invitations for a kid's birthday is a lot easier for me than putting into words that Lily's birthday is around the corner...this is part of breaking the silence because it would be a beautiful thing for this to be as easy and natural as announcing any children's birthday and for loved ones to respond positively as well.  Just like a simple band-aid has the power to comfort, so does remembering my child, especially on her birthday.


"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep"
Romans 12:15


* I took this picture today (day 5).  My 5 year old came back from school with a "big" bobo on his hand.  He insisted on putting a new band-aid by himself.  (Of course, he is able to do everything and he also knows it all...!)


Day 6- BOOKS

https://www.facebook.com/Two-Small-Footprints-in-Wet-Sand-551595318204625/timeline/

Two Small Footprints in Wet Sand is a testimonial noval, "a true tale told by a mother.  It's the story of a little girl, of family, friends and the medical community united to define life by it's beauty rather than it's length."

I read the French version of this book and the second one by the same author last winter...

I simply loved it!  It was inspiring, filled with love and it did bring me healing to read how Anne-Dauphine Julliand, the author and mother of Thaïs,  is putting into words how valuable and precious every life is and how grief does not have to control our lives. 



  • **This is a picture I took of it before I returned it to the library last winter.  I wish I had a better one...


Day 7- MEMORY

  " Remember when..."  You know, those words that we hear all the time when we recall memories? Well, 24 weeks was just too short, I don't have many events that other people outside of the 7 of us can relate to and remember.  As Lily's mother, I have memories that no one else have because my womb was her home for 24 weeks.  Sadly, I also have much more memories of remembrance of Lily than I have of her alive.  So, today I am sharing a sweet memory about Lily's brief existence on this earth that many friends and family will also be able to remember; how we announced that I was pregnant with #6 who tuned out to be Lily.  So here it is: "Remember when you found out we were expecting Lily?"   




**In December 2011, had already taken the children's photo for our Christmas card.  As some know, taking pictures of more than one child at a time can be a challenge so, I didn't want to start over!  As this 6th pregnancy came as a surprise, I wanted friends and family to be surprised also!  So I included a photo of the pregnancy test assuming that most of them would guess what it was. 

Because I am sharing this here today, for the pleasure of seeing it as it could have been,  I added "Attendu Juillet 2012", it was not mentioned on the original.  I wish I had thought of writing "Due July 2012" or "Expected July 2012" above the pregnancy test in the first place.

The Bible verse in English says:  "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift."  2 Corinthians 9:15  While God's grace is the gift referring to in the verses, I thought that each of my children, even #6 was a grace from the Lord. (#6 was jumping into our lives at a very odd moment, the timing was not ideal in our eyes but God always knew what he was doing).  Nothing could have more value than life.


Day 8- Wish List

My wish and hopes are that perinatal hospice and palliative care or comfort care could be set in place in every town and be a strong support for families who face a prenatal fatal diagnosis and are tragically currently  too often only offered to terminate.



**I took this photo of the moon the night we observed  the moon eclipse.  I had never achieved to capture stars before, I couldn't believe my eyes!  I chose this photo because of the popular saying"to wish upon a star".


Day 9- FAMILY

This is my family.  This is how we are most of the time.  We are not colour coordinated, we love to make memories together and Lily's presence in our hearts is invisible.  I have just recently been comfortable with taking some family pictures where Lily is not included in some way because reality is, she is not here anymore.  She is forever missing. But don't get me wrong, I still love to include Lily's memory in our "formal" family photo sessions, this, I am not ready to part with.  
My family is a true gift form God.  I love my family.  Funny thing about our big family is that by the time I realize and start to enjoy the blessed moments of bliss and peace, there usually is something that comes up and craziness is back.  It's like a pattern.  But I still wouldn't change a thing, I would be lost without them!



**I took this photo last winter (with the help of the timer on my camera so I could join in the picture).  It was one of the rare moment we were all skating at the same time.  My children are growing up and making their own decisions but my mother's heart is still full when all my children are with me.

Day 10- WORDS

Truth.  Drs did not see Lily's value because she was not born and was going to die.  But she was alive and the very fact that she was conceived is a miracle.  Her life was precious. Short but valuable.






*This apple tree was smaller than all the others in the orchard but it was still full of fruit...



