Friday, November 29, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: Dreams for a Rainbow Baby

When a couple decides to have a baby, hope begins to form in their hearts. It's not just the hope of a child that develops, but hope for a future with that child. Dreams of what that child will look like, act like, behave like. An expectant parent dreams of the first smile, the teetering first steps and whether the first word will be mama or dada.

When parents are expecting a rainbow baby, those dreams still exist. But they aren't the dreams I think of first. Let me share with you what dreams are foremost in my mind:

I dream of a child who cries.
I long for a baby that keeps me up at night.
I hope for a child who opens their eyes.

I dream of a baby who will throw tantrums.
I long for a child who can hold my finger, not just my heart.
I hope for a child who breathes.

I dream of a child who giggles.
I long for a baby who laughs.
I hope for a child who smiles.

But most of all,

I dream of a baby who curls up. It's that simple.

I dream of a child who curls up on our chests when being held.
I long for a baby who is difficult to change because their legs are tangled up with their arms.
I hope for a child who makes us laugh with their flexibility.

Because it means they are alive.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.


If you are a baby loss parent, what are your dreams for a rainbow baby?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: Overcoming Hesitation

Today I am honoured to share my friend Brittany's story with you. Her son Samuel was stillborn just eight days before Ariella died. While I wish that both of us still had our babies in our arms, I have been so grateful to have Brittany to journey with this year. This is her story of the obstacles she has overcome when thinking about a rainbow baby.

For me walking the path of grief has led to many different feelings regarding another baby and pregnancy. At first, after my son was stillborn at 33 weeks, I was so overwhelmed by losing him the thought of another baby felt light-years away. I would think about having another baby as if it was a dream, or something for way in the future. I was very content with my three children and not sure that I even ever wanted another baby (although I figured that would change as time went on).

As time went on I became more and more adamant in my own mind that I did not want to get pregnant. I was scared by the idea that perhaps another baby would take Samuel's place in my heart and I might "forget" him (I knew that was far from true, but I couldn't even handle the idea of it). The thought of giving birth and holding another baby right after terrified me. Unbeknownst to me this whole time (or most of it) that I was so sure I didn't want to be pregnant I actually was. The day before the 3 month anniversary of my son's birthday I took a pregnancy test and found I was expecting. I was consumed with fear, a tiny bit of excitement (that the fear promptly squashed), frustration and a lot of uncertainty. I knew from the moment I saw those two lines that something was not right and this baby wasn't going to make it either.

The next day, as I wrestled with what-ifs I started cramping and bleeding. As the day went on it intensified to sharp pains and I was barely able to walk or stand. We went into the emergency room (of the same hospital where my son had been born 3 months before, to the day) and the doctor told me I had suffered a miscarriage and that I needed to have surgery to remove a cyst on my ovary. Surgery was scheduled for 5 days later and when I woke up afterwards I was I informed that I had actually had an ectopic pregnancy that burst. Honestly, I was so relieved. So much so that I felt guilty for not mourning losing another baby. I knew I wasn't ready to handle the emotional roller coaster of a pregnancy after loss and losing "Baby #4" (we have not named him/her yet, though we plan to) was so unexpected.

A little over a month later I found out that I have an autoimmune blood clotting disorder called, 'Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome.' It is this disorder that caused the placental abruption I had with Samuel. This brought on so many, many new emotions I've struggled with and it caused me to feel even more adamantly that I did not want to have another baby anytime soon. I felt as if it was my fault that Samuel died, and finding out that if I went through another pregnancy it would mean daily shots, extensive monitoring after 32 weeks, and probably an induction overwhelmed me. I am the kind of person that likes to know all my options, research each one, and find the route I am most comfortable with. My first two children were born at home, the second was a waterbirth and I had loved the comfort and relaxation of having my babies at home and had hoped I could still do that in the future. Knowing now that I can't and there are so many decisions to make and things to research made me sure I didn't want another baby.

I struggled with these feelings for a few months until God (and Larissa! :)) helped me to realize that my obsessing over when to get pregnant and wanting to have every little detail worked out was, in reality, not letting Him have control. As time has gone on I have become more excited at the thought of another pregnancy. We have not been blessed with a rainbow baby yet, but I know that regardless of the future God will bring me through it, just as He has with Samuel and Baby #4.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.

