Posts

Dear Pregnant Mama, take the belly picture.

You just peed on a little white stick and watched two solid, pink lines appear from the nothingness. You’re barely five weeks along but there’s a child growing within your womb, a little bit of your DNA mashed into an ever-growing and dividing clump of cells.

You place your hand tenderly against your stomach and feel nothing but skin and a little bloat. There’s no evidence that this little one is here. Your stomach muscles have yet to stretch and give way to the life within. Everything is seemingly the same, and only you know it’s all begun to change.

And so, you feel silly asking your partner to take a belly picture. It seems strange to stand sideways against the wall and take a picture of “nothing.” You tell yourself that you have time.

But sadly, not all of us do.

Read more

Cautiously prodding a crumpled tissue out of the way, I carefully reached my hand down into the garbage can and fished out the used pregnancy test. I’d tossed it in moments earlier but now I was second-guessing myself.

I held the test up close against my face and squinted, hoping against hope that somehow that would change the answer. Maybe I hadn’t waited long enough? Maybe there was a very faint line and I’d just missed it?

One lonely pink line stared back at me and my heart sank. The pregnancy test was definitely negative.

Again.

Read more

“This is your son.”

The orderly rolled my bed into the hospital’s NICU and I groggily stared over at the tiny bird-like creature lying in an incubator. His three and a half pounds was composed solely of skin and bones. The ventilator was breathing for him, his tiny body dotted with tubes and wires–and I looked at him and wondered, “Are you really mine?”

I’d gone from pregnant to not pregnant in what felt like mere minutes, and I was struggling to wrap my head around the sudden change.

Read more

Sometimes I wonder if we’ve missed out on a key aspect of motherhood.

You know, the part where we’re supposed to do it together?

For far too long, the words “mommy” and “wars” have perched contentedly side by side. Try as we might to peel and split these two incongruous words apart, our fingers are left bloodied and scraped by the effort. And it seems as if social media has only accentuated these differences. Scrolling through newsfeeds, it doesn’t take long to find parenting articles and opinion pieces written by women who are “doing motherhood wrong.” (Or at least, that’s what the sludge of negative comments seem to indicate???)

We bash new moms for using disposable diapers, telling them that they’re going to kill the environment. And then we turn around and give visible eye rolls to the pregnant woman who tells us she’s going to try cloth diapers. “Good luck,” we whisper sarcastically behind her back.

Read more

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.

Read more

{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.

Read more

{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.

Read more

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.

Read more

#motherhood

Scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I decided to check out the hashtag, “motherhood.” It was everything I thought it would be: babies sleeping peacefully on their mother’s flat postpartum bellies, children laughing as they run through sprinklers and lick perfectly swirled ice-cream cones, the sun setting behind smiling mothers and toddlers clad in matching outfits. The photos are clean and mess free, full of smiles and daydreams, perfect lighting and one-off shots. It’s not real and yet, according to Instagram, this is what “mom life” looks like.

It’s a definition that’s gotten a little twisted along the way – one that I, myself, am guilty of contributing to. My living room floor is currently a maze of dirty laundry piles, carrot-muffin crumbs, and crayons. I ate a cookie for breakfast, my toddler watches far too many Paw Patrol episodes, and last week, there was that faint but persistent smell of milk emanating from somewhere deep within my son’s room. But if you look through my Instagram, you’ll notice that I have never posted a photo of any of that. After all, who wants to look at reality when we can carefully craft fiction?

Read more

**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.

Read more

**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

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.

Read more