Day 11- GLOW IN THE WOODS

The person who was there for me the most and who had (unfortunately) suffered babyloss is my friend Jenn @ http://www.treasuringlifesblessings.com/.  As I have said countless times, my grief journey would have been very dark without her.  She is the one who helped me discover about so many resources that made me feel supported and comforted.  Here are a few of those:



There is also another resource that I found out about a year after Lily died.  It is especially for families carrying until birth despite a fatal prenatal diagnosis :





Day 12- NORMALIZING GRIEF

My friend Jenn had a photo album on her facebook page of her son Noah's name...pictures that looked more professional, and many that were simply sweet and original sent by some friends or taken by her own children.  I loved the idea the minute I saw it!  So I asked her permission to do the same and she "laughed" and said the idea was not hers.  I was so new to this community, I did not know how common it was!  So I began collecting pictures of Lily's name and unfortunately got some harsh negative comments from some who did not know baby loss...  So this is why I share... there is nothing wrong with writing your baby's name to remember him/her.  Grieving is natural, healthy and necessary. Remembering Lily this way has brought me comfort and is a way that my children can remember her too.  I cannot hold her, I cannot see her grow up but she has a name.  Her name remains a tangible thing that we have of her here on earth.


*This photo was taken a couple summers ago...I love it!


Day 13- REGRETS + TRIGGERS

I think we all live with regrets.  To me the question is;  what to do with them?

I deal with them reminding myself that I did my best.  I found peace asking God to forgive my negative reaction when I found out I was pregnant with Lily.  My reaction was simply human.  Fear is a human emotion.  I regret being afraid, being terrified to have my baby die in my arms.  I was petrified at the idea that she could suffer before she died.  So, I did not pray for her to be born alive. I was so scared that I just let it go, let it all up to God, I prayed that His will be done.  Without a fight, like I was too weak to argue.  I regret not praying to meet her I regret being so afraid.  I guess I did do my best and that ultimately, God had a plan for her life and my fears were only human.

As for triggers, this is a subject that is very abstract, year after year when asked about it in this project so I will not address  it for this time.







Day 14- EXPRESS YOUR HEART

I am not sure what I want to talk about here.  I guess I want to express my gratitude towards the Lord's faithfulness. He picks me up where I am and His love never changes.  Because of Him, I grieve with hope...


"...God's love never fails."
Psalms 136


Day 15- WAVE OF LIGHT

I have read a couple good articles about why October 15 is important.  Here are a few good ones that I found:






*A wave of light...I love to imagine what this looks like from space (that is if we could see it from there...) how special...




Day 16- CREATIVE GRIEF

Most definitely, this is how grief has left an imprint on me.  I always loved photography but I blamed it on just being a fan of my children and a paranoid mother who wanted to document everything so I would not forget and my kids would have memories later on.  Photography is the creative way I like to remember Lily and when I am behind the camera, it really feels right and it feels good.  I love to document my grief this way.  Not only during the month of October, but all year long.  On days when I feel a bit down, I pick up my camera and I usually feel much better after. 


*Nature is a big part of what I love to capture.  In Heaven, Lily sees magnificent things that are even more beautiful than what we can witness here...but I can only appreciate what I see and what she would have seen too.  I like to capture what I would have loved to see her appreciate too if she had been here.  Creation is beautiful!




Day 17- SECONDARY LOSSES

Before Lily died I knew who I was. I was a mother who loved to look after her kids.  I loved watching TV and I loved to cook and bake. After Lily died it seemed like everything became a chore.  I hated watching TV, I didn't care about cooking or baking anymore.  I was fine interacting with my children but as soon as I would have to discipline, it quickly became overwhelming.  It felt like mourning and grieving took most of the space.  I lost my sense of organisation and I lost my ability to focus.  I still managed to feed my family and to clean but I resented it.  Now, I have been slowly grabbing back what I had lost...my interests, my focus etc. but it has been a journey.



Day 18- Seasons + Symbols

As soon as the first cold days come in the fall, the freezing sensation brings me back to the morning I came back home from the hospital.  I was so cold, and I could feel it in my heart like it was freezing too.  Even my heart felt cold.

As for symbols, the lily flower is what always reminds me of my girl.



Day 19- Music

I am sharing the link to a song that was written because of baby Samantha Bueno by her parents Charity Grace & Vincent Bueno.  Samantha has been diagnosed with anencephaly but despite drs advise to terminate the pregnancy, her mother and father decided to carry her until birth.  As a matter of fact, today is the day they expect to meet their daughter.  



Lily had a strong heartbeat until the end...She lived 24 weeks in my womb.   She was a fighter.