Thank you Brittany for being willing to share your story with us. Has any one else faced medical issues that impact on your feelings regarding a rainbow pregnancy?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: Needing to Try

I've asked my friend Annika to share her journey towards a pregnancy after loss. The feelings of her and her husband are in contrast to those shared yesterday by Sarah. Neither are wrong or right, and their stories highlight the vast range of emotions that can be felt.

After we lost our first baby at six weeks we were desperate to start trying to conceive again and desperate to be pregnant again. Before we got pregnant the first time I think I was definitely the one who wanted things to happen quickly while my husband more relaxed and willing to wait until things happened for us. After we lost our baby he wanted to be pregnant again just as much as me. We would talk about it every day and it was on our minds all the time. We wanted our child here with us as soon as possible.

The devastation of losing our very loved little baby took a long time to overcome. It was a confusing time for us, missing our baby and what should have been while also looking forward to conceiving our rainbow and feeling conflicted about how we would feel when this happened.

We did some research and decided to wait a month after the miscarriage to let my body get back into it’s routine. Unfortunately ever since our loss each month has been unpredictable and confusing which has made trying for our second child a lot harder.

It has been nine months since we lost our little sweet pea and we have not yet conceived our rainbow. We have had two other very early losses since that time and while the desperation has gone we are just so ready to meet our children. It is hard waiting for them to come along but we know they will be here one day. We already love them so very much and have names waiting for them; Henry James and Stella Marie.

Some days it is hard to see the positives. Knowing that we have conceived four times, carried one to 6 weeks and the three other little sparks of life not quite strong enough to stay aflame. We love all of our children, and we will never forget each one, no matter how short their stay with us was. My husband is my rock who reminds us that through them we will feel no greater love and know no greater miracle when it is time for our Henry or Stella to be here.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.

Thank you Annika for sharing your story. Fellow baby loss mums, have you felt similar?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: Waiting for My Heart to be Ready

Today, my dear friend Sarah is sharing about her journey towards a rainbow pregnancy. Sarah's daughter, Evie Caris, was born just over a year ago and went to Heaven a few hours later. You can read more of Evie's story on Sarah's blog, Life and Grace.

One night shortly after my daughter died, I was rocking my toddler son to sleep. Tears streamed down my face as I mourned the fact that I would never get to rock my sweet girl in this special chair as I had her brother a couple of years before. I was just heartbroken and remember thinking, “I just want a baby!” But almost immediately after those words came together in my head, this thought followed, “I don’t just want a baby ... I want my baby. My Evie. The one that was just taken from me.” And I felt that way for a couple of months. I needed Evie to be my baby. I needed to remember her sweetness and daydream about what could have been and allow the sadness of missing her to rob me of sleep. I needed her to be the only baby on my mind for a while and not allow another pregnancy to prevent me from grieving her and remembering her as I needed to.

As the new year rolled around about two months after Evie died, my husband and I started talking about adding to our family. He would be graduating from his master’s degree program at the end of that year and wasn’t too keen on the idea of having a newborn as he was trying to study for and pass finals. And I had planned, as my new year’s resolution, to train for and run a half marathon in Evie’s honor that spring. I thought that being in the early stages of pregnancy and trying to train for a half marathon didn’t work together so well. So with those two things in mind, we decided to start trying for another baby after I ran the half marathon, which meant the baby would potentially be born just after Josh passed all of his final tests. We were both very happy with the plan.

I don’t regret waiting to try for a rainbow baby – not at all. I feel like my heart needed it. And once the time came to start trying for another baby, it was springtime – the flowers were blossoming and the trees were turning green again. The rebirth of beauty in nature felt reflective of my mama heart – after the harshest of winters, I was ready once again to bloom.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.

Thank you Sarah for sharing your story. Has anyone else felt similarly - that your ehart wasn't ready and some time was needed before it would?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: Things to Consider

Deciding when to try for a baby can be a difficult decision at the best of times, but it's a decision that becomes more complicated when the parents have experienced the loss of a baby. As well as needing to think about the normal things, there are extra factors that baby loss parents have to take into consideration. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but I wanted to share with you some thoughts on things that you may like to consider when deciding on a time frame for your rainbow pregnancy.

