Ebba was my Valentine’s Day surprise: two little pink lines on a day already chalk full of love. She burst her way into our lives in a dazzling cloud of flower petals and sugar cookie hearts; our lives intertwined together in the most pleasant of surprises.

But our love for Ebba grew faster and stronger than she did, and four weeks later, we heard the words that chipped away at our already cracked and wearied hearts. “There’s no heartbeat.” We sat in a crowded hospital waiting room with the words “fetal demise” echoing around our heads, and quietly absorbed the inevitability of another loss. Ebba was our third miscarriage and the fourth time that we’d said good-bye to a baby. While I had hoped for a different outcome, while I had prayed and cried out to God for healing, I’d known from the start what the bleeding had meant.

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{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, share YOUR messy, imperfect, but beautiful motherhood story with the hashtag #thismotherhoodstory.}

Journal Prompt: What does your motherhood story look like? Use the #thismotherhoodstory to share it with us! What do you want others to know about pregnancy loss?

I am the mother of six, much-loved babies but you can only see one.

This is a part of my motherhood story.

It’s not always pretty. It’s full of countless sleepless nights and pillows damp with tears. It’s full of days crouched by a tiny grave, the damp grass sticking to my sneakers and soaking into the hem of my jeans. It’s full of missed anniversaries and hearts that ache with the ebb and flow of babies from my womb. But it’s also full of hope.

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{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, join us with the #thismotherhoodstory as we journal our way through topics surrounding grief and life after loss.}

Saturday, October 14, 2017 – Journal Prompt
Did you choose to name your gone-too-soon babies? Why or why not? If you did, what special meaning does their name hold?

“I can’t tell you their gender, but I can tell you that there may be a little something extra down there.” The ultrasound technician had just completed our eighteen week scan with the twins, and while she wasn’t allowed to officially tell us their sex, she was gracious enough to give us a hint.

We had already picked out names, and quickly settled on who was who: Alistair was baby A and Landon was baby B. Just over ten weeks later, I was beyond thankful that we’d chosen to call them by name for a large portion of the second-trimester. In the shock of my heartbreak, I didn’t have to worry about naming my now deceased baby — I already knew exactly who he was.

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{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, join us with the #thismotherhoodstory as we journal our way through topics surrounding grief and life after loss.}

Thursday, October 12, 2017 – Journal Prompt
In the midst of your pain and loss, where do you find hope? Has faith shaped the way you grieve? Read through Psalm 43, 69, or 77 – what verses stand out to you? Take some time to write out your own Psalm (or poem) of lament.

“You’re so strong! How do you do it? I don’t think I could have handled it…”

I’ve heard this statement in varying forms over the past three years. People tell me I’m strong or brave for having gone through what we’ve gone through; but the truth is, I never feel particularly brave or strong. Mostly, I do it because I have to. There’s no other choice but to take it one day at a time: breathing in, breathing out.

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My husband and I had been married for a little over half-a-year when we discovered that I was pregnant with identical twin boys. I loved being pregnant: I floated through those first few months on a carefree cloud of pregnant woman glow. I watched my belly grow larger and rounder; stretched by little elbows and knees that wriggled and squirmed just out of sight. It was miraculous and beautiful and most of all, worry-free.

Because I was carrying multiples, the hospital slapped a “high risk” label on my medical chart and treated us to extra ultrasounds and doctors appointments, but this all seemed a mere formality. Never once, did I worry about losing my babies. As far as I knew, words like “stillbirth” or “miscarriage” belonged in history books or museums — I didn’t know that they were still a very real part of 21st century life.

Fast forward a few months, and I was being rushed in for an emergency c-section: one twin born still, the other literally described as “limp and floppy” and fighting for his life. Our firstborn, Landon, was buried in a tiny plot of damp, green earth, and our survivor, Alistair, came home from the hospital seven weeks later. My life had changed irrevocably and I was embarking on the long and painful journey of life after loss.

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The leaves are turning red and orange, filling the air with their earthy scent. Pumpkins dot the doorsteps of our neighbourhood and the stores have their Halloween decorations out in full force. The air is thankfully cooler and perfect for colourful scarves and jackets, toques and boots. It’s October: the month of Canadian Thanksgiving, specialized pumpkin drinks from Starbucks, and those way-too-addictive boxes of mini-chocolate snacks.

It’s also the month for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.

In this next week leading up to October 15th (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day), I am partnering with fellow loss mama, and author extraordinaire, Stefanie Tong, to help raise awareness and break the silence surrounding this important topic.

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**I started writing this while pregnant with our little Avonlea. It is nothing more than the scribblings of a newly-expectant mother, the beat of my heart written out upon a page. My womb emptied before I had the chance to finish putting words to the experience; and so, this post remains short and sweet and complete all on its own – much like our daughter’s life. I share it with you today, in memory of each of our babes gone too soon.**

Each week with you is a miracle.

A small poppy seed lies in my belly, growing and blossoming with each day; a peppercorn, a blueberry, who knows how big you’ll become. No one sees you yet, this tiny knot of cells that have buried their way into my womb and clear through to my heart, but you’re there.

