Friday, March 27, 2015

You are one.

You are one.

I never thought this day would come.

Your life from the very beginning has been over shadowed by death.

Not yours, but by your sister’s.

You, my beautiful life filled Zoe, with sweet tooth filled smiles and wrinkled nose giggles, were born out of the shadows of darkness and brought me into the light, like a lotus flower reaching for the sun through the black mud.

You. Zoe. I have feared for your life since before you were even conceived. From the day your sister died I was afraid you would too.

I also worried that you would be a replacement.  A child whose identity would be tainted by loss and forever live in the shadow of the older sibling never to be.

Oh but my sweet, sweet jovial Zoe!  I know now that this was my story and no longer has to be yours.  You may have been the life that sprouted from death but my dear darling daughter that does not define you.

You adoring daughter, you! You are ZOE! Not your sister.  Not Nora.  Not a replacement and not a shadowed life lived tainted by loss. 

No.  You are LIFE, not the result of a death that happened before. 

There is so much to you. 

You are the girl who laughs through her teeth when her daddy chases her around the furniture in the living room. 

You are the girl who smiles at me with a crinkled nose and bright wide hazel eyes when I tickle your toes.

You are the girl that gives hugs and kisses to those she knows and stares with a watchful eye at strangers who have not made their loved deserved.

You are the girl who steals socks from her doggy George and babbles with mama and dada when you walk across the kitchen floor with knobby knees and a stick waddle.

You are the girl who put back together the pieces of my heart when they were broken, shattered, and thrown widely across the hard wood floor of life and scattered beyond repair.  

You Zoe girl!  You are the girl who brought colors back to life again.  Who made the days less dull and the nights full of laughter instead of tears.  You Zoe girl!  You are the girl who made hugs feel fuller and kisses seem sweeter and my life beautiful again.

You Zoe girl!  You! You are the girl who brought me out of the depths of darkness and back to life.

You. Zoe.  You are life.  You are you and only you.

And today…

You are one.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! 

Love Always & Forever,


Friday, February 13, 2015

The Brave Moment When I Became a Model!!!

Did I ever tell you about the time I was a model?  I know, I know.  Me?  A model?  Well a few months ago back when Zoe was only 4 months old I slyly shared this AWESOME photo of me as a model for The 4th Trimester Bodies Project on my Facebook page.

The project is "dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our bodies by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding" as Ashlee Wells Jackson loss mom, amazing photographer, and founder of 4th Trimester Bodies Project says on her site.

This mantra and motto is why I was brave, embraced the little moments of life and decided I could be a model for a day if it meant helping others and society realize that motherhood, ALL motherhood is beautiful and transformative not only to our bodies but also to our souls.

You see my motherhood, ALL OF IT in this photo.  My role as mom to a dead child and a living one is visible.  The scar from one and the stretch marks from the other are all present in this photo.!  Yes in one arm I hold my living child and in another I hold the elephant stuffed animal, the first gift Nora ever received from her Aunt Kristi represents my dead child.  This is why I participated in this project!  Because I wanted my motherhood to be SEEN!  Not JUST my motherhood to Zoe but my motherhood to NORA too!

Lately I have been on a kick to raise awareness about the invisible motherhood of the bereaved parent.  I think at first when Nora died people recognized me as a mother although a bereaved one.  But after Zoe arrived my motherhood to Nora seemed to fade, not in my eyes but in the eyes of others.


That is why I am re-sharing my modeling picture here with you today, because this project helps bring to light ALL aspects of motherhood and embraces every part of this messy but beautiful thing called being a mom.  Every shape and size is embraced, every last mark and pound, every kind of mother from the bereaved to the adopted, every kind of birth from at home to hospital c-section, every kind of feeding from breast to bottle, and every kind of postpartum experience including everything from 'I feel like everything is coming up roses after birth' to postpartum depression is included in this project.


We need more projects like 4th Trimester Bodies.  Because ALL MOTHERHOOD no matter how sad, complicated, challenging, and beautiful is recognized! The project embraces and CELEBRATES the journey, warts and all.  We need more of this if we are going to end the mommy wars.

Oh and the other reason I participated, the one that makes me the most brave is because of what I wrote to Ashlee after my session.  I didn't have the words at the time but here is the other reason I needed to participate in order to HEAL not only my grief but also my relationship with my physical body.

”I believe there is a tremendous amount of shame and feelings of failure that manifest as anger towards our bodies when we experience a loss during pregnancy. It has taken me many months and another pregnancy that resulted in the birth of a living baby for me to come to find a loving relationship with my body again. I’m at a point now where I can forgive her (my body) for what I thought was betraying me and I have come to the realization that my body did not fail me but was attacked just like my daughter was by the infection that stole my eldest child’s life. It has taken a lot of work, but by carrying my rainbow baby and bringing her into this world safe and sound I feel a deep sense of love for my body again and I just wanted to capture that love and gratitude for my daughters and my body in some way. Participating in the 4th Trimester Bodies Project was a way of doing that. A celebration of sorts for my healed relationship I now have with my body.”

Maybe if we can all embrace EVERY type of body, our own and others as well as embracing our own motherhood and that of others we would heal as a society too.

To see my full modeling career (Ha! It was one picture) and my story as highlighted on The 4th Trimester Bodies Project click here.

Now please go out into the world and love your body, others bodies and your motherhood and others motherhood without judgement or shame!  You deserve that kind of mommy love this Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Will She be Forgotten?

I'm writing over at Still Standing today about my fear that Nora will be forgotten and overshadowed by her little sister Zoe.  Nick edited this post for me last night and ended up in tears.  (I love that man so much!)  The post is about him mostly and my parents (I love them lots too) and when I asked Nick why he was crying he said, "Because I feel the same way too."  It was another beautiful grief moment we both shared.

Read all about the tears that Nick and I shed over this article and moment in time here

P.S. Mom and Dad, I might have been upset by what I describe in this post but that was only a moment in time.  I'm actually choked up as I write this realizing I have such supportive parents that have taught me it's okay to express my feelings and that you accept that I do so in such a public way.  I only hope I can give Zoe the same gift of freedom to share her voice as you have given to me.

photo credit

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Parenting A Rainbow Part 3 - Holding Zoe, Hoping for Nora

Here is my last article in the three part series of Parenting A Rainbow for Reconceiving Loss.  It was a hard one to write but there is a lot of truth in it.  You can read the article by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pregnancy Anxiety Rolls Over Into Parenting

The second article in my three part series on parenting a rainbow as featured on Reconceiving Loss.  It's about how the anxiety from the pregnancy decided to roll right into parenting Zoe.  Check it out here.

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