Test Results
Were any tests taken at the time of your loss that could impact on the success of a later pregnancy? For example, if you have had some blood taken to test for a clotting disorder, it would be wise to wait for those results before becoming pregnant again. If something as simple as taking some aspirin each day was going to drastically increase the odds of bringing home a living baby, that is worth waiting for. Whilst waiting for 6 weeks to get results may feel like forever, keep in mind that anything that increases the likelihood of a living baby will be worth it.

Your Body
I don't think it's news to anyone when I say that pregnancy is tough on a woman's body. Depending on how far along you were when your loss occurred, your body may have gone through immense changes (softening ligaments, moving muscles, labour and birth) and it might be in need of a rest. Will you physically be able to handle another pregnancy? Some doctors say you need to wait "x amount of cycles" before trying again, but others say that it doesn't matter. There doesn't seem to be widespread agreement, so listen to your doctor, don't be afraid to get a second opinion, and trust your instincts about your body.

Your Emotions
It's likely that you will always be at least a little bit afraid of being pregnant again. Considering what you have experienced, I'd say that is perfectly acceptable and normal! I remember hearing once that a good time to start trying for your rainbow baby is "when your desire for another baby is greater than your fear of another pregnancy." I cannot remember where I heard that, but I particularly like how this quote acknowledges that the fear and anxiety will always be there even when it's not the dominant emotion. Being pregnant and preparing for a new baby does somewhat limit your ability to grieve for your child, and you will experience all the normal hormonal/emotional effects of pregnancy. There is no need to rush your emotions.

Your Husband/Partner's Opinion
Your husband may or may not be ready when you are, and that is ok. There's no rule that says partners must be ready at the same time! He may be ready before you or he may take longer to be ok with another pregnancy. If another pregnancy is likely to affect your health, it could be a very scary thing for him to consider. He's already lost a child, and may not be ready for something that will affect your health too. Perhaps he needs more time to grieve without the distraction of preparing for another baby, or maybe he is not ready for the anxious nine month wait for a living baby. Please, whatever you do when deciding when to try again, make sure that you do not push your needs of desires above those of your husband. It would be worth waiting until you are both ready, because you will need each other more than ever during the pregnancy.

Significant Dates/Anniversaries
Think about potential due dates. Are you ok with your next baby potentially having a similar birthday? Are you wanting to avoid being heavily pregnant around the anniversary of your loss? You know better than most people that pregnancies don't always go to plan, but it is worth thinking about things like anniversaries and birthdays. Don't let your desire for a pregnancy right now override how you might feel if your babies were to share the same birthday or month.

Finally, I wanted to mention something that need not be high on your list of things to consider:

What Others Think
This point does not apply to doctors. LISTEN TO THEM! But when it comes to the opinion of your neighbour, hairdresser, long lost cousin or the stranger in the street - that is not important. It is your decision. People who know you well, such as family, close friends or a pastor, are a bit different. They may have ideas on when they think would be an appropriate time for you to try again; perhaps they want you to have another baby as soon as possible, or they may think it is best to wait. I'm not saying to ignore them, but you are the one who knows your situation best. Don't make your decision based on what others say.

Obviously, every person's situation is different. In case this was ever in doubt, over the next few days I'll be sharing the stories of a few of my friends. Each of them have different thoughts when it comes to the timing of pregnancy after loss. I hope that by sharing their stories, you will gain a better understanding of how different people approach this topic.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.

If you have been pregnant after a loss, what things did you consider? Is there something you would add when talking to someone who is thinking about a rainbow pregnancy?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: The Paradox

Pregnancy after loss. It's the one thing you truly want but are truly terrified of getting. Before it happens, you lie awake at night hoping, praying, wondering when your little miracle will begin. When it happens, you lie awake at night hoping and praying that it won't end in another loss and wondering how you will possibly cope if it does.

The two lines on the home pregnancy test are only small, but they are enough to induce the strangest fixture of fear and excitement you have ever experienced. Will this be the baby you get to bring home? Please God, let this be the one you can bring home.

You feel like going out in public is going out in a minefield. Will you see someone who doesn't know this is a subsequent pregnancy? Someone who tells you "not to worry, it won't happen again"? Or maybe, just maybe, you'll bump into someone who gives you a hug and acknowledges it's both a wonderful and scary time. You don't know what to expect, and the unknown is hard.