I don’t know how long we have together. I don’t know whether you’re the one whose forehead I will kiss as I rock to sleep, or whose toes I will tickle just to hear the sound of your laugh. I don’t know if we will name you in the first trimester as we say good-bye, or if we will proudly announce your height and weight on birth announcements for the world to see. I don’t know if a lifetime of memories with you means weeks, or months, or decades. All I know is right now.

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**UPDATE: Thank you so much for all of your beautiful and deeply thought-out responses. Over thirty women shared their hearts and their children’s stories with me, and for that, I can not say “thank you” enough. Thank you for trusting me to honour their memories and in the process, hopefully encourage other grieving mothers. The form is now CLOSED to responses but I would still love to hear your stories. Feel free to e-mail me or send me a message if you would like to share your own story of loss, grief, and hope on mommymannegren.com**

Hi everyone!

I’m looking for some help from my grieving mama followers!

Over the past eight months or so, I have been working on a book that I’ve tentatively titled, “Journaling Your Way Through Pregnancy Loss.” The goal of the book is to help encourage grieving mothers to embrace and better process their grief after a miscarriage or stillbirth. As you know, society doesn’t often talk about pregnancy loss, and it can be a confusing and isolating experience for women to go through. I’m hoping that this book will help break some of those taboos and allow women to find freedom and beauty in the story that they’ve been given – even when that story doesn’t exactly look the way we’d like it to. And ultimately, I hope that this book will point our grieving hearts towards Christ and remind us that while we mourn, we do not mourn without purpose.

In order to make this book stronger, I am in the process of revising my first draft. One of the things that has been suggested is to find some additional stories and insights from other grieving women, and add them to the book too. Here’s where I need your help!

If you’re interested in sharing your story with me, I have created an interview questionnaire for you to complete. Any of the answers that you give may be used as examples within the book, but most likely I will choose one or two of your answers to include. I may edit or re-write them slightly to fit the book. You can also let me know whether you want your answers to be anonymous (I’ll pick a random pseudonym) or whether you want me to use your first name when sharing your story.

I know that these stories are very personal and close to our hearts. Please don’t feel any pressure to participate in this. This is YOUR story and I don’t ever want to share a part of it unless you’re completely 100% comfortable with it. If you prefer to simply answer more generally – that’s fine too – any additional insight I can get into pregnancy loss would be a huge help!

It is a rather long, written questionnaire, but please don’t feel that you have to answer every question (not every question will be applicable.) I really appreciate your honesty as I know that some of these questions may be very difficult to answer. I’m hoping that this generation of women will be ones who stand up for the brokenhearted, and support the generation of grieving mothers who come after us. This book is just one step in creating that conversation and I hope you can partner with me in that.

Feel free to take a look over the questionnaire and complete it as you wish, here: http://bit.ly/2hlUI3Z

There is no guarantee that this book will be published, but I am working on making it as strong as I possibly can in hopes of helping create honest dialogue and discussion surrounding pregnancy loss.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me. Thank you so much for considering this!

Much love,
Liz

We named her Avonlea.

She was here for exactly one week; and then, like a dandelion puff floating off into the wind, she was gone again. Her life was invisible and muted, a tiny ball of cells that engraved themselves upon our hearts and buried deep into our life. Seven days was all we had together; a lifetime of memories contained in one hundred and sixty-eight short hours.

Our fifth pregnancy. Our daughter. Our Avonlea.

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We have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in my July Giveaway. As I watched the entries come flowing in, I’ve been so encouraged to see just how beautiful and unique each one of our stories are. Whether your nest has one white egg, ten blue eggs, or a mix somewhere in between, these little ones are all such precious gifts and I celebrate them along with you.

So in honour of my own sweet July babies, (Landon, Alistair, Kära, and Björn) I am excited to announce that the winner of the custom, nest-necklace is…

*insert drumroll, please*

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If you’ve been following our story (or have read the last few blog posts), you’ll know that July is a bit of an emotionally charged month for us. This year, we are celebrating Alistair’s third birthday, Landon’s three years in heaven, Kära’s one year in heaven, and Björn’s would-be due date. It’s a lot of loss for one month, but it’s also a whole lot of love.

And so, to remember and celebrate our four, beautiful, July babies, I am hosting my very first GIVEAWAY! 

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Hey there!

I just wanted to say that I have been so incredibly encouraged and inspired by you! I started this little blog over two and a half years ago, and have been truly touched by the relationships and friendships that have grown through this journey.

Thank you, dear readers, for your encouragement and your comments. Thank you for sharing your hearts and your stories with me; and thank you for listening as we have shared our hearts and story with you. You have partnered and journeyed with us over these past three years, and we are beyond grateful for the purposeful ways that you have loved on and supported us in our grief.

Pregnancy loss touches upon so many families, and yet, it isn’t always a comfortable or easy topic to discuss. Thank you for helping to break stigmas surrounding grief, and for bravely stepping forward to embrace the beauty found within the mess. For those who are hurting and grieving, and for those who are standing alongside the bereaved, there is hope. We mourn, but we do not mourn without purpose.

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