Day 20- Forgiveness + Humanity

Ironically, today is my husband's birthday.  We have been married for 20 years now.  All I can say is that forgiveness was and is still something mandatory when you have been with someone for that long!  He keeps messing up and yeah, I keep messing up too!  We are both human beings, very different human beings.  As a parent, I also have to ask my living children to forgive me, as I am far from a perfect parent.  I have to teach them the importance of forgiveness for the sake of their own happiness and well-being.

Forgive: verb | for-give | : to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone).


Letting go of the anger by forgiving will bring peace.  The damage that has been done may have left an open wound or a scar and trust will have to be earned again but anger will be gone.



Day 21:  SACRED SPACE

There is a shelf in my dining room with all sorts of little items that I change around depending on the season or the event. It is surrounded by our daily family messy items...
 It is Lily's remembrance shelf.  






Day 22: DREAMS + RITUALS

I daydream of Lily and find myself desperately trying to imagine who she is now.  It took me over 2 years to be able to accept the thought that maybe she was growing in heaven or that maybe she was already a certain age.  The thought of her not being a baby anymore when we would be reunited used to be too much to bear. I now like to daydream that somehow, I won't have missed anything and that I just might be able to see all that has been going on all this time we were separated by heaven and earth...

On Lily's birthday, I like to remember her with a birthday cake and a single candle, one candle representing one life.  I also like to create special themed events on FB. and invite my friends to remember Lily's short life with us.  Last year was a ladybug theme. The first was photos of the sky, sunrise, sunset.  Year 2  was very difficult because Lily's grand-parents on my husband's side told us they would not remember by gathering together on her special day.  I was very hurt by that.  On top of it all, the new addition to our family was only 8 months and I was quite busy.  Since I did not blog about what we did, I don't have many positive memories about year 2.  That sucks.




Day 23: LOVE LETTER

I have written a letter for today.  It is not a typical love letter but I would say it is a declaration of love & respect for all life.  It is a letter written in French asking for Perinatal palliative and hospice services in my region & Province, for parents who face a prenatal diagnosis of a limited life expectancy for their unborn child. 


**Those lily flower stamps became available a few weeks after Lily died.  I bought many of them hoping they would last many years...


Day 24: CHOOSE YOUR BREATH

I believe grief and healing can co-exist.  Where am I in my grief journey?  I have been comforted by my Lord, and He still provides for comfort whenever I need it.  I have chosen about 8 months into my grief that healing was going and had to happen.  I am comfortable where I am now.  I think and hope that I will always feel the need to remember my girl and keep her memory alive.  There is not much else to do as her mother...she does not need me for now where she is.  I am a bereaved mother who walks through a life where loss and pain and joy and beauty co-exist.



Day 25: EARTH REMEMBRANCE

We did plant many lily flowers that had been offered to us the day of Lily's funeral.  But they are not where I want them to be.  I have finally decided on a better place for them. This is a project hat I am very excited about and that will be completed in the spring!




Day 26: GRATITUDE

Thankfulness is what has helped me fight bitterness.  Thankfulness has brought peace when I was pregnant with Lily's little sibling.  The Bible says to be thankful at all times and it sure has always helped me put things into perspective and trust that God was in control.


My youngest child has a thing for this Precious Moments Angel doll...it says the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep prayer...it could also be grateful and praying.


Day 27: SELF PORTRAIT
It is scientific fact that Lily's (as well as all my other children) cells have been left behind...I like to think she left me creativity cells and empathy cells.  My passion for photography simply bloomed after I had Lily as well as many other ways I now love to express myself.

Day 28:  REACH OUT
This year again, we will donate shoe boxes for children by Samaritian's Purse.  This is a beautiful project that is bringing joy to children in need.  Because children are precious in God's eyes.
** My "baby's" older brother is helping him take a few sips of hot chocolate.  On that day my oldest boys started a fire and were very excited to try boiling water to make hot chocolate...  Just like a simple hot chocolate made their day, a shoe box can make a child smile too.
Day 29: WHAT HEALS YOU
Photography heals me.  Creative crafts heal me.  My rainbow brought me physical and emotional healing.  Blogging heals me.  Capture Your Grief heals me.  But above all, my faith and hope in Christ heal me.



Day 30: REFLECTION

Today is the day my friend lost her son to SIDS 4 years ago.  My heart has been heavy today all day thinking of her and remembering her son Cameron.
Capture Your Grief was the opportunity for me to open up and share about my grief and healing.  It has been a challenge to complete it and keep up with it because life happens every day!  But I am so grateful for this project that has opened my eyes to healing and the possibility of capturing the emptiness, the beauty and the love that Lily's life left as a legacy.



Day 31: SUNSET













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"Children are a gift from God, babies are a reward." Ps 127.3