You get excited about wearing maternity clothes again. But when the time comes, you can't bring yourself to wear the same ones as last time; the memories are too strong. It feels ridiculous to go buy new ones, after all, the old ones were only worn for a few months. But the need to have different ones cannot be ignored. It doesn't make sense, but then again, nothing on this journey does.

Ultrasounds are nerve-wracking. It's not enough to feel the baby kick during the scan, you need to see the heartbeat before your own pounding heartbeat will settle down. Instead of simply enjoying seeing your little baby on the screen, you spend most of the time hoping and praying that each measurement is what it should be and that every aspect of your little miracle is what it should be.

Seeing another pregnant woman is also on the list of things that are hard. They all look so carefree. Do they know how lucky they are? What a truly amazing thing it is to have a living baby, whether born or unborn? You feel jealous of their joyful naivety, but at the same time cannot help but wonder if they too are the 1 in 4 whose innocence about pregnancy has been harshly ripped away.

Feeling your baby kick and move around brings a sense of peace. But some days they move so much that it's slightly annoying, painful even. But you dare not admit that to anyone, because you know how blessed you are to even be feeling those movements in the first place. The same is true for general pregnancy aches and pains. The pain that you feel as your muscles and ligaments stretch is legitimate and yet, you know you should be grateful for that pain. It means you have gotten further in your pregnancy than many women ever do. The bigger the baby, the more chance they have of surviving...right?

The knowledge that this pregnancy is a gift, a wonderful miracle, is always with you. But at the same time, you're tired of being pregnant. It takes most people nine months of pregnancy to bring home a baby. You'll be doing eighteen months, if indeed you get to bring this baby home. Pregnancy isn't a walk in the park, it's tough on your body and you don't have the baby to show for last time's effort and strain. Your body is weary, but the simple act of acknowledging that brings waves of guilt. Don't you know how lucky you are? How many women would give anything to be in the position you're in?

You don't quite know what to do with the whole "nesting" instinct. After all, the baby clothes are still freshly washed from last time, the cot is still set up, the nursery is already ready. It feels silly to buy new things, it's not like the items you have now got any use. How do you balance wise spending with the need to have things different from last time? It's just one more question on the list of unanswerable questions.

Speaking of unanswerable questions:
How can you tell me everything will be alright? You don't know that.
Why did this happen to me? Why am I the one facing this paradox?
Will I ever be comfortable again - comfortable meeting new people, comfortable around little Ariella-aged girls, comfortable during a subsequent pregnancy?
Why do people expect this pregnancy and this baby to fix me? Don't they realise I don't need to be fixed, I need to be allowed to grieve?

And finally, why is it so hard to admit all of this? Why does it feel like admitting all of this somehow means I am not trusting God? That I'm not grateful for this little baby? Because I do trust Him. I am grateful for this little baby. But pregnancy after loss is one of the greatest paradoxes in life.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.


If you have been pregnant after a loss, did you find it to be a great paradox? If you are yet to conceive your rainbow, do you already feel this way?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pregnancy after loss

If there has been too things that have dominated my year, it is the loss of Ariella and my second pregnancy. Pregnancy is, I think, an interesting time no matter what your past experiences are. After all, there's an entire new person growing inside of you! But just as the loss of Ariella has impacted on all other aspects on my life, it has also impacted on this pregnancy.

A pregnancy after a loss is often called a rainbow pregnancy. The best definition I've ever heard is this: It is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of a storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of darkness and clouds. storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of colour, energy and hope.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share with you a few aspects of what it is like to be pregnant after a loss. For those who haven't experienced a loss, my hope is that this mini-series will allow you an insight into this world of pregnancy after loss. If you are currently longing for or considering a rainbow baby, I pray that this series might offer you some guidance and comfort as you deal with the overwhelming range of emotions. And if you have been blessed with a rainbow already, I hope this series can reflect and validate your journey. I also hope that you can contribute through the comments section, as those of us without our rainbow in our arms shall surely benefit from your experiences.

Here are some of the topics I will cover, but more may be added!
Dreams for a rainbow baby
The paradox of pregnancy after loss
Things to consider when planning for a rainbow baby
Conflicting emotions of pregnancy after loss

If there is a specific, related topic you would like to read about, please do just let me know. I'm sure something could be arranged!

Monday, November 18, 2013

When Wishes Come True

A week ago, I celebrated my birthday. And it truly was worth celebrating, because of all of YOU wonderful people. Three weeks before my birthday, I blogged about how I was dreading my birthday without Ariella. I wrote about how just the thought of my birthday was enough to make me get teary, until I decided that I wanted to make this birthday count. I shared with you my birthday wish - to raise enough money to donate a Heartfelt Camera Kit to a hospital in need.

I am so, so excited to say that my wish came true. As of today, we have raised $2,020 for Heartfelt! That's two kits and then some!! Two hospitals that will receive a great camera and a session with Heartfelt, two hospitals that will be able to provide bereaved parents with precious photographic memories of their darling babies. And Ariella's name and birthday will be engraved on those cameras. The fundraising page is open for 30 more days, so if you want to donate, you still can. Perhaps we can reach the amount needed for a third kit ($560 to go), but if we can't, that money will still go to Heartfelt and supporting their work. They are an amazing organisation and I am so grateful for them.

(PS - If you did still want to donate, click here to donate via credit card, or send me an email - loveisdeeperstill AT gmail DOT com - and I can send you PayPal details.)

As a result of the amazing generosity of family and friends, I could smile on my birthday. I actually had a really lovely day with my husband (including a delicious lunch at Fasta Pasta!). It was just a quiet day, but it was just perfect. And I smiled whenever I thought of the Heartfelt Camera Kits, knowing the difference they will make.

So even though this is one week late, I just wanted to say thank you to those who helped make my day one filled with smiles instead of tears. I'm so grateful to each and every one of you.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How many?

How many ways are there to say I miss her?

How many ways are there to say that I'm not "better" yet?

How many times can I say life is really hard without her?

How many times can I say I'm not the same?

I miss you Ariella Jade...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Find me elsewhere

Between my hubby being sick, me being sick, and general life, things have been a bit quiet here lately! I realised I never even put up the last of my Capture Your Grief photos...whoops! I'll get onto that soon, I promise!

In the meantime, I have been writing elsewhere, if you wanted to have a read.

Firstly, an article on Still Standing Magazine, which you can read here.

Writing about unwanted goodbyes on Still Standing

And today I had the honour of writing for Tash's blog, The Hugo Effect. You can read my post here.

Writing about the one thing I wish all bereaved parents knew on The Hugo Effect
I promise I'll write on here again soon!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Happy birthday Evie Caris

A year ago, on November 8 2012, a sweet little girl was born. Her name is Evie Caris, and just a few hours after she was born, she went to be with Jesus. Evie was blessed to spend her whole life being held by those who loved her most.

Sarah, thank you for your friendship this year. Thank you for the chance to remember Evie with you by wearing pink and butterflies. I'll be lighting a candle for her tonight. Much love to you, Josh and Micah.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sometimes I'm scared

Sometimes I'm scared to say what I really think. Because if I say "I would give anything to be able to kiss her perfect little cheeks again", I just know someone will say "one day you will." But it's not about that; it's not about the future. It's about now. Right now. It's about the aching hole in my heart that I have to live with every. single. day.

Sometimes I'm scared to talk about how long it has been since our sweet girl was in our arms. Because no one else is as aware of each passing day as I am. Because people assume I'm talking about something else. And it says to me that they have moved on.

Sometimes I'm scared to say just how much I miss her. Because sometimes it feels like people don't want to hear about her anymore.

Sometimes I'm scared to meet new people. Actually, I'm always scared to meet new people. When they ask if I have kids or if this is my first pregnancy, how will they react when I tell them about Ariella? Will they be awkward? Will they literally back away? Or maybe, will they ask me about her? But sometimes I'm too scared to take that risk.

Sometimes I'm scared to be honest. Because if I'm honest, it often means I'm blunt at the same time. And I don't want to hurt others; I feel like I should be considerate of them. But honestly? I'm tired of making excuses for others. Of qualifying everything I say in order to lessen the chances of offending someone. I wish I could scream from the rooftops that this is my grief. Mine and my husband's. Stop comparing yours with ours. Stop trying to make it better. Stop trying to fix us. This cannot be fixed. Just be with us.

From A Bed For My Heart's facebook page

Sometimes I'm scared that people think the hope I have in Jesus is the answer to my pain now. It's not. A fellow Christian said the perfect thing to us the other week - "while you would be comforted in knowing she is with our Heavenly Father, you must miss her terribly here on earth." Yes. We do. And the comfort we have in Jesus does not mean we miss her any less.

Sometimes I'm scared to finish blog posts where I want to finish. I feel like I should end on a positive or at least on a hopeful note. But some days just aren't like that...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

CarlyMarie, thank you

Most (all?) of you would know that I have been doing the Capture Your Grief (CYG) project in October. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and a lovely lady named CarlyMarie orgnaised the CYG project. So many people took place all over the world, and many did so by sharing their photos in a Facebook event that had been set up. As you can imagine, the topic of pregnancy and infant loss and the related photos bring up a lot of emotions in almost everybody. Bereaved parents feel pride in being able to share their children with the world and their friends and family can gain insight into what it is like to be a baby-loss parent.

Unfortunately, for some people, the photos that were shared were "offensive". After 30 days of sharing and healing, some nasty comments were made in the Facebook event, and some photos were even reported. In order to stop the trolls and the negativity, Facebook deleted some of the photos. About an hour later, the entire event got closed down. For something that was created to be a time of healing, some immense hurt has been caused. It has not affected me directly, but I was both angered and saddened to see the impact that the words of some careless people have had.

As I mentioned above, CYG was organised by CarlyMarie. She does so much more for the baby loss community than just the CYG once a year. The artwork that she does has brought comfort to many families all around the world, as they see their precious children acknowledged. 

Carly, the community of SANDS Parents wants to thank you for all your hard work in helping to break the silence surrounding child loss. Here are the words of just a few of us:

From Tiona at 'In Loving Memory of Cash'

I took part in CYG and it was a really insightful project, I learnt a lot about myself and answered questions that I never imagined I could. I have also commissioned several of Carly's pieces in honour of my son, Cash. I support her 100% in everything she does for the baby loss community

I loved the CYG project as it gave me a chance to remember my 'happy' memories with my angel. It gave me a chance to connect with all of you and get to know your angels too. It has been a great journey to undertake and I thank Carly for organising this event.

I loved the project because it made me feel that my tiny baby mattered. My baby stood for more than just an "early pregnancy loss". CYG gave meaning to my baby's life and to our loss.

Carly - Never stop doing what you are doing. You are the voice for so many that are afraid to speak. Your work is incredible and we are all blessed to have you doing what you do. Keep on keeping on.

October was a difficult month, as it marked the time my daughter had been gone longer than she was here. But the CYG photos gave me something to focus on, and it was while taking my picture for that significant day that I realised I was smiling and laughing. Thank you for organising a project that allowed me to connect more deeply with the mums in SANDS and showed me just how far I had come in nine months.

Carly - I can't put it into words what your work means to me. What you do for our community is invaluable and so important. Don't let the haters put you down!! Keep up your wonderful work.

Carly - I don't know you but you hold a very special place in my heart. The beautiful sunset photo in honour of our little Lillian will always be treasured. Thank you X

Thanks Carly for empowering me with the knowledge and tools to confront my grief over the loss of my son and start healing. This month has made an enormous impact on my state of mind and lifted the darkness replacing it with hope. Your web site was the first place where I felt safe to grieve Jacob without guilt, I have many of your beautiful photos surrounding me at home. We are strong together, don't let a group of people hiding behind a computer get you down. xxxx

I have loved doing this project and am a little sad it has come to an end. It has been wonderful to have something to focus on each day, guide creative and thought provoking conversations with my husband (who contributed to my photo ideas and helped at different stages). I love sharing my life and loved ones through photos and this was a wonderful way to do that for Hayley. Some days were hard, some days healing but all helpful. I am so glad I did it. I would like to say thank you to Carly for this creative outlet and remind her there was so much more positive than negative.

When I first saw this project my whole being recoiled and screamed no, I can't - I won't do this. Then it became a challenge, but as all could see I was not able to be creative, but had to follow form and structure. With a definite theme to respond to each day, it allowed me to question myself, to work through an aspect of grief each day. I'm so grateful to Carly for setting up this project project; I do believe the project and thereby she started me off on working through the grief and taking a step towards healing. It wasn't easy, but very much worthwhile. I am certain many benefited greatly.

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